OJH Needs More Foreign Language Classes

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The broad choices of electives for 8th grade are meant to give students the opportunity to pursue their interests, but one area of study that does not offer enough variety are the foreign language classes.

I believe there should be more foreign language classes provided for 8th grade students. There are plenty of languages that are spoken worldwide than Spanish and French. These two languages are far too similar, and they are the only two current foreign language classes offered at OJH.

While French and Spanish are regarded as some of the top spoken languages, there are many other languages, too. According to the 2018 World Atlas, Chinese, such as Cantonese, Mandarin, and other minor languages, had 849,299 more speakers in the US than French. Around the world, Mandarin Chinese has 1.1 billion speakers, while Arabic sits at 422 million, and Russian falls behind at 267 million people who speak the language fluently.

Even though Spanish and French are different languages, they are quite alike. Both languages originate from a form of Latin spoken by lower social classes in the Roman Empire. The alphabets of Spanish and French also share the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, leading to similar basic writing systems. On the other hand, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese incorporate completely different alphabets and each language originates from a different part of the world. Shouldn’t we have a more diverse offering of foreign language?
Of the 350 different languages spoken around the U.S, French and Spanish are OJH’s only foreign language courses. This limits a student’s grasp on other countries, cultures, and believes. Cultural awareness is vital due to the high levels of immigration, business relations and negotiations with other countries. Not to mention, just the average respect to a fellow human being, even if they’re from a different country.

However, adding in challenging foreign languages could lead to complications. One of the most prominent troubles would be the difficulty of learning an entirely new language. On many accounts, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic have been declared as some of the most difficult languages to be taught to native English speakers. According to the National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report 2.5% of schools around the U.S have Chinese as an optional course. Thus, if these foreign languages were added to OJH’s schedule, I would suggest that the school thoroughly inform the students of the high difficulty of learning these languages. These courses should be taken by enthusiasts who have proven they are willing to work hard in their studies.

In a world of heavy immigration and cultural differences, the importance of understanding and learning foreign languages is crucial. Eighth grade students would gain benefits from additional foreign language classes. Foreign languages can be just as important as our native language, and can inspire the brain, especially during the adolescent years of a teenager.