Five years of being taught the French language at an English Grammar school, and pretty much all I can say is, “Voici la plume de ma tante!” (Here is my aunt’s pen.) Now I rarely saw any aunts, but when I did, the opportunity never arose to use this useful phrase!
So these limited language skills didn’t help me much in Paris that summer, all those years ago. No-one seemed to understand me – or chose not to because I was English! Even the guy sweeping the street, after trying to understand my garbled French for a few minutes, replied to my final effort of, “Où est le métro?” (Where is the underground?) with directions given in perfect English!
So why are the English rubbish at languages? (or is that just me?)
I think it is because they assume that wherever you go in the world, the “natives” will speak way better English than you can ever hope to speak their language! So why bother teaching a foreign language well at school?