I was surprised when someone shared in his facebook a news from Standard.co.uk and found an interesting, but at the same time irritating news. The news itself described about Jeremy Paxman, a former Newsnight presenter and now the quizmaster on University Challenge, who attacked French in the Financial Times. He described that French is “useless” and all their achievements are “long past”.
He also described that English is “the language of science, technology, travel, entertainment and sport” as well as the “only language that you must have. I believed his statement had arisen angers among worldwide Francophone, particularly in France where it just celebrated the 400th years of William Shakespeare’s death.
When I read this, for the erstwhile I had to think over. Is it correct or not? Then afterwards I tried to conclude until I decided to write this. Well, in this point of view, Mr Paxman’s freedom of speech is guaranteed, but then when he used the rights for attacking others, anyone also has right to counter his attack. In the article, he also blamed and mocked the middle classes about their relation to French. Between English and French cultural battles should be one winner. I was very sad to hear that. For this point, I am totally opposed to the attack Mr Paxman launched. This is totally true that nowadays in our increasingly globalized world, English is one of the main languages you should mastered. Since the colonial era, English has been spread up as world language and spoken widely by various countries in all continents (even maybe the antartics if possible). In my own country itself, English has already been taught even since we’re still in nursery. Some parents also speak English to their children in additional to their various mother tongues, even though the children tend to speak more English than others. English is one of job requirements in almost every national or multinational companies and even English signs can be found anywhere in Indonesia, until you think that you’re in New York, London, or Singapore (hehehe) and not all of us can understand it.
English has been inseparable part of our daily lives. We watch Hollywood movies, maybe CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, and so on et cetera. All products should be in English along with other languages. I admit as I also write my blog in English and my intention is for worldwide, whatever the results…liked or disliked, who cares about it. As far as I can express my feeling in responsible ways, why not? I used to be English teacher during most part of my career and now I am computer teacher who instruct the students in English as well. Kids are encouraged to speak English so that they have improved proficiency in it with their own language and Mandarin (it happened in my workplace). Being multilingual is beautiful and I agree it. As far as they do not forget their own mother tongue.
If I met Mr. Paxman, maybe I will asks some questions while having English tea, choco croissant and baked cassava.
1. How many languages do you speak besides English?
2. Do you know or speak French?
3. Why do you attack French?
4. What will you do if you’re in a village where its people do not understand every single word of English?
And he must reply it, or I will switch my language to others…maybe French, Esperanto or Bahasa..hahahaa.
Attacking others’ culture and language is actually similar to attacking one’s privacy. English and French’s relationship is like a couple, on and off…in some time, French is the most used and important language, and nowadays particularly after World War II, English is a must for everyone. All has got its time, maybe one day English will be replaced by other strong languages. English and French influence each other, from all aspects and even up to now in culinary terms, French is still prevalent and in French itself can be found English influences, even though in Canadian French has more puritanism and Anglicism at the same time. Maybe you should avoid French-influenced words in your speech, Mr. Paxman. Then, that’s the point in my plain English.
Surprisingly, around more than 30% of English words are derived from French and more words taken from various world’s languages even including batik. It’s chic, right? It’s a kind of language arrogance Mr. Paxman express. He might be proud of English, but he expressed it in unacceptable and disrespectful manners though he said about the reality. Every languages has got its own uniqueness and many people learn languages with various motivations. Learning English for good job opportunities or studies, but when you study in Francophone, Hispanophone, Lusophone, Russophone, Arabophone, or other countries who do not declare English as their official language, you should also try to learn local ones. That’s fun for knowing other languages besides English. May some people feel English is enough for them, but its better they know one or more languages. Being bilingual or polyglot is fun.
Unfortunately, language can be extinct. Many people feel their language is useless and switch to more prestigious or useful language. Once you lose your mother tongue means you lose your own cultural identity as according to a verb language shows nations. Exaggerating is not nice and increase antipathy expressions even can be ostracized in the world’s interaction. In my personal opinion, knowing English only is not enough for being world’s citizen. I love English, but also other languages and deeper in my mother tongues.
He has got his rights, and also Francophone’s reactions.
Be proud of your language
Promote your language
Learn another language
Respect other languages
You respect, we will do
Apprendre français est bon et fun! Parler français est aussi grand plaisir. Français et Anglais sont les deux grand puissant langues dans le monde. Maintenant, plus personnes peut être en train d’apprendre Anglais que français, mais ce sera mieux que vous n’en moquez. Vous avez les droit de la liberté d’expression, mais utilise le élégamment. Pour liberté, egalité, fraternité.
I almost forget my French, but after reading the statement, it motivates me for learning French more than before. Merci M. Paxman.
One source is from here
Photo credit is from here
Tangerang, 25 April 2016