Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 9 January 2004

A "regional accent" unsuitable for foreigners learning English in the UK

According to the Home Office, that is!

Much embarrassment was caused to Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell yesterday when Scottish National Party leader John Swinney read out a letter a young Russian lady had received from the Home Office, informing her of its refusal to grant her a visa to learn English in Scotland, because:

"You cannot satisfactorily explain why you have chosen to attend an English course in Scotland rather than your other options of Oxford or Cambridge, where you should face less difficulty understanding a regional accent."

Scottish political commentator, Alan Cochrane, gave us his reaction:

"Their message was that anyone who wished an entry permit to Britain and who said that their reason was to learn English in the Scottish capital had to be 'at it', because of the well-known fact that, at least according to the those who order our affairs in the Home and Foreign offices, none of those 'Sweaties'* knew how to speak English."
(* - which he helpfully explains means "Sweaties: Sweaty socks, jocks. Geddit?")

I am not in favour of the Scottish National Party and its policies, but it is ignorant thinking like this, in our own Government of all places(!), that will strengthen its cause. Some regional accents are more pleasant to listen to than others, I would have to agree, but all are as valid as any other - it is time that certain officials in the Home Office were reminded of this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to my comment area. Whilst all comment is welcome you are requested to respect the views of others. To read full terms for use of this facility, please visit my 'Terms of Use' section, linked to under the 'About this Blog' heading at top right of the blog. Note added 12JUL2010 - All comments will now be pre-moderated before they appear in this blog; this is a measure to prevent 'spam' commenting, which has become frequent of late. Thank you.