French is a `useless` language: British ex-minister

A former British foreign minister on Wednesday called French a "useless" language, saying that the Chinese and Arabic are more useful for young people in the 21st century.

London: A former British foreign
minister on Wednesday called French a "useless" language, saying that
the Chinese and Arabic are more useful for young people in the
21st century.

Chris Bryant, who served as minister for Europe under
former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, highlighted in the House
of Commons the waning value of the French tongue, which has
traditionally been the first foreign language taught to
British school children.
"Unless we have sufficient numbers of people who speak
modern foreign languages and not just the useless modern
foreign languages like French ...," Bryant said.

His comments evoked strong protest from the Labour
party members who said that it was "insulting" to the
country`s neighbours.

However, Bryant defended and said, "I`ve said this to
the French. I think they realise there are problems."

He further said that while French had been the "most
useful language because it was the diplomatic language" but
things had changed over the last 30 to 40 years and now "it
certainly isn`t."

He said the most significant languages to speak now,
aside from English, are Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese and
Arabic.
Before losing power, the Labour government pledged to
make languages compulsory for all seven- to 11-year-olds from
2011.

In January, Ed Balls, then Schools Secretary, said
that all secondary school children should have the chance to
study Mandarin.

Prime Minister David Cameron`s Conservatives won
general elections last month, ending the Labour Party`s
13-year-long innings.

PTI