- indeed, maturity may come with some advantages, it seems.
But for now, I’m going to keep on peddling my advice to the young, in spite of the fact that I have come across adults who have suggested that children should not have to learn any languages and spend more time on Maths. Yes, seriously.
Learn a foreign language. Why? To open your eyes to a different culture; to read literature in its original form; to speak to - and crucially, connect with - foreign travellers, colleagues and friends; to travel abroad without feeling lost. And long-term, incidentally, I would imagine that there will be plenty of jobs available for skilled linguists when a generation of talented communicators leave voids to fill.
Every now and again, educationalists pontificate about the crises in classrooms as the UK might seem to be isolating itself from the rest of the world. Findings in The Guardian’s 2015 ‘Living Languages’ report make for sobering reading: children, nationally, perceive learning a language to be 'hard’ (they don’t take to poetry either, which is another personal bug-bear); language study at A Level is in decline; over the last few years, the lowest number of undergraduates studying foreign languages has been recorded.