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March 2018

Ban dubbing of foreign TV shows to improve kids' English, campaigners say

A teacher of English has started a campaign to end the dubbing of foreign language films and TV shows in France – in order to improve young people’s foreign language skills.

French school teacher Delphine Tabaries-Poncet, who teaches at a lycee in Beziers in the south of France, says the films and shows should be broadcast in their original version, but with French subtitles.

A petition she has launched on Change.org, addressed to French president Emmanuel Macron, has gathered more than 4,000 signatures.

Most shows in English and other languages are dubbed into French, and the option of the original version with subtitles is not always available.

In the text of the petition, she says:

‘We say that the French have a problem with foreign languages, but that’s because we don’t have the chance to hear them regularly enough.’

She adds: ‘There are many countries where films are not translated and broadcast in their original version with subtitles and their language level is much higher than ours.

 ‘When is our turn?’

Ms Tabaries-Poncet said she was spurred on to start the petition when a Romanian boy came into her school, and his English was far more fluent than that of the French pupils, because he had learnt a lot from English films and TV series broadcast in their original version.

One signatory of the petition, Isabelle Noleau Beurtey summed up the issue:

‘Dubbing cuts us off from other cultures, contributes to the closing off of the mind, stops the natural learning of foreign languages in children. What interest in it is there except artificially supporting an outdated business? French actors have got better things to do than lending their voices.’

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