Saturday, July 08, 2006

Parlez-vous plagiarism?

Suddenly the Daily Mail and Daily Express unite in near-identical displays of Francophilia - both offering "free" French language CDs today. "No books, no writing" promises the Mail of its Linguaphone course while the Express assures its readers of its Michel Thomas lessons ... "No books, no writing."
Alas and for once the Mail has done a deal with an inferior copycat. It was the heroic Mr Thomas who pioneered the no-books no-writing approach to language learning over the past few decades: indeed many Hollywood stars such as Woody Allen, Mel Gibson (pre his Aramaic period) and Emma Thompson credit him with their speedily acquired gift of tongues. This at a time when Linguaphone, which lost its royal warrant in the '80s, still ladened its customers with tons of books and writing exercises that probably put off generations from linguistic adventure.
Still, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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