HC Deb 11 March 1929 vol 226 cc789-90

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the importance to the administrative and commercial interests of the Empire of an adequate knowledge of the principal languages spoken within the territories of British possessions in Africa, he will consider increasing the facilities at present available in this country for research into and instruction in these languages?


I agree with the hon. Member's view of the importance of this matter and with my approval the regulations in the several Dependencies have recently been revised to give further encouragement to the study of local languages by Government officers. As for the facilities in this country for instruction in the more important African languages they have not so far failed to meet the increasing demand in respect of candidates selected for public service in the African Dependencies. Instruction in those languages is being provided at Oxford and Cambridge and in London.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the German interests are not so great as ours in those parts of the world and Germany gets much greater facilities, and that these people would like to extend their work but they are handicapped by lack of funds?


No, Sir, I am not aware of that fact.