Cactus Kate blogs about International Languages Week

Cactus Kate, a well known (and some say controversial) blogger, posted a blog entry today entitled How About Some of that $400 million For This?

Hot on the news that Maori language is deemed PC enough to support to the tune of $400 million, I was alerted to International Languages

Week from Sunday 16th August to Saturday 22nd August. Here is the blurb from organisers who contacted me.

Yes, that would be me.

International Languages Week 2009 will take place from Sunday 16 August to Saturday 22 August 2009. The week is an opportunity for all New Zealanders to celebrate cultural and language diversity and to encourage the learning of international languages in New Zealand. Language teachers from around the country will be organising school-based activities and celebrations from the Far North to the Deep South.

This is a great initiative that Euroasia is very supportive of (for obvious reasons).  The problem is teachers around the country are working hard at this but get no recognition because the international languages sector do not have government-funded multi-million dollar budgets to publicise the benefits of learning foreign languages.

Learning Maori does not make New Zealand internationally competitive. Unless you plan on being a Maori trougher, it does generic viagra us not make you any more money.

Learning international languages allows New Zealanders to travel and make pot loads of money.

So I am all for it and perhaps now is the time to re-distribute the $400 mill wasted on Maori into activities such as this one.

Cactus Kate has a very strong position on learning international languages vs Maori. There is clearly a problem when the Chairman of the Maori Language Commission says the $400m spent annually on Maori language is inefficient. Personally I would be happy to see Maori language promoted together with – not at the expense of- international languages. At a time when New Zealand is becoming more culturally diverse and needing to engage more with the world, we are seeing fewer high schools compared to 5 years ago offering the key languages spoken by our major trading partners and local communities. This is a sad indictment of the situation we’re in.

As a start, wouldn’t it be awesome if all New Zealanders decided to use a greeting in a different language each day over the course of next week:

Monday 17 August – Ni hao!
Tuesday 18 August – Bonjour!
Wednesday 19 August – Guten Tag!
Thursday 20 August – Konnichiwa!
Friday 21 August – Buenos días!

More info:

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About The Author

Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.

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