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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by rosa11, Feb 25, 2012.
Silly question or not? Our kids are obsessed by him, we've even had a school trip to CERN...
Every famous FOREIGN person top in their field - Penelope Cruz, Sebastian Vettel, Thierry Henry etc etc - they all speak perfect English and get on in their field BECAUSE they speak English. I know what you are about to say - then WHY learn a foreign language? They are top in their field BECAUSE they have bothered to learn a foreign language well. Our young people RESTRICT themselves to the English speaking world when, with another language, they can do something amazing in a foreign language in a foreign land - Spanish, Chinese, Arabic are ripe for development in this sense.
All good stuff - thank-you. We have all manner of famous faces on the walls of our Fac. Perhaphs a big poster with Prof Cox and Einstein having a chat might work. Could give it a title "What would they say to each other?"
My vote for a poster would be a copy of one of the photos of Jesse Owens and Lutz Lang at the 1936 Olympics proving friendship and sport can survive despite political and international barriers.
For popular choices how about Eddie Izzard, or even Chris Evans, who is a Francophile and has been known to play songs in other languages on the radio, most notably "Man or Muppet" in lots of languages last Friday - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01c6mls/The_Chris_Evans_Breakfast_Show_Gary_Barlow_and_Andrew_Lloyd_Webber_are_coming_for_Breakfast!/ 40 mins in
I'd go with Eddie Izzard.
Me, I would have thought.
I agree, Pierre. You are the MFL world's Brian Cox.
Neither is likely to set the world on fire, but it sometimes helps to show surprising people speaking MFL.
Sandra Bullock speaks German: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN0LjGneU3w
Bradley Cooper speaks French: http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/61553/Bradley-Cooper-Speaking-French/
actually, no .. my vote would be for Hugo.
I guess the message that comes through here is that there is noone even remotely in the same league as Brian Cox.
You've got celebrity engineers, architects, doctors, scientists, mathematicians, chefs but noone who really incarnates multiple language learning and gives it a life outside its academic and professional practice.
It's made worse when people come on TV who are extolling the culture and other virtues of another country and don't speak the language vis the recent Moroccan kingdom programme where the presenter had no French.
TV exposure is crucial maybe. If they had a celebrity/linguist working on something like the old Japanese/Russian language and people and the presenter had to get to grips with the language at the same time as preparing for the programme-Alastair Campbell or someone like that might be up for it; favourite novel Madame Bovary. Trouble is he might start with Burnley, language and people.
A few of the best English novelists of recent years have been modern lingusts at one time or another-Julian Barnes and John Fowles come to mind.
Come to think of it a celebrity doesn't necessarily help. Carol Vordermann has been at the media helm for maths for quite a while now and maths is still on a downward trend too.
The BBC have actually made a series, where some well known non Welsh speaking Welsh people were taught enough Welsh, to present a TV programme. The breakfast TV presenter Sian Williams was one of them. So there is a precedent.
I was amazed to discover that Alistair Campbell was an MFL graduate from Cambridge. I think just like he does n't do God he probably does n't do languages now. That is a great pity as he would be such a 'blokey' linguist and he is a great self publicist to boot!
Here's a question - how does Prof Brian Cox communicate with physicists from Germany, France etc? In English I bet.
Brian Cox comes from my home town of Oldham (hence another reason for my interest in him) and I know some of chaps he was at school with. I must find out if he was much cop at langauges!
Actually for me, other than Eddie Izzard, I have massive amounts of respect for Frank Gardner who studied Arabic at Exeter.
Stop press: my husband informs me that he Prof Cox was no linguist.
What about that guy from the BBC news clip recently who speaks 11 languages fluently? If he became super famous, was given his own TV show where he talked non-stop and answered each question before the guests had a chance to, he could become our Brian Cox?
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Brian Cox is very good at what he does, but as has been pointed out things are not on a level playing field between science and languages, and if languages were given the same exposure and glamour then there are plenty of people who could fit the bill.
I think very much like Larry Lamb who is coming to the ALL conference (not to be missed folks!) Alistair Campbell would be "up for it" actually. I think he's probably a blokey blokey who sees the advantage of being in touch with his feminine side-he's done a lot recently about his mental health issues and there are some hugely interesting linguisticgoing on out there-bilingualism in our cities, hispanics in the states...I would think something about how our attitude to languages affects our industrial/business competitivity might be of interest. This *** report suggests we are losing billions by not engaging with the countries to which we could be selling:-http://www.educationandemployers.org/media/14563/ll_report_1__for_website.pdf
He could test the water with some businesses to get them learning and going for foreign markets. Alex Polizi but with export markets in the frame. This is starting to sound like one of Alan Patridge's mad programme suggestions. "Anyone for monkey wrestling?"
Larry Lamb seems to be everywhere at the moment. What is he going to talk about?
With reference to Alastair Campbell, he does French rather well.
thank-you very much for that! All good stuff.