It seems as if languages are not a popular choice of course at university nowadays. Once upon a time, learning a language and studying its literature was considered a solid choice of degree, but now there’s a perception that they might be a bit of a waste of time.
Professor Michael Basker, Dean of the faculty of arts at the University of Bristol, admits that the popularity of language courses has indeed decreased generally, however not so much at Bristol.
“There are still a vast number of good applicants for our language courses,” he says, “certainly no plans to wind down anything, quite the opposite, I hope!”
So, even though there have been closures of departments and cancellations of language courses across the nation, Professor Basker reveals that his department does in fact want to make languages more available to other students at the University of Bristol.
So why is it that people always give the same reaction on hearing that one will be studying a language? Why is it that society chooses not to change their views on the importance of language degrees?
Catherine Clark, deputy director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, emphasises the importance of language degrees: “Languages, to me, are about an all rounded individual who can communicate clearly and who are more globally minded than their mono-lingual counterpart. Nine times out of 10, a language graduate that I interviewed as a recruiter would be an outgoing, engaging person, by dint of needing the confidence and energy to communicate with others.” More.