The predictions certainly have some base, but they still need to be taken with a grain of salt. There is no question about a huge rise of the population in Africa. The question is, whether the population will still be francophone. I wouldn't underestimate the various local movements to promote the original african languages, or the influence of Arabic.
Yes, the few dozen millions in Europe may be peanuts. But they are the richest peanuts on the planet. That matters. They are the peanuts who spend a lot of money, who are active in the international business, and so on.
Sorry about the wrong term about the american geography. I though the two, south and latin america, were totally synonymous. I meant no offence.
They'll pick the language they have an easier time with, even if they don't understand why they have an easier time. It's the same reason most Germans prefer to learn Spanish or Italian. None of them could explain why they find French so difficult, but they'll still shy away from it.
The difficulty of French is a myth. People believe it, because it has been repeated to them enough times. If Spanish or Italian were so much easier, people would get to a high level more often. Do they? I can't actually remember that many foreigners speaking Spanish really well. And all the natives I've met (for example during my month long stay in the country) were finding them very rare too.
So, people take the perceived difficulty into account. Not the real one. With enough marketing, even a harder language can be perceived as easier than one with worse marketing, it is normal.
Perhaps you should consider, that if your presented personal experience is valid (as you've been using such examples repeatedly), perhaps the experience of other people is true as well.
It's not your experiences I question, it's your reasoning.
So far, my reasoning seems to be much more based on the reality of language learning than yours.
French might be taught better than English, what is not that plausible about it?
What's not plausible? That English is a second class language compared to any other when it comes to teaching. Way more money is put into English education worldwide than any other foreign language. It's not even a context. Way more research is put into ELL than any other language.
Yes, tons of money are being spent on the research. Do you think that the results of that research, whatever they are, get used equally all over the world? Nope.
Yes, lots of money is being spent even in the less rich countries. But that doesn't mean the people are getting the same quality for the same money. For example I could write a long post about why I am convinced that the less popular countries get native ESL teachers of significantly inferior quality, compared to the popular countries. Really, money is not a universal guarantee, despite being important.
The money cannot buy everything. To get a new and numerous generation of teachers in a certain country, you simply need to wait for some people to grow up and get through their studies. It may even take a few generations. Until that happens, the language with an already established base keeps the advantage.
And it is not just about that. France accepts tons of international students for exchanges. And not only from Europe. The UK is significantly less open, unless we're talking about the Commonwealth. France has a lot of bilateral exchange agreements with various countries in its traditional sphere of influence.
Curiously, a lot of africans with ambitions to study abroad might be likely to need neither French, nor English, but Mandarin. Have you heard about the tons of investments of China on the continent and the cultural and study exchange programs?
But again, this thread was primarily about French and Spanish (I recommend reading the big letters above the posts).
You seem not to know much about English teaching around the world. There are various factors affecting that. A traditionally strong language with a huge base of support and lots of teachers is not unlikely to be taught in general better than a newer language, given the various problems in ESL teaching discussed in the other threads (such as many countries getting mostly really bad native "teachers", who just have passed a short CELTA and primarily teach to escape their primary career failure and get a nice expat lifestyle, or the problems coming with the "communicative" approach ad absurdum, or lack of the English teachers being covered by other langauge teachers switching and being one lesson before the students, and so on). English is often not that well taught. The students in most countries are just more motivated. If they are motivated to learn French instead, it shows.
For all the theoretical complaints armchair language teachers might come up with ELT around the world, there are hundreds of millions of people who learned English as a foreign language and who speak it very well. If the communicative approach, which seems to draw some irrational ire on this forum, weren't effective, it wouldn't still be used. People learn English because their livelihoods depend on it, and failure to achieve a certain level means they'll look for other teaching methods, and schools will change what they offer.
Yes, the people learn because they have to. And they learn in spite of the schools, not primarily thanks to them. Years of experience are not irrational ire, and you might notice that most people criticising this teaching approach on this forum have got the experience (some of them much more than me). I don't think the English natives with zero experience with ESL teaching should dismiss the view of people who have actually got the experience learning this language.
Those tons of successful students tend to self study, pay for extra classes and for resources to make up for the "communicative" approach (why do you think the grammar books are being sold so much), and they watch tons of streamed tv series, which makes up for the impossibility of getting enough input in class. What do think was the first huge breakthrough in my English? Spending a summer with the English Grammar in Use. My criticisms of the commucative approach are very well founded, including admiting some advantages of it (when it is done well, not as alibi for bad teaching). I recommend looking at posts by Reineke, they often share links and parts of research articles. The communicative approach is being criticised by the professionals too. No approach is perfect.
To most schools, it doesn't matter whether the communicative approach is effective. People believe in it, due to the marketing, and they pay for it. When they find out it doesn't work for them, they pay for other teachers, other books, etc., until something works.
Really, do you think it is such a success that millions of people speak B1ish Broken English after ten or more years of studying and lots of invested money? I don't. It is actually a pitiful result. Given how much time and money is being sunk into the ESL industry, the average level should be at least C1.
But again, this is a thread primarily about Spanish and French.
aokoye wrote:With regards to lines of work in the US I can easily, think of a number of fields of work where spanish would be an asset (and it's not even 8am yet). Any medical field that involves communicating with patients, education (including at the administration level), culinary fields, landscaping, agriculture, various public administration jobs that are forward facing, really any customer facing job, law enforcement, journalism, and business. When push comes to shove, "learning the local language" isn't as easy I think a lot of people realize (for a whole host of reasons) and there are going to be situations where immigrants who don't speak that language are going to have to communicate with people outside of their immigrant community. It's not an simple or clear cut "well they aren't going to want to talk to you" situation.
I am curious about the future of Spanish in the US. It sounds like a lot of changes may be happening there. I have actually met a few americans on the internet recently, who were learning Spanish exactly because they were in healthcare (that is obviously the first "industry" to adapt). They quoted some of their colleagues, dismissing the importance of Spanish in the "they should just learn English" manner. But these Spanish learners understood, that the Spanish speaking community is now part of their local culture in their city too and it is also becoming an important group economically.
And the Spanish natives seem to be becoming more confident in using and expecting their language to be used.
Whether or not that will spread, I can't tell (but I'm sure I'll read a lot about it on the internet). But it is clear that French will never get such a position in the US. The natives and bilinguals (for example in Luisiana) stopped pushing their language into the society (probably for a variety of reasons, valid in the past) and learnt English.