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News > From the Chalkface > The love of languages – Headmaster writes in Attain Magazine

The love of languages – Headmaster writes in Attain Magazine

James Priory explores why the cultural experience of learning a language often ends up taking second place to the practical advantages.
James writes in Attain Magazine: Too often, learning a language is seen in a utilitarian way rather than enjoying it for the experience. James Priory argues this traditional view on language learning puts value above cultural experience.

One of the more bizarre moments in the aftermath of the 2016 Referendum was the submission of a petition to remove French-sounding mottos from the front of the UK passport.

‘Dieu et mon droit’ (God and my right) and ‘Honi qui mal y pense’ (Spurned be the one who evil thinks) may have been embedded in English for centuries and even appear on the royal coat of arms, but for some the perpetuation of a foreign language on the document most emblematic of their national identity was enough to take up arms online.

No matter that ‘passport’ itself is a word derived from Old French to mean the authorisation to enter or leave a country typically, in the fifteenth century at least, via a port. Or that to ‘Take Back Control’ linguistically would have meant having to give back ‘control’ because of its derivation from Old French. You only need to read the myth of Babel to understand that language knows no bounds.

You can read the full article in Attain magazine, which is published three times a year and is a leading title in the independent education sector. Read more here: Attain magazine

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