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  #921  
Old 05-01-2020, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
No one said he HAD to be.

Why not both then? Royals don't lack for money, time or tutors to learn new things. We expect doctors and other professionals to continue to learn and develop skills during their career. Why should a royal be any different? Heck do one of those on line training programs at night when the kids go to bed for a few hours and at least get a basic working knowledge with time. Not that they both could not actually dedicate some time with a tutor (once this lock down is over). Maori is not very widely spoken in NZ, even less so then Welsh is spoken, but it is official.

I would love to see a royal learn sign language. They spend so much time visiting hospitals and such, be great for them to be able to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing patients they come in contact with. Great idea
He can sign, at least a bit. There was a video at an Investiture of him using sign language.
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  #922  
Old 05-01-2020, 03:23 AM
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To be fair, even without any education and zero experience one can be King. Prince George can be King tomorrow, so to speak.

So discussing the "suitability" of the Duke of Cambridge is like carrying buckets of water to the sea: pretty useless. He will be King. Suitable or not.
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  #923  
Old 05-01-2020, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
French is an official language of one of the countries he will be king of down the line. Chinese is not. His role is to represent the countries of the commonwealth when he becomes king. The official languages of the 16 realms are English and French (though some creole forms are officially recognized as well). This would be the reasoning why people would think he should learn French over something like Chinese or Arabic.

He is not more likely to use Welsh then French. Only about 20% of the people in Wales speak Welsh and that would commonly be their second tongue.

While continued use is yes helpful, continuing to keep up study of the language helps as well. William does not lack for tutoring or the time to work on it.
> French is indeed the language of one provence of a country he will be King of one day

> Are European langauge skills (Frnch, Spanish, German) that important these days? Views on this vary. IMO, English is very much an international language that is widely spoken, and as far as "core" skills for a future monarch, foreign language skills are really not a high priority.

> William is not unique in his poor grasp of French, most British people of his generation are. Foreign languages do not get much attention in the educatinal curricula at all.
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  #924  
Old 05-01-2020, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
> French is indeed the language of one provence of a country he will be King of one day

> Are European langauge skills (Frnch, Spanish, German) that important these days? Views on this vary. IMO, English is very much an international language that is widely spoken, and as far as "core" skills for a future monarch, foreign language skills are really not a high priority.

> William is not unique in his poor grasp of French, most British people of his generation are. Foreign languages do not get much attention in the educatinal curricula at all.

The Belgians always had a native French-speaking King with audible non-fluency in Dutch, while the majority of Belgium is Dutch-speaking and the economic heart of the country is in the Dutch-speaking Northern provinces.

Only now the children of the present King (did) attend Dutch-speaking primary and secondary schools. Princess Elisabeth will be the first Queen to master Dutch as native tongue.

This shows that language is not a make or break for Kings. William and Louis will be King anyway, even without any single word of Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic and Irish-Gaelic or French.
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  #925  
Old 05-01-2020, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
The Belgians always had a native French-speaking King with audible non-fluency in Dutch, while the majority of Belgium is Dutch-speaking and the economic heart of the country is in the Dutch-speaking Northern provinces.

Only now the children of the present King (did) attend Dutch-speaking primary and secondary schools. Princess Elisabeth will be the first Queen to master Dutch as native tongue.

This shows that language is not a make or break for Kings. William and Louis will be King anyway, even without any single word of Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic and Irish-Gaelic or French.

Louis? Did you mean George?


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  #926  
Old 05-01-2020, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Pranter View Post
Louis? Did you mean George?


LaRae

Eh... George of course, I was in francophone spheres. Yes: Prince George.
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  #927  
Old 05-01-2020, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
Eh... George of course, I was in francophone spheres. Yes: Prince George.
HA I wondered if that was it!


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  #928  
Old 05-01-2020, 12:55 PM
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I do not understand why we are discussing the language he can speak. The job requires him to be able to read, write and speak only ONE language-English. And by all accounts he is somewhat proficient in it

It is hard to learn a different language-it takes a certain mental agility to pick up a foreign language or you can have it drilled it in you. No one mistakes the Windsors being gifted. The Queen knows french because her governess probably drilled it into her (mainly because of the court etiquette at the time and she was not destined to be Queen until 10); no one would dare to drill it into the next generations (esp. if they had no interest in learning)
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  #929  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
I do not understand why we are discussing the language he can speak. The job requires him to be able to read, write and speak only ONE language-English. And by all accounts he is somewhat proficient in it

It is hard to learn a different language-it takes a certain mental agility to pick up a foreign language or you can have it drilled it in you. No one mistakes the Windsors being gifted. The Queen knows french because her governess probably drilled it into her (mainly because of the court etiquette at the time and she was not destined to be Queen until 10); no one would dare to drill it into the next generations (esp. if they had no interest in learning)
You acquire a different and deeper understanding of foreign cultures by learning a language. Without a more than basic understanding and knowledge about the culture, history, geography and mentality of the country whose language you are learning, you simply cannot become proficient in that language.
And William is destined to be the head of not only Britain but a multicultural and multinational Commonwealth, so IMO it is valid point to wish that William, and other members of the BRF, learn at least one more language as it will be a help in having a different perspective of other cultures.
It will also help him better to understand some of the challenges immigrants in Britain (and there are quite a few!) face in regards to getting to know another language, culture and mindset.
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  #930  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
The Belgians always had a native French-speaking King with audible non-fluency in Dutch, while the majority of Belgium is Dutch-speaking and the economic heart of the country is in the Dutch-speaking Northern provinces.

Only now the children of the present King (did) attend Dutch-speaking primary and secondary schools. Princess Elisabeth will be the first Queen to master Dutch as native tongue.

This shows that language is not a make or break for Kings. William and Louis will be King anyway, even without any single word of Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic and Irish-Gaelic or French.
It's not a make or break in the sense that the monarchy still exists but I do think it is one of the factors that makes that the Belgian royal family is more popular in Wallonia than in Flanders.

So, with regards to Quebec. It would surely be beneficial for the popularity of the monarchy if the king speaks their language.

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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
You acquire a different and deeper understanding of foreign cultures by learning a language. Without a more than basic understanding and knowledge about the culture, history, geography and mentality of the country whose language you are learning, you simply cannot become proficient in that language.
And William is destined to be the head of not only Britain but a multicultural and multinational Commonwealth, so IMO it is valid point to wish that William, and other members of the BRF, learn at least one more language as it will be a help in having a different perspective of other cultures.
It will also help him better to understand some of the challenges immigrants in Britain (and there are quite a few!) face in regards to getting to know another language, culture and mindset.
I fully agree that learning a language not only facilitates communication (most people will be better able to explain themselves in their native tongue even when they speak English fairly well) but also provides insight in another culture and even way of thinking.

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Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
I do not understand why we are discussing the language he can speak. The job requires him to be able to read, write and speak only ONE language-English. And by all accounts he is somewhat proficient in it

It is hard to learn a different language-it takes a certain mental agility to pick up a foreign language or you can have it drilled it in you. No one mistakes the Windsors being gifted. The Queen knows french because her governess probably drilled it into her (mainly because of the court etiquette at the time and she was not destined to be Queen until 10); no one would dare to drill it into the next generations (esp. if they had no interest in learning)
It truly is not that hard. A large part of the world population speaks multiple languages and many grow up bilingual. It really is about opportunity and willingness to do so.
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  #931  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
It truly is not that hard. A large part of the world population speaks multiple languages and many grow up bilingual. It really is about opportunity and willingness to do so.
You hit the nail on the head with the willingness bit. That is the biggest block for the Windsors--there is just no incentive to create willingness.

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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
You acquire a different and deeper understanding of foreign cultures by learning a language. Without a more than basic understanding and knowledge about the culture, history, geography and mentality of the country whose language you are learning, you simply cannot become proficient in that language.
And William is destined to be the head of not only Britain but a multicultural and multinational Commonwealth, so IMO it is valid point to wish that William, and other members of the BRF, learn at least one more language as it will be a help in having a different perspective of other cultures.
It will also help him better to understand some of the challenges immigrants in Britain (and there are quite a few!) face in regards to getting to know another language, culture and mindset.
You make excellent points. However, William (and the rest of the Windsors) are only interested in a limited number of things. Would you care about improving your performance for a job that was guaranteed for life?
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  #932  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
You make excellent points. However, William (and the rest of the Windsors) are only interested in a limited number of things. Would you care about improving your performance for a job that was guaranteed for life?
Yes.
You can always become better at your job.
And anything that is of help to me, is of interest.
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  #933  
Old 05-01-2020, 01:54 PM
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It's not a make or break in the sense that the monarchy still exists but I do think it is one of the factors that makes that the Belgian royal family is more popular in Wallonia than in Flanders.

So, with regards to Quebec. It would surely be beneficial for the popularity of the monarchy if the king speaks their language.
The only time the Belgians were ever asked, in 1950, it were the Dutch-speaking Belgians whom saved the throne for the French-speaking royal family! The highest scores were in the provinces Limburg and Antwerpen (over 80 % support!) did counterbalance the lowest scores in the more populous provinces Liège and Hainaut.

Even the capital of Brussels (then grosso modo a bilingual city with a small French-speaking majority) voted against (52 % against, 48 % for) which was - then- along the language lines.

Was it for the French-speaking Belgians: their French-speaking royal family were now citizens in the Belgian Republic!

It would be nice when le Roi du Canada spoke French, but the Québecois will nit be more or less Royalist because le Roi Guillaume suddenly speaks a few words French.
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  #934  
Old 05-01-2020, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
You acquire a different and deeper understanding of foreign cultures by learning a language. Without a more than basic understanding and knowledge about the culture, history, geography and mentality of the country whose language you are learning, you simply cannot become proficient in that language.
And William is destined to be the head of not only Britain but a multicultural and multinational Commonwealth, so IMO it is valid point to wish that William, and other members of the BRF, learn at least one more language as it will be a help in having a different perspective of other cultures.
It will also help him better to understand some of the challenges immigrants in Britain (and there are quite a few!) face in regards to getting to know another language, culture and mindset.
All very valid points, Muhler.

A few thoughts:

> The British monarch is Head of State of a diverse 16 countries, with very different languages and cultures. I would struggle to think of a single predomnant language within those, that may be used in a few countries and be key for a monarch to learn with a view to improving his understanding of that culture.

> As regards French, German, Spanish or other European languages, they were certainly widely studied amongst the upper classes in the Queen and Charles' generation. The world is a very different place now, and language appears to be less of a hinderance today than it did previously. For example, successive German Chancellors and French Presidents have had a limited grasp of English but that does not appear to have impacted their ability to conduct their duties well.

> A British Head of State is likely to spend as much time with the Chinese leader, the PMs of Japan, India and the Presidents of Mexico and Brazil as with the President of Frace or Greece. In such a globalise world, what are the appropriate langauges for a British monarch: Cantonese, Hindi, Swahili or Spanish?
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  #935  
Old 05-01-2020, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
> A British Head of State is likely to spend as much time with the Chinese leader, the PMs of Japan, India and the Presidents of Mexico and Brazil as with the President of Frace or Greece. In such a globalise world, what are the appropriate langauges for a British monarch: Cantonese, Hindi, Swahili or Spanish?
I don't think it is only about talking to foreign leaders but also about understanding your own country men. As it has been said before, in Quebec the first and foremost language is French. In addition, French is spoken in large parts of Africa and two of Britain's neighboring countries speak it (the neighboring country that doesn't either speak English or French is the Netherlands, but he'll be fine without Dutch), so it would be a very appropriate second language to start with.

In addition, Spanish and Chinese as the two other word languages would make sense. And in comparison, the Spanish and Dutch future queen took (or still take) Chinese classes, speak Spanish (and English). If teenage girls in a comparable position can manage, I don't see why William couldn't.

It is not to say that he is 'unsuitable' without speaking other languages but he would be more suitable if he did. In effect, I would recommend all future monarchs to put effort in language learning. And it seems all but the British do... So, that comes of as lazy: expecting that everyone will speak their language and not being willing to do their part (which they have in common with some other native speakers of English; but as royals I'd like them to lead by example).
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  #936  
Old 05-01-2020, 03:40 PM
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An interesting angle.

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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
All very valid points, Muhler.

A few thoughts:

> The British monarch is Head of State of a diverse 16 countries, with very different languages and cultures. I would struggle to think of a single predomnant language within those, that may be used in a few countries and be key for a monarch to learn with a view to improving his understanding of that culture.
Apart from English, there really isn't a second Commonwealth language, that I can think of.
The only one that springs to mind is French, or perhaps rather the French-Canadian dialect but that's more for political reasons.

IMO it really doesn't matter what language William, Kate etc. would or should learn, as long as they learn one, and preferably not the same language.
The experience in learning another language and by extension learning about another culture, history and so on will in itself be beneficial.
To me it's not a demand, merely a good advise, they are after not my royals.
However, I would certainly expect my own royals to be fluent in at least one more language, preferably several. English really doesn't count. At the level the DRF members are educated and work in, fluency in English is a basic requirement.
My perspective is of course different, coming from a small country with a language that is a best spoken and understood by max ten million.

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Originally Posted by muriel View Post
> As regards French, German, Spanish or other European languages, they were certainly widely studied amongst the upper classes in the Queen and Charles' generation. The world is a very different place now, and language appears to be less of a hinderance today than it did previously. For example, successive German Chancellors and French Presidents have had a limited grasp of English but that does not appear to have impacted their ability to conduct their duties well.
Mmh-yeah. Not least because upper-class members of that generation went on formative travels as a natural part of their education and upbringing, so they had to be proficient in up to several languages as a matter of necessity.
Such formative travels went pretty much out of fashion after WWII though.

Today we have Google translate (which is good now, but still doesn't get the nuances. When translating from Japanese for example, I don't translate to Danish, but to English to get more nuances, so there are limitations.
Nuances you learn by studying a foreign language and culture.

As for French presidents, it's my impression they tend to be very well educated, elitist actually. Certainly better educated than most heads of states worldwide IMO.
However, I'm not sure it is considered that important to their voters that they are fluent in other languages but French...
As for German chancellors, they also tend to be very well educated, albeit perhaps in a more "technical" way than say the French presidents. The Germans have a disadvantage that a number of smaller nation haven't: They dub the foreign TV programs, interviews and movies they show. Whereas smaller nations tend to use subtitles and as such most Germans are not that exposed to foreign languages via the best teacher there is: The holy TV-set.
That at least applies to Germans of my generation. Younger Germans need to at least be able to read and write in English in order to join and be a part of say a forum like this.
The current German top-politicians belongs to my generation and are as a consequence perhaps less proficient in English as younger upcoming German politicians.
But both the French and German heads of states have one advantage the BRF doesn't have: Years of on the job-training and only the sharpest knives in the drawer makes it to the top. On the job training in diplomacy, understanding of other cultures, extensive knowledge of political science and so on, usually based on an academic education.
Their competence is IMO beyond dispute, their politics is however debatable, but that's off topic here.

The BRF members don't seem to get such an all round solid academic education. It's my impression it's more on the job training.
William studied geography, I understand, with some additional courses. But AFAIK he didn't study political science, economy, history, communication, sociology-economics and so on. Something that has become part of the basic education for Continental heirs.

A Continental heir, say Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, is expected to master several languages, to get an extensive varied academic education that will form the basis for her job as head of state, as well as a doing a stint in the military. She is also expected to travel and study abroad for longer periods as part of her formative education. As well as taking part in a continuing on the job training.
She is already ticking off several of these points.
I'd say she is pretty typical of the current heirs and the younger monarchs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muriel View Post
> A British Head of State is likely to spend as much time with the Chinese leader, the PMs of Japan, India and the Presidents of Mexico and Brazil as with the President of Frace or Greece. In such a globalise world, what are the appropriate langauges for a British monarch: Cantonese, Hindi, Swahili or Spanish?
Any language I'd say.
It's what he learns by learning another language that matters IMO. And once he has learned to master one language, it will be easier for him to grasp the basics of other languages.
Mandarin or Hindi would certainly be good choices and valuable in his future roles.
Having said all that, there are some people who simply don't have an ear for languages. They are few however.
I will claim that most people can become proficient in another language if they really want to - and keep it up. Even if they are not that interested.
Disinterest in learning foreign languages is luxury other heirs can't afford.
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  #937  
Old 05-01-2020, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
The BRF members don't seem to get such an all round solid academic education. It's my impression it's more on the job training.
Well The queen herself said in a documentary (I can't remember which one, possible Elizabeth R 1992) that "it's all to do with the training, you can do lot if you're properly trained".
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  #938  
Old 05-01-2020, 04:37 PM
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Well The queen herself said in a documentary (I can't remember which one, possible Elizabeth R 1992) that "it's all to do with the training, you can do lot if you're properly trained".
Absolutely, experience and training matters.

But it doesn't hurt if it's based on a good all-round education.
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  #939  
Old 05-01-2020, 04:46 PM
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Absolutely, experience and training matters.

But it doesn't hurt if it's based on a good all-round education.
Oh yes absolutely. Learning languages is good brain training if nothing else.
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  #940  
Old 05-01-2020, 05:19 PM
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Disinterest in learning foreign languages is luxury other heirs can't afford.
This is the crux of the issue. If an area of the UK had a population whose day to day language was French, William would be bilingual. The Commonwealth is different - I don’t think anyone in Quebec, for example, cares too much that William’s French is poor, (or mediocre, if you want to be generous). In my experience the Québécois appreciate someone making an effort to initiate a conversation in French. Similarly, some people may appreciate William making a speech in French, but no level of fluency is going to make the British monarchy popular in Quebec.

The European royals are at least bilingual because it’s essential for them to speak English. Any additional languages for the royals I can think of come from having a parent whose native language is different - Maxima and Spanish, Henrik and French, etc - or from the political necessity of being able to at least sound good making a speech in their country’s additional languages or dialects.

It all evens out in the end.. William missed out on the benefits that come from learning a new language, but he gained hugely important skills by having had an actual career, one which he needed to earn, which involved both academic and technical training, and in which he was responsible for people’s lives. I can’t think of any other future monarch who has had or will likely have that kind of experience.
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