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  #521  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wyevale View Post
Personally I think is a disgrace they cannot speak French...
If I were HMQ I would INSIST they learn it, and get competent at it PDQ...
every time this comes up I have a good chuckle. I do think everyone should know more than one language, but it doesn't always happen at a later age. Mary, I believe, is outstanding for being able to learn Danish as she has. Same for Maxima and Marie. But I've been trying to learn several languages since I was a teenager and not enough stick. I took Spanish for four years and loved it, but I would die if I got in front of Felipe & Letizia and had to converse with them. No matter how much I practice, it just doesn't work for me.

as for The Queen, Philip, Charles, & Camilla being fluent, I've heard all sorts about that not being true. As I don't speak a lick of french, I won't comment.

I do think a phrase or two would be nice, but seeing as William was lambasted for his French in Canada last year, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't do it again. Again, some people, no matter the practice, simply don't catch on with languages.
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  #522  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Nico View Post
Frankly i'm quite surprised they don't. The Queen, the DOE, Charles and Camilla are all fluent in French. I guess it's a generation thing ...
I agree. I read that William learnt French at school but a lot of students study languages here in England so it wouldn't surprise me if Catherine did the same. He's probably forgotten most of what he learnt as it was a long time since he last participated in a French lesson. It would have been nice of William and or Catherine to learn a bit more French so they could perform a speech, as, like you have pointed out, a few members of the royal family are fluent in French. I disagree that it's disgraceful, as that's a bit of an OTT statement to me, but I do just think it's respectful towards the other country to speak their language or have a basic understanding of key phrases when visiting on an official occasion.

On the other hand, GomdNatt did make a good point about William being slammed for his poor French in Canada. He seems to have quite a caring character, so perhaps he was put off from speaking it as he was paranoid of getting more negativity around it.
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  #523  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by HereditaryPrincess View Post
I agree. I read that William learnt French at school but a lot of students study languages here in England so it wouldn't surprise me if Catherine did the same. He's probably forgotten most of what he learnt as it was a long time since he last participated in a French lesson. It would have been nice of William and or Catherine to learn a bit more French so they could perform a speech, as, like you have pointed out, a few members of the royal family are fluent in French. I disagree that it's disgraceful, as that's a bit of an OTT statement to me, but I do just think it's respectful towards the other country to speak their language or have a basic understanding of it when visiting on an official occasion.
Imagine all of the languages the royals would need a basic understanding of!

I do think, for anyone, when traveling you should know key phrases, but I wouldn't go as far as to say a basic understanding. Unless you're going for a long time, i.e., more than a couple of weeks and intend to immerse yourself in the culture (i.e. not a royal visit).
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  #524  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by GömdNatt View Post
Imagine all of the languages the royals would need a basic understanding of!

I do think, for anyone, when traveling you should know key phrases, but I wouldn't go as far as to say a basic understanding. Unless you're going for a long time, i.e., more than a couple of weeks and intend to immerse yourself in the culture (i.e. not a royal visit).
Why the smiley? My post wasn't meant to be amusing and I did agree with you at the end. By basic understanding I meant key phrases. I guess I should have been more clear, then but I thought that's what some would have assumed I was referring to
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  #525  
Old 03-17-2017, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by GömdNatt View Post
as for The Queen, Philip, Charles, & Camilla being fluent, I've heard all sorts about that not being true. As I don't speak a lick of french, I won't comment.
.
Well ...





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  #526  
Old 03-17-2017, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HereditaryPrincess View Post
Why the smiley? My post wasn't meant to be amusing and I did agree with you at the end. By basic understanding I meant key phrases. I guess I should have been more clear, then but I thought that's what some would have assumed I was referring to
There's a big difference between basic understanding and key phrases. Basic understanding, but my understanding of language tiers, is being able to hold something of a convo, though maybe in broken sentences. Key phrases is simply key phrases with little fluency in how it's spoken. Basic understanding is what I have of Spanish (though I would undoubtedly trip over myself trying to speak to someone), but key phrases is what I've got for Danish and Swedish. I can say hello, how are you, but can't muster much more than that.

I don't speak a lick of french, so I won't comment.

I'll leave that for the actual French-speaking people in this community.
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  #527  
Old 03-17-2017, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by GömdNatt View Post
There's a big difference between basic understanding and key phrases. Basic understanding, but my understanding of language tiers, is being able to hold something of a convo, though maybe in broken sentences. Key phrases is simply key phrases with little fluency in how it's spoken. Basic understanding is what I have of Spanish (though I would undoubtedly trip over myself trying to speak to someone), but key phrases is what I've got for Danish and Swedish. I can say hello, how are you, but can't muster much more than that.



I don't speak a lick of french, so I won't comment.

I'll leave that for the actual French-speaking people in this community.
Well, it seems that I stand corrected. I guess that clears that one up.
I still don't understand what was amusing about my post though.
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  #528  
Old 03-17-2017, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by GömdNatt View Post
I don't speak a lick of french, so I won't comment.
I'll leave that for the actual French-speaking people in this community.
You just asserted that some senior members of BRF were presumably not fluent in French.
As a native French speaker, i just proved that it was probably not true.
You're welcome.
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  #529  
Old 03-17-2017, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wyevale View Post
Personally I think is a disgrace they cannot speak French...
If I were HMQ I would INSIST they learn it, and get competent at it PDQ...
I think it's a waste of their time learning French. Not many of their future subjects speak French. I suspect more speak Hindi than French.
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  #530  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:02 PM
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I don't believe that it should be a requirement to speak a foreign language but that ability in and of itself is something that is an accomplishment. Since joining TRF, I was truly amazed at how many people here can write so eloquently in English and knowing its not their native language. Although I did take 3 years of high school French and a semester in college, I would be very hard pressed to hold a conversation in that language today.

People on the world stage do the countries that they're visiting a nice honor when they speak and are able to address the people a bit in their native language and even if they flub it up, its the effort that's appreciated and not the fluency of the language.

Will and Kate will do just fine in Paris regardless of the ability to speak French.
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  #531  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Nico View Post
You just asserted that some senior members of BRF were presumably not fluent in French.
As a native French speaker, i just proved that it was probably not true.
You're welcome.
No, I said I have HEARD that they are not fluent, but as I don't speak French, I can't comment. If you say they are fluent, okay then. I didn't assert anything.
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  #532  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:52 PM
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Agree with muriel and Osipi about the language thing.
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  #533  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:35 PM
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Apparently, Catherine studied French in secondary school. Last year at the Somme memorial she spoke French with people and commented something like ‘her French was at high school level’. One of the royal reporters heard her and commented on twitter that her French was better than William’s.

I’m quite sure that anyone attending a private boarding school in the UK learns a foreign language. Which one and how much of it they retain by the time they’re in their thirties surely varies from person to person.
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  #534  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:46 PM
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I think it's a waste of their time learning French. Not many of their future subjects speak French. I suspect more speak Hindi than French.
It's not a question of waste of time, it's a question of making the effort for the host country.
For instance the Queen made a point to speak French during her 5 state visits to France. Idon't know if she wasted her time as you said, but it was clearly part of her soft diplomacy and was much appreciated.
The same for Charles during his various visits and Camilla during her first solo visit abroad in Paris.
The new generation apparently doesn't care anymore. A bit of a shame
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  #535  
Old 03-17-2017, 10:13 PM
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If I'm not mistaken (and I'm sure someone that knows more than I do will correct me if I'm wrong), speaking French by the aristocracy and royalty stems back to the times when French was actually the language spoken at court in England.

Up until maybe a couple of decades ago, a young woman preparing to "come out" and being presented as a debutante would attend a finishing school and speaking French was one of the attributes deemed that a young woman "of quality" should possess. If I'm not mistaken, both Camilla and Diana attended finishing schools in Switzerland.

What has changed is that women now go to university and can pursue just about any field of interest that they want to. The heyday of the finishing school has gone the way of the horse and carriage and debutante balls.
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  #536  
Old 03-17-2017, 11:10 PM
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What changed was the education system in the UK that didn't mandate the teaching of French (I had friends in the 1970s who came to Australia from their English schools and they were fluent and were surprised that we were at basically the equivalent of Year 4 - 5 level when in Year 9 in Australia - so we were about 5 years behind in studying French).

This would have included Charles and Anne's generation but by the end of the 70s the mandatory teaching of a language had gone as I understand it from primary schools and the expectation was down to one to two years in high school.

I do think that someone should have looked more closely at William's chosen subjects at school and insist that at least one European language was studied to the end of high school rather than to GCSE only.

I have also heard that George and Charlotte speak way better Spanish than they do English because Maria is teaching them Spanish and she is spending more time with them than anyone else (that isn't to say they aren't learning English but just that at this stage their Spanish is better). That would suggest that like earlier generations George and Charlotte are growing up bi-lingual whereas William was raised totally monolingual.
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  #537  
Old 03-17-2017, 11:33 PM
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It's way easier to learn a language when you are a little kid. That's when you develop your language skills. By the time you're a teenager your language skills are already developed so those 3 or 4 years of a foreign language don't really stick and you quickly loose them when it's not something that you are doing all the time.

I had 4 years of Spanish in high school and a year of German in college and retained almost nothing because it's not something I am doing in my everyday life. However I do know how to count to 10 in spainish from watching Sesame Street as a little kid. I also know how to sign jumping from Sesame Street.
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  #538  
Old 03-17-2017, 11:56 PM
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As an American who lived in France for a bit and speaks French, I would say, after listening to the queen, Charles and Camilla,,that only the queen seems to be facile with the language. Charles has a pretty bad accent, and Camilla,s is really like a caricature of an English speaker speaking French.
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  #539  
Old 03-18-2017, 12:03 AM
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As an American who lived in France for a bit and speaks French, I would say, after listening to the queen, Charles and Camilla,,that only the queen seems to be facile with the language. Charles has a pretty bad accent, and Camilla,s is really like a caricature of an English speaker speaking French.
I don't agree. But at least, they tried !
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  #540  
Old 03-18-2017, 12:33 AM
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William took French and Spanish at Eton for years. He speaks both very badly, but I do think with foreign languages it's a case of 'use it or lose it'. If you don't keep up any language then eventually you do forget it.

I read a while ago that Edward and Sophie Wessex were studying French together, so it looks as if Edward wasn't encouraged to learn French either.

I do think it's shameful that a future King of GB isn't able to communicate properly in any other language but his own, especially when you consider most of his European and Scandi contemporaries are fluent in at least three.

As for Kate, I find it very hard to believe that her school, Marlborough, didn't offer at least two modern European languages in its curriculum.
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