Why the British do not learn languages: myths and motivations in the United Kingdom

Coleman, James A. (2009). Why the British do not learn languages: myths and motivations in the United Kingdom. Language Learning Journal, 37(1) pp. 111–127.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09571730902749003

Abstract

In the light of recent debates on the declining take-up of languages in English schools, and on pupils' motivation towards language learning, this article furthers discussion and asks broader questions. Is there a coincidence between trends in British attitudes to Europe and the growing or waning enthusiasm for language learning across all sectors? What role is played - and what attitudes revealed - by the pronouncements and actions of British politicians when they are not specifically addressing language issues? Is public xenophobia echoed or shaped by the printed and broadcast media? And when so many initiatives are seeking to address British insularity and monolingualism, is there more that can be done?

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