Choose a global language

Melinda Looney Ho, Staff Wrtier

SHS offers level 1 to AP classes for Chinese, Spanish, French, and Latin. Each of these languages have benefits and drawbacks.

“I wanted to learn Chinese because, even though I was adopted, I was born there and people expect me to know the language,” said freshman Jasmine Male. Even if Chinese is not part of someone’s heritage, this language has a lot of benefits.

Chinese, in particular Mandarin, is spoken by over 1.2 billion people in the world, 16% of the world’s population. China’s world influence on political and economic affairs is also rapidly increasing making this language a future powerhouse.

However, it is a tough language to learn. Chinese has over 8,000 characters. Many words have similar sounds yet mean very different things. Writing, reading, and speaking require lots of memorization skills and attention to visual and hearing details.

“One lifetime is not enough to attain the level of a native speaker, unless you start before the age of 10,” said Mark Roswell, to a famous Canadian performer in China.

The romance languages, French & Spanish, use phonetic alphabets that are easy to read and write. Also their alphabet is similar to English.

More states speak Spanish than any other global language in America. In the U.S. Spanish is the second most common language spoken at home after English in all but seven states. However, outside America only Spain speaks it.

Thirty-three countries consider French their official language; many are in Africa yet the whole world thinks of where the language originated, France. “Everyone wants to go to France once in their lifetime, so why not learn some French,” said freshman Ryan Tufts.

Learning Latin helps increase vocabulary skills as it remains the foundation for many of the European languages. It comes in handy in science careers such as medicine and botany as well as in occupations that require deeper understanding of the language. However, Latin is a dead language and fewer than 5,000 people in the world know it well enough to speak it.

No matter what language a student chooses, benefit will be gained from it.