Is there a Useless Language?

Recently, Jeremy Paxman, said something controversial. He said that French is a useless language. He went on to say that English is the only language we need.

How arrogant. There are about eighty million native speakers of French, and it’s an official language of twenty-nine countries. Certainly not useless to those people. And if you travel to those countries, French is incredibly useful. It’s useful as a second language, as well.

I enjoy studying languages. French is my main target language, other than Japanese. I live in Canada now, and French is useful if you want to have a job with the government or tourism. And if you want to visit Quebec, it’s extremely useful.

Without French, English wouldn’t be the way it is today. There are a lot of words of French origin in the English language. And to be honest, English is one of the most ridiculously illogical languages in the world. It’s the Frankenstein’s monster of languages. It’s adopted words from so many languages that the spelling and pronunciation rules often don’t even apply. That’s one of the things that makes it more difficult to learn than many other languages. At least French has rules that are followed.

But it brings me to this question: Is there a useless language? I don’t think there is a useless language. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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27 thoughts on “Is there a Useless Language?”

            1. Well, it’s kind of like when I was living in Japan. I couldn’t understand everyone. However, everyone here can speak English.

      1. I really don’t understand how anyone at this moment in the evolution of our technology can have a closed mind.

        I do understand the idea of an International Language and it might be that English becomes that language by default.

        That doesn’t negates thousands of years of art and literature produced
        by the many cultures that evolved as
        our species evolved.

        To fully understand the language you speak you must know how it was influenced by the languages you don’t speak.

        1. Hear hear to your closed mind statement but people still manage. Information literally lies at your fingertips, yet it is either not accessed, not accepted, or ignored.

          English would not exist in its current form without Latin, German, French, and a host of other tongues. I’m very much for understanding history/background in all things whatever they might be. Nothing comes out of a vacuum and the foundation is so important.

  1. No language is useless to those who speak it. Unfortunately some have become lost as not enough speakers. I learnt Latin and didn’t like the fact that it was a dead language. We used to speak it in class! More so than the French we were learning. The useless one is Paxman, sounds like he has become opinionated rather than questioning? Andalusia, Spain is introducing compulsory French for all primary children.

    1. French was compulsory for me from grade 4 to 6 in school, but I studied it until grade 11 in high school. I think any language is worth being saved from extinction. With the internet, it’s become so much easier to do that. I use Duolingo, which has stated that they’re going to start offering courses in some endangered languages, starting with a few native American languages. They also plan to have Latin.

        1. Well, Duolingo only gets you to a very basic level of conversation. It’s better for reading than anything else, really. But it’s a start, and there are so many other ways to add on to what you learn at Duolingo.

  2. So disappointing to see comments like this. There was just a terrifying article in the New Yorker about a chain of schools where young kids are on computers or i-pads all day long. The founder is interviewed about the needs of a heavily-tech education starting from nursery school, noting that foreign languages are no longer necessary “since people will speak with each other through translating programs”. Not sure whether to laugh or cry when I read such drivel.

    1. It’s ridiculous. I hear about all these people who want technology to take over and make life “easier” for us. There’d be no challenge! I actually like learning languages. I don’t care for translating programs at all. And it’s not like everyone in the world would be able to have one.

  3. French is the only other language I can claim to speak besides English so I have a personal stake in this. Plus my first name is French. It is older than English and as you said, shaped English into what it is. English would sound much more German (not that there’s anything wrong with that) without the influence of French. What an unbelievably narrow-minded and arrogant statement. I don’t believe there is a useless language, nor would I believe this even were I fascinated by different tongues.

    1. French was the official language of England for quite some time, too. Does he remember that? Well, at least it was the language of royalty and nobility.

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