In defence of Language students

Calm le fuck down


Apparently language students are posers learning a basic skill and it has been declared that we don’t know the meaning of a real degree.

Anyone studying a language at Liverpool, or any other for that matter, will know how narrow minded that depiction is. In fact anyone who actually knows someone studying a language, will agree that the suggestion of language students being lazy and pretentious just isn’t true.

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Language students, not posing

If you’ve sat through an hour long grammar lecture on South Campus, having to translate an infinite number of phrases in 10 seconds you’ll be aware that mastering another language is not a basic skill.  If that were not hard enough, having to trek to the Sydney Jones and dig out books on the relevant history, literature and politics, then write an essay about these complex subjects in a second language means that,  in effect, language students do the same work as other humanities students, but in a foreign language.

The idea that we have somehow picked the easiest option available, and couldn’t be bothered studying anything more difficult is just not true. Uni entrance requirements for languages are generally lower than for other subjects, as they are some of the most difficult and least popular A-Levels available.

Being able to understand other cultures does not make language students pretentious wankers. A huge part of language study is to give an international outlook, an ability to understand and relate to other cultures. This international outlook means that we can befriend people from all over the world and empathise with opinions which are not necessarily our own.This avoids ignorant and ill-informed rants based on absolutely no evidence.

It’s unclear how many wankers there are working at the world’s most successful companies. But language students are employed to aid with negotiating multi-million pound business deals, precisely because of their international outlook. Language students don’t look down their noses at those who are different to them.

Don't wish that you did French like me...
Speak one language, that’s not me.

While we’re on our year abroad we don’t have time to bum around a foreign capital, pretending to find ourselves.  We have to formally register with all relevant bodies in that country, making our way through the red tape using, you guessed it, a foreign language. We have to adapt to local cultures and customs, having to realise that supermarkets won’t stay open 24/7 and making sure we actually have food.

To top it all off, the amount of personal organisation skills we learn from the year means employers love us. According to the Confederation of British Industry “Languages remain in high demand from British Business ”, so on what evidence it can be claimed that language degrees are “totally useless” is unclear.

Far from desperately needing a reference upon graduation, language graduates will be able to choose the careers of their choice with all the skills and experience they’ve picked up along the way. Unfortunately, we will be too busy getting paid to listen to inane criticism of our degree specialism.