Soon more English students will study Spanish than the tongue of Molière and MC Solaar. We lazy Britons think it’s easier
Putain de bordel de merde. Ces rosbifs sont cons comme des bites. Pardon my French, but we must make the most of the obscenities while we can. English children are increasingly unwilling to learn the language of Molière and MC Solaar, according to the British Council, which reports that within a few years Spanish will overtake it as the most-studied foreign language. At A-level, takeup has already fallen to 8,300, from 21,300 in 1997, while Spanish has climbed to 7,600.
Laziness seems to have a lot to do with it. As Vicky Gough, a schools adviser at the British Council, put it, “There is a perception of Spanish being easier to pick up than other languages, which may account in part for its popularity.” Which, one might say, confirms another perception: that the kids of today want everything handed to them on a plate, from chauffeur service to and from school, to first-class university degrees. When I was a boy, we had to walk to Dotheboys Hall in all weathers because it was “character-forming”, and even clever kids were happy with a 2ii.