Se Preparan Para Ser Escolarizados
The other day I was driving along the freeway and saw a billboard for a local grocery store. It was in Spanish, as we were driving through south Phoenix, and virtually every billboard in that neck of the woods is in a foreign tongue. Having had two years of college level Spanish, I was able to decipher its meaning. It told me to come in and save on rice. Or cheese. Or llamas. I couldn't really tell. It may not have even had told me to come in. It may have even told me to stay home until I get a swine flu vaccination. It was in Spanish, after all. And I don't speak Spanish.
That got me to thinking. "I wish I could speak and read a foreign language." I did, like I previously stated, take two years of it in college, but that was more than 15 years ago, and if you've ever taken a college level foreign language class, you know that the emphasis is on analyzing structure and trying to confuse you and not on teaching you to speak a foreign language with other humans. So, my level of fluency is thus: when I watch movies in Spanish or the telenovelas on Telemundo, I will be able to pick out bits and pieces. "He said 'blah blah your sister blah blah hamburger and pants..or was it a circus clown? And then blah blah something else and the color red. Or was it blue?"
Being the good parent that I am, I vowed that no child of mine should ever question whether a billboard tells him to come to Food City and save on rice (or llamas) or to stay home and contract swine flu. No sir. My kids are going to learn a foreign language. And, being the typical American parent, I vowed that someone else is going to have to do the dirty work.
Therefore, I propose that all children should have to learn another language while in school, starting in kindergarten and continuing all the way through high school. There are several good reasons to impose this on our children, some even more compelling than my billboard example.
First, obviously, it will make our children more well-rounded and world-aware. And having children who are knowledgeable about what the rest of the world is doing is important because...I forget the exact reason, but I am sure there's a good one.
Secondly (and more applicable to life here in the U.S. of A.) having a large pool of foreign words you can pull out and drop on people in casual conversation grants you a certain air of sophistication, arrogance, and pomposity that is out of the reach of most ordinary people. Any redneck can say speak well enough to communicate, but sprinkling in a little French or Latin elevates the speaker while at the same time crushes the spirit of the listener. Here is a good example: "I called up the junk yard and inquired vis a vis a new valve for the toilet. The guy said that he didn't have one but could give me a substitute part. I told him that putting in fake parts lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, and ruins my joie de vivre. But he didn't have the part, so it's a fait accompli, and we'll just have to use the outhouse for awhile." See? if you didn't know any better, you'd swear the guy was a Kennedy! But, he's just a redneck who can speak a little French. He's like John F. Kerry and Sarah Palin's love child.
More good reasons to follow....