And why not?

Seems rather more useful anyway:

More A levels in PE than French as pupils drop European languages

PE is now more popular than French at A level, a sign of the sharp decline in European languages being studied.

Only 8,713 candidates took French, this year’s results show, down 8 per cent in a year. In 1996 French was one of the most popular A levels, taken by 22,718 students. A total of 11,307 took PE this year.

After all, we’ve always found it more useful to thrash a Frenchman than speak to him. Enjoyable too.

21 thoughts on “And why not?”

  1. But remember, young people feel European and believe our future is in Europe. They just don’t fancy learning the lingo, that’s all.

    The irony of these people yelling in English to get the foreigners to understand them.

  2. Teens that I have spoken to (nieces, son, their friends) all opted for Spanish, German, or Italian as a second language.

    Maybe it isn’t that they’re not learning the lingo, but just not choosing French.

    Anecdata, I know, but I can’t see the article because Paywall. I’m sure it’s not the full story.

  3. Let’s see if I can brush the rust off…

    18-sai toki nihongo ga lingo de la jour desu.To, nihon onnako wa suteki.

  4. Quelle surprise! The only person who ever understood my French was a Russian, who had also learnt it in school. Froggies look down their nose at your puerile attempts.

    Eyties, on the other hand, are delighted that you’ll try, and give you discounts in shops and elsewhere for trying! Plus, it’s easier to pronounce, the Frogs always have a problem with phlegm, it seems.

  5. PE might be a useful A level, in seriousness. People wanting to look after their bodies more does seem something of A Thing among younger people in particular, and wages for qualified fitness instructors seem high.

    As for languages, I can see there are potential benefits but also opportunity costs to learning them and if there are plenty of native bilingual speakers about, then it’s going to take you years to get to the level that literally comes naturally to them.

  6. and wages for qualified fitness instructors seem high.

    Until tens of thousands of new fitness instructors with their A levels in PE come along…but I understand your point. Gyms seem to be full of ordinary people having one-to-one fitness sessions with professionals at an eye-watering cost. Just another clanging fact of dissonance to the wail that we are poorer than in the 1970s, etc.

  7. Rev: I think we probably need to thank Guillaume le Bâtard for that. English is amazingly rich in synonyms. If you’ve ever watched any of the Scandi crime stuff on BBC4 you may have noticed that the subtitles have all sorts of synonyms for good, great, fine, etc, but the Swedish is always ‘bra’ (pronounced ‘braw’, as in Scots).

    Mr JCB: I was once in a shop in Le Touquet and the shopkeeper complimented me on my French. Having spent a lot of business trips to France & Geneva, I did make the effort to improve my pronunciation. I have no illusions about its quality but perhaps I was rather better at it than a lot of tourists visiting that shop.

  8. Does PE really need to be an A-level? Surely some sort of vocational qualification is in order?

    There’s a lot of personal trainers for sure, but I don’t think many of them make much money. Of course they can work flexibly (boom) and stay fit so it has other advantages.

  9. @MC

    I suspect a lot of personal trainers took the Btec route rather than A levels, to be fair.

    But I can’t see why it shouldn’t be an A level – it does have practical elements but most of the assessment will be exam work on physiology etc. And it would seem a sensible stepping stone up to a degree in physiotherapy or similar.

  10. And apparently the majority of those who are taking the papers are already native speakers picking up an easy A level tick in the box.

  11. Assuming that the purpose of learning French is to speak to Frogs is as daft as assuming that the purpose of studying PE is to allow you to make a living from gymnastics.

  12. @Josephine

    Not sure about A level French, but this has been a huge issue with GCSEs in minority languages (Chinese, Urdu, Arabic, Polish…) – on the one hand it is clearly useful that someone who possesses skills in a language is able to get certified in it, but on the other hand the fact the qualification is essentially targeted at native speakers removes what little incentive there is for a non-native to try taking it.

  13. 18-sai toki nihongo ga lingo de la jour desu.To, nihon onnako wa suteki.

    Gomen nasai, watashi-wa nihon-go hanasemasen (a very useful phrase for the tourist in Japan)

  14. @Tractor Gent

    First time I was in Sweden, scanning TV Channels I stopped at TV SEX logo (dog)

    Alas, not what I expected.

    At east they don’t censor other languages like France – Burger King menu had 1/4 Pounders.

  15. The French no longer try too hard to stop anglicisms creeping in. But in Quebec … I was in Montreal for a meeting with some French colleagues and they nearly pissed themselves at the Poulet Frit Kentucky.

  16. Anyone who’s (not whose) studied French knows how much more difficult but essential the grammar is. When you see how poorly our people write or even converse in English, maybe a French person studying French isn’t so ridiculous? Besides, a French class isn’t just about language, just like the NHS doesn’t just rid of deseases. As for PE, at least the kids are learning something helpful for life, hopefully. Zut alors, get your heads out a bit, raise the level from the usual haw he haw he haws!

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