Linguists are feckless posers who don’t know the meaning of a real degree
‘Ou est la gare?’
When you’re at school you might have been forced to learn a language. I was. I did German for five years and I can have a very basic conversation involving “wo ist die schwule club, bitte?”. It was a fun little banality, something to pass the day. But then I arrived at uni just to realise that some people have actually pursued this to degree level.
They’ve taken a very basic skill like learning a language, that at least several million people speak as their mother tongue, and turned it into a degree. Most of these people will have been learning this language for quite literally decades – there are people who went to French nursery that are still learning the language twenty years later. Thousands of hours of lessons down the line and they still can’t walk into a bar in Paris without being laughed at. They’re paying £9000 for the privilege of studying something that 30-year-old office workers from Hull do in their spare time.
Not content with being rubbish at the language they’re studying for at least four years at uni, they’re also wankers. Watching French cinema in a seminar does not make you cultured. I watched La Haine, darling we’ve all fucking watched La Haine. We all read Der Vorleser, we all know a bit about Russian Constructivism. You’re not special just because you understand it without subtitles.
So convinced of their own greatness, these self involved part-timers seem insistent on informing everyone of how cultured they are by dropping phrases like: “Of course on my YA, that means Year Abroad by the way, you learn to appreciate culture much more.” It makes no sense, especially as you know all they did was doss about in a uni somewhere near Lyon drinking €1 wine with the other three English people. You only know this because they spammed their terrible year abroad blog all over social media, making you wonder why they tried to learn another language before they could write proper English.
It’s almost sad how awesome language students think they are, because what they’re doing is totally useless. Jobs don’t come flying at you because you speak German – every single German will probably leave high school speaking better English than your degree level German. It will be even more crushing when you have no discernable skill to go with it. No Engineering degree, nothing but the ability to give detailed analysis of Spanish prose or German immigration policy. A skill literally anyone can achieve like learning a language should not put you in that much debt.
It’s actually a damning indictment of our society: the UK has allowed such complacency that studying French, German or Spanish at degree level is somehow an achievement. It’s not it’s a life skill, something we should have all learnt at school, like literally every other nation on earth that teaches English.
Oh yes, your third year paid-for vacation. You all head to places like Barcelona and proceed to do exactly the same ‘crazy’ things you would get up to in the UK. Yet you’re learning a language – apparently. I’ve got drunk abroad, I even learnt how to order stuff in Chinese, but did I feel that my skills would progress beyond that if I stayed longer than a month. No. But you lot do – you stay for a whole fucking year, just drinking, pretending to find yourself and learning to be intolerable.
You all just spend your time Snapchatting getting drunk with captions like “costa living” Then you have the balls to come back and say you’re a much more cultured individual and your language skills have improved.
So please enjoy your degree, and that year’s subsidised vacation, but feel free to contact me when you need a reference for your TeachFirst application. Because the sad truth is, the only thing language students are fluent in is bullshit.