Multilingualism Enriches Us

This is embarrassing to admit, but I spent last Saturday night watching the Republican Presidential Primary debate.

Romney said he’d get tough with the Chinese and tell them in no uncertain terms to quit floating their currency. Very funny stuff. A person with his supposed business acumen clueless about who has the leverage. Huntsman got so riled up he replied in Mandarin. The crowd sat in stunned silence. I’d bet my beautiful Chinese peasant painting that it hurt him with the Republican base.

I regularly skim the LA Times online. I recently noticed a feature at the bottom of the website, “Hoy,” or “Today” for the one or two of you more linguistically challenged than me. Under the “Hoy” link there are nine or ten articles in Spanish.

Here’s guessing the Republican base doesn’t like the “Spanish creep” on the LA Times website either.

Language facility is not a zero-sum game if you’re internationally-minded and multilingualism is enriching if you think cultural diversity is an asset. It’s threatening if you’re first and foremost a nationalist who worries that your nation’s superiority is waning. Especially if you think that superiority is exclusively the result of English speaking peeps.

Bonus link for the polyglots. Double bonus link for those wanting to learn German.

The Class

Finally got around to watching this French film about a culturally diverse Parisian junior high school. Here’s a solid, albeit incomplete review. I can’t think of a film that better captures the organic nature of classrooms. Sometimes we lose touch with what should be obvious, teachers are seriously outnumbered, and because of that, their power is tenuous. Teachers, let disrespectful comments slip at your own peril.

If you lack patience, and prefer mindless entertainment, skip it. It’s a walk, not a jog, run, or sprint. On the other hand, “The Class” was a nice reminder that it’s important to slow down sometimes.