Unidentified foreign object

July 16, 2009

The continuing lament over falling provision in modern language studies resonated for me as I peered at a row of generously donated antiquarian books on sale in the front window of a local charity shop. The title of each English work was individually displayed, but one book had simply "in French" written next to it, with no attempt to reproduce the title (it turned out to be a dictionary). The salesperson agreed to my suggestion that this was terribly British, and quipped that it gave the book "a certain je ne sais quoi". But one was left worried about a future when levels of ignorance may lead to labels such as "in French" being reduced to "in a foreign language".

Noel Heather, Egham, Surrey.

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