Global Village Nagoya
英エコノミスト誌にイギリスの外国語事情について興味深い記事がありましたので、内容を要約して英語多読記事にしました。 原文はこちら。The Economist "Shout louder 'A woeful approach to language education continues'"(もっと大きな声で！外国語教育への悲痛なアプローチ続く）
The Economist has an interesting article.
Workers whom British exporters are likely to employ are foreigners who can speak more than two languages, and British nationals are not employed recently.
A reason is because British people can’t speak foreign languages.
Because the Blair administration announced the policy in 2004 that students over 14 years old don’t have to learn foreign languages, the number of British people who can speak more than two languages extremely decreased.
The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 8,000 British companies, and the result is stunning. It turned out that as many as 96% companies surveyed don’t have workers who can speak foreign languages, and that British companies don’t have those who can speak foreign languages is a barrier for them to have access to overseas markets.
This isn’t a story about a foreign country, but it can be applied to Japan.
It is said that Britain goes 10 years ahead of Japan, and what is happening in the U.K will be happening in Japan as well.
In fact, Japanese corporations dealing with work in China started employing Chinese workers who can speak Japanese, and Japanese corporations may employ South East Asians for businesses in South East Asia that are going to be more important than China.
The situation in Britain isn’t similar to Japan of course. In the case
of Britain, because the English language, their mother tongue, is an international
language, British people can make themselves understood in English in Europe,
Africa and Asia.
If you start up a business in a local market, you need a local language, but British people can deal with international business in English.
However, in the cases of Japan, many Japanese people find it harder to communiate with international people in English.
Still, Japan is the third largest economic nation, and if one can’t speak Japanese, then he can’t have access to the Japanese market, which has been a barrier for foreign affiliated companies to take part in the market.
This is an advantage for those who can speak Japanese, but becaues the Japanese economy has been shrinking, Japanese companies need to rely on foreign demand.
In this sense the Japanese companies have a similarity to British ones, and I predict Japanese people need to speak English or other foreign languages more than ever. You better learn them earlier, and you will get a good thing.