Students should learn language, culture

By and


In response to Jeffrey Jenkins’ column (“Language requirement inadequate,” Oct. 1), I would like to state that I agree that in today’s world, knowing a language other than English is beneficial. I also agree with the title of his editorial; the language requirement is inadequate. Students should become more fluent in a language than what is currently required. However, there were a few errors I want to address.

It stated, “The U requires students to complete four semesters and prove proficiency at the 2020 level.” This is incorrect. Students need only prove proficiency by taking a 2020 level or higher language course. If a student has taken a foreign language in high school, he or she can often take a placement test to place into a course higher than 1010.

As for the cultural aspect, to understand a culture, you must first understand the language. As a peer adviser for the department of languages and literature, I often advise students to do a study abroad, even if it is just a short one for a few weeks. The experience will greatly enhance their language abilities as well as expose them to a different culture.

Learning a language is not easy. The language goal is not to make you fluent overnight any more than the fine arts requirement is designed to make you an artist. It is just the first step in a journey of a thousand miles.

Lanise Thompson,
Senior, Spanish and Russian