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  #101  
Old 09-16-2016, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
I suspect it is George's generation that may need to think of learning Mandarin, Hindi or Gujarati. As of now, English very much remains the lingua-franca.



But how many of those are likely to be subject of the Windsors?
About 7 million and counting for French as a primary language. Canadians are of course subjects, and about 7 million of us use French as our first language.

An understanding of French may also assist when visiting some of their Caribbean nations who speak creole. Creole is different certainly, but has French and Spanish roots. Tbough English is primary language, creole is widely spoken, and being able to make some small converse would not go unappreciated, and would be easier yo pick up if you spoke a similar root.
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  #102  
Old 09-20-2016, 04:13 AM
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I think it's pretty awful actually that their parents didn't insist that William and Harry become fluent (reading, writing, speech, understanding) in at least two European languages, including French. Some private tuition might have come in handy from the very early years. If they got the bug other languages could be learned.

I certainly hope there's an improvement with George and Charlotte. As other posters have said, a whole new world opens up culturally and intellectually when you can speak and understand another country's language.

The younger members of the BRF ought to hang their heads in shame on this issue, IMO. Harry spoke about languages at a New Zealand school on his visit there, when he observed a German lesson taking place. He was asked what other languages he knew and said he'd learned French at school but had 'forgotten most of it'. He'd wanted to learn Spanish but a teacher had said 'Forget it'. Why? He also said he wished he could speak German. Try to learn it, then!

Edward VIII and George VI could reportedly speak French and German without an accent, and their education was supposedly not the best.

On a brighter note, Harry has spent tons of time in Southern Africa and may well know basic Sotho, the Southern Bantu language spoken in Lesotho.
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  #103  
Old 09-20-2016, 08:22 AM
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I think that the British royal family distinguishes themselves from the other european royal family for this reason as well. I don't want to be reductive, but I think it comes down with the fact that English is their mothertongue. They kind of expect foreigners to speak their language only because it's one of the most spoken languagues, at least to connect between the several european states. There is not much to do about it right now, but maybe with the future generations, who knows.
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  #104  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
I think it's pretty awful actually that their parents didn't insist that William and Harry become fluent (reading, writing, speech, understanding) in at least two European languages, including French. Some private tuition might have come in handy from the very early years. If they got the bug other languages could be learned.

I .
I don't think that harry at least is ever going to get a bug that involves learning anything much unless it is something practical. he's not into schooling and isn't very clever. William is a bit smarter but possibly he's not intot languages and I should say that Charles and Di didn't push them. why would they? Diana wasn't into learning herself and by the time that Charles became sole parent, I think he didn't want to play the heavy father with the boys because they had lost Diana.

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Originally Posted by Moonmaiden23 View Post
Most if not all of the world's royal families are able to do this. The fact that the Windsors have produced what is perhaps first and only generation of royals who cannot is puzzling. Especially bringing into account the fact that their fans insist that they are the gold standard of royal dynasties.
but they don't need to. Why should they? English is the language of the Empire - of the USA and most of their dealings are with these countries. It used to be a class thing that the upper class could speak French, and that the men learned Latin and greek, and that British royals spoke German because most of their relatives hailed from Germany.
Now there isnt' the same class marker thing about learning languages.

it is different for Continental Royals because they are on a continent with countries next door to each other, where different languages are spoken. So odds are that they will socialise with royals from other countries, esp since some of the Monarchical countries are very small, they marry them and learn more languages.
And personally I'd rather have a dynasty that has by and large been stable, has not been associated with extreme political movements, and has not had too many sexual or financial scandals... than one which was multi lingual.
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  #105  
Old 09-21-2016, 09:36 AM
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Being multi-lingual doesn't count that out though. Denmark and the Netherlands and Norway have been stable enough, for instance. And I do think it is sheer laziness to say that just because English is a major language there's no need to learn another. What about all the countries in the Commonwealth. Wouldn't it be good to speak to French Canada in a speech in a flawless accent?

Quite frankly I think, as many others have said, that (a) it's best to begin learning a foreign language as early as possible, and (b) the very best way to learn another language is to live in that country and immerse yourself into the lifestyle of it as much as you can. Australia is a country of migrants and many who came here from Europe, Asia etc when young and did that, learned English very quickly.

Having said that though, royals can't really do that sort of thing. However, I do think that the BRF lacks behind European and Scandinavian royal families in that regard. So if they, and George and Charlotte, have to do it the hard way in the classroom then so be it.

(Even so, on other forums I have seen snide references to Queen Sylvia's German in speeches after so many years in Sweden, as well as other foreign royals mangling other languages, so I do agree with other posters that if you don't use it you lose it. I also wonder, after reading such criticisms how really, really fluent in other languages many of these educated foreign royals are.)
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  #106  
Old 09-21-2016, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Being multi-lingual doesn't count that out though. Denmark and the Netherlands and Norway have been stable enough, for instance. And I do think it is sheer laziness to say that just because English is a major language there's no need to learn another. What about all the countries in the Commonwealth. Wouldn't it be good to speak to French Canada in a speech in a flawless accent?


Having said that though, royals can't really do that sort of thing. However, I do think that the BRF lacks behind European and Scandinavian royal families in that regard. So if they, and George and Charlotte, have to do it the hard way in the classroom then so be it.

are.)
I just don't think it is that big an issue. (ANd I think it is hopeless to expect this from Will or Harry).

they are first and foremost British Royals, and IMO it is more important that they do the job here, more than on the foreign tours. ANd in a way, given t that a lot of people in Britain are born abroad and speak other languages they'd be better learning Indian languages or African ones
Diana was popular all over the world and she could barely do more than a few words in French.
And as you say, A lot of the time people bitch about people who have learned say German or Danish, either because they have married intot another country, like Mary Donaldson or whatever.. because they don't do it very well or they speak with an accent or what have you.
or if they are supposed to be fluent in 3 languages like Q Silva, well maybe they are..but odds are that they spoke the langauges OK as a student but have now lost them, and if they're praised for their lingual skills its more to do with them being Royal!
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  #107  
Old 09-21-2016, 10:18 AM
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but they don't need to. Why should they? English is the language of the Empire - of the USA and most of their dealings are with these countries. It used to be a class thing that the upper class could speak French, and that the men learned Latin and greek, and that British royals spoke German because most of their relatives hailed from Germany.
Now there isnt' the same class marker thing about learning languages.

it is different for Continental Royals because they are on a continent with countries next door to each other, where different languages are spoken. So odds are that they will socialise with royals from other countries, esp since some of the Monarchical countries are very small, they marry them and learn more languages.
And personally I'd rather have a dynasty that has by and large been stable, has not been associated with extreme political movements, and has not had too many sexual or financial scandals... than one which was multi lingual.
I absolutely disagree with you.
English may be the dominant language - at present...

But learning a language is so much more. Being proficient in a foreign language means you have to at least understand and learn some aspects of of the culture and history about the country (countries) where that language is spoken.
For persons whose life-long job is to travel abroad and represent their country, an ability to only speak their own mother-tongue, because there is "no need" to learn another language, is not something to brag about in this day and age.

So what's to hinder the various younger and primary BRF members in at least attempting to learn one more language each?
Say Harry learned Swahili (since he's seems fond of Africa).
William French and Kate Mandarin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denville View Post
I just don't think it is that big an issue. (ANd I think it is hopeless to expect this from Will or Harry).

they are first and foremost British Royals, and IMO it is more important that they do the job here, more than on the foreign tours. ANd in a way, given t that a lot of people in Britain are born abroad and speak other languages they'd be better learning Indian languages or African ones
Diana was popular all over the world and she could barely do more than a few words in French.
And as you say, A lot of the time people bitch about people who have learned say German or Danish, either because they have married intot another country, like Mary Donaldson or whatever.. because they don't do it very well or they speak with an accent or what have you.
or if they are supposed to be fluent in 3 languages like Q Silva, well maybe they are..but odds are that they spoke the langauges OK as a student but have now lost them, and if they're praised for their lingual skills its more to do with them being Royal!

I assume you mean Crown Princess Mary?

I can assure you Queen Maxima, Mary and Queen Silvia would get a lot more heat if they were not as proficient in Dutch, Danish and Swedish as they are!

And in contrast to you I have a little more faith in Harry and William's intellectual capabilities.
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  #108  
Old 09-21-2016, 10:31 AM
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I think it's a common trait in most English speaking countries. Because there isn't or wasn't any need for other languages, no importance was given to learning them.

In Europe, the opposite is true. Ordinary people often speak two or more languages out of necessity.
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  #109  
Old 09-21-2016, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
I assume you mean Crown Princess Mary?

I can assure you Queen Maxima, Mary and Queen Silvia would get a lot more heat if they were not as proficient in Dutch, Danish and Swedish as they are!

And in contrast to you I have a little more faith in Harry and William's intellectual capabilities.
well if they are so clever how come they haven't learned any languages? In Harry's case i'd say because he's not into it.. and isn't very clever. In Williams, I would say like most young people today, there are lots of other subjects that are more fascinating, such as computer science etc. In the 19th C a gentlemanly educatoin was largely about the classics and didnt' always touch on more practical subjects, and since the upper classes and royalty were the most likely to travel, they learned French and German. But now, there are lots of other subjects at school, and unless someone has a bent for languages, they will concentrate on them.
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  #110  
Old 09-21-2016, 12:01 PM
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Learning a foreign language doesn't mean one learned about the culture and history much less understand the people.
If the BRF doesn't want to learn another language that their business, it doesn't make them stupid or insensitive. Plenty of dumb, insensitive, ignorant people can speak more than one language.
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  #111  
Old 09-21-2016, 12:32 PM
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I don't think it's accurate to say the BRF is not multi-lingual.

The Queen, the DoE, the Duke of Kent and the PoW etc all are.

It's the current generation(William, Harry, Beatrice, Eugenie,) who are not.

This makes them stand out in stark contrast against their Royal peers.

It's especially baffling considering the elite educations all of them have received....what was the point?
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  #112  
Old 09-21-2016, 06:32 PM
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William and Beatrice, at least, studied languages to GCSE level (William did Latin and Spanish - if my memory serves and Beatrice French). Neither went on to study any languages for their A levels.

As for English - during my recent tour to Europe the thing that struck me was the vast number of people who spoke English and all the signage that was in English all over Europe.

In Russia I apologised to one person in a shop - not in a tourist area - because I couldn't speak Russian other than to say 'hello' and 'thank you' but the reply came back - 'No need - you speak the world's language' and said it perfectly.

Why learn another language when the world is learning yours?

As for not understanding the culture and history of a place - I think that is a crock argument. I do understand the culture and history of the places I visit - that is why I visit - and I don't speak any language other than English.
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  #113  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:05 PM
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"Why learn another language when the world is learning yours?"

Imagine if the French had taken that attitude when their language was considered the gold standard of culture and diplomacy. Or the Greeks, for that matter.

English is a beautiful language and I love it, but we live in a global society. The idea of assuming that everyone needs or even wants to speak English at the neglect of any others is xenophobic and arrogant, imo.

For the record, I do not agree that immersing oneself in the language and culture of another country is at all a "crock". I think it's a sign of a well rounded, cultured individual. What's wrong with that?
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  #114  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:10 PM
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?? The French are notorious for refusing to Speak English?
I wouldn't say that the older RF are "muilti Lingual". PHilp was brougth up partly abroad so he is likely to have learned more languages. I've never heard of the queen learning more than schoolgirl French, and Charles possibly has, because he's the sort of person who might have chosen to study it. But I don't believe that WIll and Harry are into languages or serious study.
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  #115  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:57 PM
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QEII speaks much better than schoolgirl French I've heard her even though her accent is not great. She may speak German as well. Ditto the DoE.

As for the PoW, his French is quite flawless and fluent as is his German.

(Even native French speakers are said to be wowed by his command of their language)
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  #116  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:59 PM
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The French were notorious for refusing to speak anything other than French but my experience this year was very different with everyone speaking English to me as soon as I approached them. It was almost assumed that English was to be the language until the person spoke in French. Even the Germans at one place I was - were spoken to in English first and then the conversation was held in English even when the Germans indicated they spoke French.

Maybe the fact that so many people in Europe now don't live in the country where they were educated or born they have moved to the common language as the language of choice. I was rarely served and found most of the people in the service industry in the UK weren't from the UK for instance but from other countries both within the EU and outside it. English was thus the only common language these people even spoke.

As for the senior royals and their languages:

The Queen regularly has given speeches in French and is completely fluent - as any well-brought up lady of her generation would have been. She communicates with the French President always in French and has also spoken at State Dinners in fluent French.

Philip went to school in both France and Germany and is regarded as fluent in both languages. He doesn't speak much, if any, Greek.

Charles and Anne went to school when French was still compulsory in English schools and so learnt it then.

In the mid-1970s the requirement to study French was changed to required to study a language. William studied Spanish and Latin. I have never seen any record of Harry studying a language - but he probably did a year or so and then dropped it. Beatrice studied French and Kate did some Italian as she lived in Italy for a while during her gap year.
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  #117  
Old 09-21-2016, 09:02 PM
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Harry learned French at Eton. He's said so, as I observed in a former post.
Beatrice and Eugenie probably learned French too. So did William, again at Eton, however not fluently, as his much criticised speech in French at Montreal showed.

Kate living for a couple of months in Italy when she was 19 is also hardly likely to have resulted in her speaking, reading, writing, understanding, Italian fluently, especially over a decade later. You don't use it, you lose it.

It might not be 'necessary' as an English speaker to learn a foreign language and use it when you are travelling abroad, but as someone who has travelled in Europe too, it opens up a whole new dimension when you can speak another's language. I think it is much, much better for royals to be able to at least converse in one or more other languages than not, and IMO it's just sheer arrogance to think that bring mono-lingual is just fine!
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  #118  
Old 09-22-2016, 04:50 AM
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Harry learned French at Eton. He's said so, as I observed in a former post.
Beatrice and Eugenie probably learned French too. So did William, again at Eton, however not fluently, as his much criticised speech in French at Montreal showed.

Kate living for a couple of months in Italy when she was 19 is also hardly lianother's language. I think it is much, much better for royals to be able to at least converse in one or more other languages than not, and IMO it's just sheer arrogance to think that bring mono-lingual is just fine!
but why? They are nto going to be working abroad, unlike the rest of us who may move abroad.(and then as others have siad one tends to have to learn if you are living there for a while).
THEy will do short tours..
and I think its quite possible to learn about French culture etc without learning the language. If I had to learn the languages of all the cultures that Im interested in, I wouldn't have time ot read about the cultures and history.
If it is something they had a natural aptitude for, fine, they will probalby do it without any prompting but none of them IMO Kate Will or Harry are that way inclined.
As you rightly said if you dont use a language you tend to lose it, so if they DID learn, and only do short tours odds are by the time they next visit X they will have lost thier skill in the language and have to start afresh.
It was different 100 years ago when there were less things to learn about.. and when Royal families were intermarried with foreign R Families so they were bound to learn more than one language.

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The French were notorious for refusing to speak anything other than French but m

In Italy for a while during her gap year.
I agree that's said of the French but my one visit to Paris, I found most people spoke a bit of English and were quite willing to do so.. and if you spoke French even a litlte, which is all I can manage becuase I only did it at school, they were pleased that you were trying to speak French. But I beleive that years ago they were bullish in refusing to listen to people trying to communicate in English...
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