The Teaching of Foreign Languages as Public Policy

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[fimg=left][/fimg] L’insegnamento delle Lingue Straniere come Politica Pubblica by François Grin, Professor of Economy at the University of Geneva, is available on
By the request of the High Council of School Evaluation of the French Repubblic, the book has been published in French. Today, ERA offers a translation in Italian so that it can reach a wider audience and spur a debate on the urgency for an equal public policy to adopt for the teaching of foreign languages in Europe.

The final goal would be to safeguard the diversity of the linguistic ecosystem and promote an example of democratic, international communication that doesn’t continue to favour the English-speaking hegemony and, as a consequence, lose great material and symbolic resources to the English-speaking countries.

Grin introduces a compared analysis in three linguistic policy alternatives in Europe – the "English only" policy, the plurilingual and the adoption of Esperanto as the international language – not a mere description of advantages and disadvantages, costs and benefits, which derive particularily from France, widening the horizons for other European countries.
After all that, this specialist of linguistic economy proves that, in the long-run, the desirable public policy of languages is to use esperanto as the official language for international communication. Among the other countless advantages, there is the possibility to "save nearly 25 billion a year for all of Europe (including Great Britain and Ireland)," because the cost of learning the language would be "incomparibly low, no matter what the language of the student may be." The plurilingual theory "does not reduce the cost of learning but the cost of inequality among the interlocutors, if not for the fact that it is politically more acceptable," and this strategy would also be Grin’s "best ally."
The plurilingual strategy is undoubtedly the most adequate when basing it on the idea that Europe should be built on linguistic and cultural diversity and equality,as "there is no other alternative that guarantees this type of equality to European citizens."
Grin’s line of thought is a breath of fresh air, not expressed by a militant, but by an alert analyst of European linguistic politics.


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