It’s all Greek to Me: Alternative Language Offerings at School

 By Harry Wendelken
The Periscope (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)
As the years go on, and globalism becomes more and more pervasive in our society, the need to learn a foreign language becomes a vital part of a student’s educational career.

To compete in a higher-level-careers, having knowledge of some language outside of your mother tongue becomes extremely attractive. Thus, it is no surprise that schools maintain the time-honored tradition of maintaining world languages. However, does it go far enough?

It’s all Greek to Me: Alternative Language Offerings at CHS (Editorial)

While CHS and other schools do offer language options in Spanish, French, German and Chinese (when possible), isn’t it time to open up the possibilities even further? Photo Credit: Harry Wendelken

Like most high schools across America, Carlisle High School offers “The Big Three” of International Language offerings that have dominated since the first half of the 20th century: Spanish, German, and French. Each has their own merits; Spanish is a growing language, French is growing quickly in Saharan Africa, and German is a major business language. The school also offers Chinese , which is offered “periodically as it is made available through Dickinson College,” according to Senorita Bosnyak, Spanish Teacher and head of the Language Department.

Is effectively 3.5 languages really enough in the modern world? Sure, languages like German are useful in business dealings, but so is Japanese. French may be a growing language, but it’s mostly in countries and with groups that rarely interact with the United States.

One is hard-pressed to find a disadvantage to Spanish, but it’s not as if it’s the only Latin American language that could be offered: What about Portuguese? Not only is Brazil, which speaks the language, extremely populous and quickly growing, it is also set to be one of the world’s future economic superpowers (assuming current unrest doesn’t tear it to shreds).

The same goes for a language like Hindi, which could prove as useful as Japanese as India continues its Luciferian ascent out of the pit of poverty- and once it finally makes it out, it will be a force to be reckoned with. There’s also Arabic, with 300 million speakers, extreme foreign policy importance, and the beautiful world of Arabic and Persian poetry it can open up that simply cannot be rendered in English.

Another, considerably more unconventional, notion for a language has also been proposed and actually implemented at other schools across the country: computer coding.

Of all language offerings, coding would be the most objectively useful. After all, as we entire into an increasingly digitized modern age, knowledge of computers and all of the vagueties of their workings becomes ever more important- not just in the professional world, but also in your own private life. Knowledge of, say, how to code your own website, use HTML to design your Tumblr page, or debug a program are becoming skills used on daily basis for some people.

Computer language is in many ways very similar to an actual language, but with the added benefit that it is simpler to grasp. By their very natures, rules are absolute, and no tricky exceptions are present as are in human languages. This gives an advantage to more mathematically minded people who may struggle with all of deep and at times silly rules that any other language course would offer.

And besides, there’s already an infrastructure in place to teach this sort of thing- we already have whole classes and teachers devoted to computers, most saliently Javascript. It’s really only a matter of reclassifying that course as a language, so students get a credit in a far more useful field.

Photo Credit: jurek d.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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