Intrinsic value of other languages

29th July 2005 at 01:00
I agree with Peter Wilby's analysis (TES, July 8) of why young people in the UK might find it difficult to be motivated to learn a foreign language, given the interest of others in learning English.

But for two reasons I disagree with his view that "there is no point in compelling them to do so".

First, pupils are obliged to learn many things that they may not find interesting or relevant at that time in their lives. Second, and more importantly, learning another language offers a chance for pupils to get some insights into another way of thinking about and viewing the world.

In this current climate of misunderstandings between cultures and countries, anything that contributes to young people experiencing greater empathy is surely of intrinsic value.

Barbara Lee Mason

9 St Sevan Way Exmouth, Devon

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today