I’m not German

I was in a lecture with K a few years ago, when he gave out a bibliography for his entire module on the Roman Republic.  It was fascinating to say the least as over half of it was in German, an interesting choice for an English University.  This list received many complaints from the students, as the majority could not read any language other than English.

To approach this issue K gave a short talk, only about 2 minutes, in which he said two things that will stick with me; Firstly he said he had to give the German works because they were the best on the subject at the moment (also stating that that means there was a gap for an English writer in the market) and would we rather he give us below par works because we could read them.

Secondly he said we were in trouble if we assumed that all the best work were in English, how much of the work out there are we missing out on because we assume superiority in our language?

The lack of languages in our education is a hotly discussed topic at the moment and not one I wish to get in to.  What I found most interesting in what K exposed was the automatic assumption we have that, to find an answer in a book or on the net, it will be in English; which in one book list K proved is not always the case.

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