Thursday, January 17, 2008

A foreign concept?

From Merriam Webster online...


1: situated outside a place or country; especially : situated outside one's own country
2: born in, belonging to, or characteristic of some place or country other than the one under consideration
3: of, relating to, or proceeding from some other person or material thing than the one under consideration
4: alien in character : not connected or pertinent
5: related to or dealing with other nations
6 a: occurring in an abnormal situation in the living body and often introduced from outside b: not recognized by the immune system as part of the self
7: not being within the jurisdiction of a political unit (as a state)

Teenage Son, a high school sophomore, is taking Spanish II this year. While talking about an oral quiz that he had the other day, he mentioned that they are no longer allowed to call Spanish a 'foreign language'. Instead, it is now termed a 'modern language'. As is French, German, and Japanese- all language classes offered at his school.

Now don't get me wrong- one of the things I truly appreciate about the Silicon Valley is the diversity. My kids have friends who speak Hebrew, Farsi, Danish, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and even Hindi. J and I have many friends who have either moved here from overseas permanently or are here on a work visa. I love the fact that I don't just have a choice of a couple ethnic restaurants, but multiple establishments in any given genre.

But changing the terminology from 'foreign' to 'modern' just seems like political correctness gone amok. I realize that America does not have an official language- but let's face it, the vast majority speak English.

According to the definition of the word 'foreign' above- in other countries they speak languages that are foreign to us. When we study those languages we are in fact studying a foreign language.

So tell me... Is it just me? What do you think?


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