Parlez-Vous Anglais? Yes, of Course.

Europeans speaking perfect English sounds like good news for native speakers, but it may also be a threat.

Europeans speaking perfect English sounds like good news for native speakers, but it may also be a threat.


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Pamela Druckerman / Aug. 10, 2019 / NYTimes

QUOTE:

The EF English Proficiency Index, whose online test rates adults around the world, has found … Of the 27 countries it ranks as highly or very highly proficient, 22 are in Europe.

It won’t be long before Americans realize that top European schools offer a fast-growing number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, taught entirely in English, for a fraction of the price of many American schools, even if you add on overseas airfare. (In 2009, there were about 55 English B.A.’s offered in Continental Europe; by 2017, there were 2,900.)

Natives are losing their competitive edge. A few jobs still require perfect English, but in the corporate world good English has become a basic requirement, not a personal selling point. … Crucially, the ubiquity of English lulls us Anglophones into thinking that it’s O.K. to be monolingual. It’s not. I’ve been at Amsterdam dinners where everyone is speaking brilliant English, but the minute I leave the table they switch back to Dutch. If all we know is English, we won’t know what the rest of the world is saying about us.

UNQUOTE

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