Comment on Asian language learning in Australia was a disgrace 40 years ago. It is now much worse.

Advocates of Asian language learning seem not to have realised what is needed for proper mastery of a non-European language – at the very least two years of concentrated learning and emotional experience.

There are no shortcuts. 

Employers cannot be expected to make use of the many half-baked language graduates from our schools and universities.

Reaching fluency requires experience on the ground with some government support.

Unlike a range of European nations, Australia shows little interest in such training. Instead our mono-lingual culture makes us think learning a language is like learning algebra. We dump responsibility on the totally ill-equipped school system.