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In the early 1990s, a teenage yours truly was advised by his father to study German at school.

Weir Sr’s rationale for advising study of German over the alternative, French, seemed sound.

With the Berlin Wall having recently fallen, and the 1992 Maastricht Treaty propelling ever more European integration, the language of the mightiest economy in the region – Germany – was bound to become the continent’s lingua franca.

Fast forward to the 21st century and despite many attempts to practise my German ...

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