On the learning of languages
The "culturally crippled"

I always thought it was very reductive to learn a language solely on professional grounds. And I’m truly sad about the fact that the learning of French is being neglected to the benefit of widely spoken languages such as English, Spanish and Chinese.

Italian and French are “cousin” languages. Very few people learn Italian. It’s a pity. Like France, I tend to view Italy as a true cultural “stand-out”.

As for English, I would even venture to consider it a “sister” language (in relation to French). It may prove difficult to understand, but if you speak both languages on a regular basis you would surely get my meaning. You would understand that both cultures are complementary, that they interpenetrated / interwove through a long, common history.

Alexandria was renowned for its cosmopolitan nature. Its inhabitants used to juggle with English, French, Greek, Italian, Coptic and Arabic. The same went for Beirut, Istanbul, Beijing, etc.
Oh, I’m not nostalgic for the colonial era. I just maintain that English has greatly expanded to the detriment of other languages. It lead to the triumph of an Anglo-Saxon conception of the world which is not necessarily bad, but needs to be tempered.

Turning your back on languages such as French, Italian or German is tantamount to amputating your soul. You are, in a way, a cultural cripple.

Donald Sheridan

The pharos of Alexandria
Cultural beacon of a comopolitan city