Last Wednesday the Modern Languages department took a group of senior pupils to the Multi-lingual debate at Heriot-Watt University. After the long journey down, we were treated to very generous and tasty ‘pot noodles’ provided by the Confucius Institute.
This was followed by the debate. There were two teams of three who spoke languages including German, Chinese, French, Spanish and English. We could use headphones and listen to simultaneous translations into English or if you preferred from English into another language! The motion proposed that we should replace fossil fuels by renewables entirely and in a short time period. The debate was fascinating, not only to witness the skill of the interpreters but also to share the cultural knowledge of the speakers. To the surprise of many, although a significant majority of the audience supported the motion before the debate, this was reversed after they had heard the various arguments for and against.
In the closing speeches we were reminded how useful learning a foreign language is, in particular for employment but also to understand the world around us.