February 5, 2014

Let's Stop Pretending French Is So Important

John McWhorter, The New Republic

The Associated Press

Make no mistake: For immigrant kids from anywhere, bilingual education is invaluable. But the idea that American-born children need to learn French has become more reflex than action, like classical music played at the wedding of people who live to modern pop. French in educated America is now a class marker, originating from that distant day when French was Europe’s international language. Fewer Europeans spoke English then, which made French actually useful—at least for Americans who could afford international travel. Those same Americans were also still suffering from an inferiority complex to Europe’s “sophistication.”

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TAGGED: New York City, United States, Europe, France, French

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