mandag den 25. maj 2009

Stop Cuts to Languages

Lauren, one of my ´regulars´, wrote this comment on my blog the other day.
Lauren, I agree that this is important so even if it is not crime-related, I have decided to bring your request here, hoping that some of my readers will also take an interest in this important subject.

Since we've been talking about (and in different) languages, might I intrude with a personal request?

My university, in its infinite (lack of) wisdom, has decided to impose budget cuts on the Department of European Languages to the tune of 400 000 pounds over two years. This will mean the end of effective language teaching and learning, and will conceivably drive the whole department to the wall. (Subjects at even higher risk include Russian, Portuguese and one of only two Scandinavian Studies courses in the UK.) All on less than three weeks notice.

This is close to my heart because I'm finishing a PhD in a European language, but it's also a monumentally stupid decision given the wider importance of understanding other languages and cultures.

So much for being a city of literature. And as for the translators of the future...

I'd be extremely grateful if people could sign the petition and perhaps even forward it on if you know of others who might be interested.

The Petition

And some background information:The Guardian

Please take the time to read & sign this petition.

9 kommentarer:

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks sagde ...

Thanks for sharing this, Dorte. Language teaching is critical to keeping us from being insular ... I hope the university can find some way to make this work!

Heather sagde ...

Thanks for the heads up. I have signed.

Louise sagde ...

I am amazed that ANY university outside the Scandinavian language-zone would even consider offering courses in our languages/literaure etc. Not that our literature isn't great, because it is (some of it), but this seems as a field of study as exotic as my own field, Egyptology ;o)

Lauren sagde ...

Dorte, thanks very much for making this a separate post - both unexpected and much appreciated!

Unfortunately, government funding for language education is well below the actual cost of teaching languages, so without a sea change in public and political opinion it's hard to see a solution.

It may be true that no English speaker "needs" to know other languages to survive, but the benefits in interacting with others are immeasurable. Not only in comparing Inspector Montalbano with Inspector Wallander with Inspector Morse (though that is fun!), but in giving people access to different cultures and ideas, solving problems or even simply finding authentic pasta recipes. And I don't see why all this should be so easily expendable - or only available to a lucky (or wealthy) few.

Dorte H sagde ...

Thank you Dawn and Heather for support.

Louise, I agree that Danish is an ´exotic´ language, but learning and teaching languages is just as important to me as to Lauren. I think people miss a lot if they are only able to read and speak one language.

Lauren, it was just a small thing to do - I really wish it helps!

Louise sagde ...

Oh, but I completely agree re. teaching and learning as many languages as you possibly can. Its just that while I adore a lot of Scandinavian literature/culture I have to admit that I am not that hard pressed to find languages which are much more useful like for instance German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, not to mention Chinese, Turkish or Arabic than Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish! There I said it.....

Blodeuedd sagde ...

Just coming by and checking out the blog since I recently stumbled upon a danish blogger.
Fun to meet more

Dorte H sagde ...

Louise, I didn´t take your comment as if you didn´t agree (careful now, not too many negations in one sentence). I might not choose to study Danish either if I hadn´t learnt it at the age of one, but there are people who are so interested in Søren Kierkegaard and Grundtvig that they do. Admirable.

Dorte H sagde ...

Blodeuedd; nice to meet you, and I am glad you chose to leave a comment so I know who you are.