From Spiegel Online:
The French may mockingly call English-speakers "roast beefs" or "yanks," but the latest results of an international language test show that the Brits, Americans, Australians and Co. may have a little more leverage to hurl their insults back at the "frogs."
In an article entitled "French Students Still Get a Zero for English", French daily Le Monde reports that an annual Europe-wide language test revealed just how bad French youngsters are at picking up what the journal describes as "the language of Shakespeare."
In total, 109 countries sat down for the English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test, compulsory for foreign students wishing to study in an English-speaking country. France came in 69th in the ranking while Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium headed up the leaders' board.
The paper tried to recover some pride, stressing, "this does not, however, represent the entire student population. It only provides information for the 200,000 students wishing to study in an Anglo-Saxon country." Full story >>
1. Spiegel Online wrongly describes the TOEFL as a "Europe-wide language test"—it is, of course, world-wide.
2. The question (posed by Le Monde) is: "Why are the French so bad at English?". Is there something in the Gallic DNA (it wonders) that explains their inability to master "the language of Shakespeare"? Or is it something to do with the school system? Answers on a postcard, please.
• L’enseignement de l’anglais et l’inégalité en France (article by Laurel Zuckerman on LesEchos.fr)