24 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 29

From Mr Crawford Macdonald Sir: The French and German ambassadors

betray their Eurocentrism when they advocate learning European languages that will, effectively, be local dialects by the end of this century. Far better that our children learn languages which will be useful, such as Mandarin Chinese, Russian or Japanese. If we must learn a European language, let it be Spanish, which at least has a fighting chance of being other than a cultural curiosity in 100 years' time.

Crawford Macdonald

East Molesey, Surrey