BERLIN (AP) — High school students in Germany have gathered tens of thousands of signatures in an online petition to complain about an “unfair” final English exam, saying the test was much harder than in previous years.Meanwhile, students in the United States -- a country where English is often spoken -- have no such complaints and, to the best of my knowledge have little or no capacity in any language ... even English. Why English should have become the lingua franca of the world beats the hell out of me. It's irregular, often unpronounceable, spelled weirdly ... the list goes on and on. Americans rarely know another language: As Tocqueville noted, America is buttressed (or hemmed in, if you prefer) by two oceans across which language does not flow freely. In Europe or Japan, kids know another language by proximity or because more is expected of them. America requires no such partnership and it is a great pity ... another bit of ignorance.
By Sunday, the students from the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg had gathered almost 36,000 signatures — even though only 33,500 people took last month’s statewide exam.
They complained that text excerpts from American author Henry Roth’s 1934 novel “Call it Sleep” were too difficult and obscure to analyze and asked for the grading to be more lenient this year.
It strains credulity to imagine American kids banding together to complain about any foreign-language test they might be compelled to take as a ticket to a college that is positively salivating over the potential tuition income.
A clip from the romcom movie, "Love Actually" has always warmed my cockles (you have to dismiss the ad in order to see the subtitles):