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英国掀起学习外语的高潮:英语新闻阅读

2013年10月14日  来源: 英语点津  作者: BBC News  英美者 www.EnMajor.com

由英国文化协会、英国工业联合会、英国科学院以及多家大使馆和语言教学机构共同发起的“与未来对话”活动向全体英国人发起号召,希望每个人至少掌握1000个外语单词,以免在未来的国际贸易往来和就业市场中被淘汰。

英国发起学外语活动 每人至少会一千个外语词
Learn 1,000 words in a new language urges campaign

由英国文化协会、英国工业联合会、英国科学院以及多家大使馆和语言教学机构共同发起的“与未来对话”活动向全体英国人发起号召,希望每个人至少掌握1000个外语单词,以免在未来的国际贸易往来和就业市场中被淘汰。英国文化学会的薇琪•高富女士表示,英国人长久以来都背负着“语言懒汉”的恶名,而会说一门外语在了解另一种文化的过程中起着关键的作用;所以,“我们应该扭转形象,告诉大家我们已经准备好迎接多语言的世界”。组织方表示,之所以把单词量定为1000个是因为掌握这么多单词基本可以进行一些简单的对话,而且这个目标也比较容易实现。该活动负责人表示,如果每个人都能掌握至少1000个外语单词,整个社会态度和经济前景都会得到明显提升,年轻人在面对全球化的挑战时也更加胸有成竹。 

Everyone in the UK should learn at least 1,000 words of another language, urges a new campaign.

The 1,000 Words Campaign stems from concerns that the country is losing out on international trade and jobs because of poor language skills.

It aims to confront the view that only the brightest can learn a language.

"For too long people from the UK have suffered from a reputation that we are lazy linguists" said supporter Vicky Gough of the British Council.

"Speaking another language is crucial to understanding another culture", said Ms Gough.

"So let's overturn our poor record in language learning and show that we are ready to engage with a multilingual world," she urged.

The group say a vocabulary of 1,000 words would allow a speaker to hold a simple conversation.

The challenge is part of Speak to the Future, a wider campaign backed by organizations including the British Council, the CBI, the British Academy and a range of embassies and language teaching bodies.

This year's A-level results showed a continued fall in those taking French and German, down by 10% and 11% respectively - though Spanish bucked the trend with a 4% rise in entries.

By contrast entries at GCSE for French, German and Spanish were up 16.9% on last year, reversing a long-term downward trend.

This has been put down to the introduction of the EBacc, a league table measure of pupils who achieve GCSE grades A* to C in maths, English, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography.

However Teresa Tinsley of Speak to the Future told BBC News that because the EBacc is for pupils who achieve good grades, there is evidence that some schools are focusing their language teaching on more able students, whereas businesses need people with language skills at all levels of the workforce.

"Top managers often have language skills but in fact staff whose jobs involve chasing invoices or buying stock abroad also need to speak another language", said Ms Tinsley.

"A worrying divide is opening up".

Campaign director Bernadette Holmes said: "The idea that everyone can learn the basics of another language is both realistic and attainable.

"We are not expecting instant fluency. Yet if everyone were capable of at least 1,000 words in a new language, social attitudes and economic prospects would be significantly enhanced - young people would be better prepared for the challenges of globalization and our cultural and intellectual levels would be raised.

"I urge everyone in a position of influence to join the campaign and help us achieve this aim."

Speak to the Future is funded by the British Academy and the university-based programme Routes into Languages.



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