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Education: The Imperative Need For Earlier Foreign Language Study

2422 words - 10 pages

No one wishes to feel inadequate. Whilst this statement may be a generality, there are very few people in this world who do not desire to reach their full potential. Humankind is always progressing, always attempting to better itself. Dismissing and breaking limits is what people do best. Why then do Arizonans willingly submit themselves as well as their children to self-imposed limitations? The bourne Arizonans have created is not in what they think, but in how they think. They have made is so that language, the very essence of thought and speech, has limited the primary education system. And as technology advances and continues to unite the globe, the Arizona education system needs to incorporate foreign language into primary education in order to introduce, familiarize, and prepare students to communicate with non-English speakers in a polylingual world. If they don’t, the system will constrict the futures of many through the erasure of teaching additional languages.

In the very rarely admitted truth that most Americans do not wish to hear, English is not the most commonly spoken language. Therefore, Arizona needs to quit acting like it is the only spoken language. By total number of speakers, English is the fourth most commonly spoken language with 510 million speakers. It is preceded by Mandarin Chinese (1.051 billion), Hindi (490 million), and Spanish 420 milliion) ("World Language Statistics and Facts.") English is only one of six official languages used at the United Nations (U.N.). The U.N. requires that any document must be written in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, or Spanish, and then translated into the other five languages. Put in this light, it is obvious that English is not the de facto global language. On a smaller scale, Arizona has a significant Spanish speaking population.

Limiting our education system to English may serve as a vehicle for discrimination on the basis of religion, gender, and national origin. Many view mandatory second language study as a threat to the purity of their own tongue. In Arizona, speaking another language can be seen as suspicious, if not “un-American”. But by refusing to even let primary education instructors provide curriculum for English-speaking students to study foreign languages, the primary education system sends off a message that English is the superior, if-not only language. The truth is, non-English social interactions are impossible to avoid in a state where the percentage of non-English speakers is nearly thirty-percent. (U.S. Census Bureau). From this statistic, one can conclude that Arizona shares a whole lot more than just a border with the Spanish-speaking country Mexico.

Even though they are separate entities with differential government practices, Arizona and Mexico share a lot of their culture, citizens, and etymology. From Mexico into Arizona, there is a lot of cross-cultural transference, like elementary schools celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Even just...

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