Leading Article: Not so tongue-tied after all

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The Independent Online

It is refreshing today to be able to report some good news about language provision in state secondary schools after seven lean years. The decline in the take-up of languages has been halted and schools are offering pupils a much broader range of options.

In particular, the rise in popularity of Mandarin, Arabic and Russian augurs well for our participation in world trade in the future. Community cohesion, too, can only be enhanced by more British-born white pupils learning Urdu alongside youngsters from ethnic minorities.

So far so good. The continuing decline of German, though, is a worry because the country is still one of our major non-English speaking trading partners. Apparently, this is partly down to the image of Germans portrayed in the legion of television documentaries screened about the Second World War. Maybe we should recall the immortal words of Basil Fawlty and decide it is time that we "don't mention the war".

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