Practical acquisition 2

May 20, 2010

Perhaps somebody should tell Andrew Adams that the best way to learn a language is to be forced to use it ("Lost without translation", 29 April). Perhaps somebody should also tell him that in the "global job market" he is so eager to invoke, millions of foreign workers - some with little formal education - find themselves having to learn the language of their new country of work. Most do so with remarkable success: why should academics, of all people, be spared the intellectual effort?

When I was a schoolteacher, I saw dozens of Swiss teenagers spend a high-school year in Japan. Embarking with no Japanese, almost all came back speaking the language fluently. But then I suppose they spent their time learning it instead of whingeing.

Peter Butler, University of Applied Sciences, Northwestern Switzerland.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Academic Coordinator and Dean of Graduate Studies EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY (EMBL)
Lecturer in Islamic Studies QATAR UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • Man walking, University of Oxford campus, photo negative

Donald Brown shares the experiences that prompted him to talk about ‘institutional racism’ at Oxford

  • Egg timer and clock showing deadlines

Meghan Duffy thinks you can get on in academia without being chained to your desk

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign