I’m in a minority in more ways than one:
- Firstly, I’m a foreign national living in France.
- Secondly, I’m one of the 30% or so of British nationals who can speak a language other than English.
- Thirdly, I’m a man.
Let me explain this last point. I can’t help noticing that my French classes are somewhat heavily populated by the opposite sex. Rarely have I been in a situation where there were fewer than five birds* to one bloke**.
I have tried hard to find a reason for this disparity; is it…
- that men simply don’t have the cognitive capacity or desire for learning languages?
- that women have a tendency to giggle at men who can’t pronounce ‘appartement’ properly, thereby embaressing them, hurting their pride and knocking their confidence sideways?
- that most men believe you can learn a great deal more over a pint in a pub than you can in any dumb old classroom?
- that most men believe that the only useful thing you can do with a foreign language is chat up foxy foreign birds – so if you’re not single then why bother?
Come on chaps, we’re not all that shallow are we?
**familiar way of referring to male of same said species