“Bonjour,” “Hola,” “Guten Tag” and “Wassup.” These words were heard across campus Monday afternoon but not just to say “Hello.”
On Monday, high school students from Owensboro High School, Russellville High School, Henderson County High School and all Bowling Green high schools in the area came to compete in the languages of Spanish, French and German during the Foreign Language Festival.
Warren Central High School senior Brandy Davidson said that she wanted to compete in the chorus competition because she loves to sing and loves Spanish.
“To me, it’s one of the most beautiful languages,” Davidson said. “They seem to say everything with so much emotion.”
Instructor and foreign language director Susann Davis said that by the year 2004, high school students will be expected to have at least two years of a foreign language.
“This is to promote studying foreign language at a younger age,” she said.
Baldwin-Wallace College’s Foreign Languages Web site at http://www.bw.edu/academics/fll/language/ includes information about foreign languages at the university level.
“Many people have found that studying a language makes them better all-around students,” the site explained.
“I think it’s very important,” French and Spanish instructor Janet Chamberlin said. “It does something special for you. If you learn one language, it makes it easier to learn the next.”
Every student registered on Western’s campus is required to take at least 3 hours of a foreign language.
Associate Professor of French Karin Egloff explained that in most graduate programs, you need proficiency in the language.
“Just to know a language has never hurt,” Egloff said. “It’s a way to make you aware about other cultures around you.”
Chamberlin said foreign languages help students to study better for other things as well as help them to perform better on the ACT and SAT.
But some students go above and beyond the required hours for a foreign language.
“Ideally, I think that everybody should know a minimum of two languages, and as much as people travel nowadays and are interested in politics, it is a must to have another language,” Egloff said.
Beni Gray, a sophomore from Fresno, Cali., is fluent in Spanish and English and is in the process of learning French.
“I want to know three languages,” he said. “There’s better jobs, and it’s easier to communicate with people.”
Many students feel it is important to know a second language when they graduate.
“As much of a global community that our world has become today, I think it’s very pertinent to graduate with a foreign language,” said Aaron Marcum, a sophomore from Versailles.
Russellville freshman LaEboni Taylor agrees.
“Because, in today’s society, we have such an overwhelming number of foreigners in this country, we need to learn to communicate with them,” she said. “If we can’t understand them, how can we communicate?”
Reach Megan Engle at [email protected]