SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Learning languages empowers us
By Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD


September 21, 2010

In response to the letter submitted by Donald A. Moskowitz on September 15, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the U.S. is an English speaking country.

You contradict yourself, however, when you first point out that it can be beneficial for people to be fluent in another language and then turn around and say that "we should not promote language diversity" because it will lead to the "type of divisiveness in numerous foreign countries".

What other countries are you speaking of? Are you speaking of Canada, where there has been an official policy of bilingualism since the 1970s? Are you speaking of the 40+ countries in the Council of Europe who encourage their youth and business people alike to learn other languages because they know that multilingual people have more highly developed thinking skills, problem-solving skills and leadership capacity?

Even President Obama has stated that American children need to learn other languages in schools. Recently a bill sponsored by U.S. Congressional Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) proposed legislation that would allow every young American to become proficient in a second language in addition to English within a generation.

The rest of the world acknowledges that learning languages expands our world view, our sense of compassion for our fellow humans and our capacity to problem solve better.

We should absolutely promote language diversity because it will help us remain competitive in the global market place, challenge us to think and learn in new ways and provide a cure for cultural myopia.

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD
Calgary, AB

About: "Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton holds a PhD in Education, is fluent in Spanish and has studied French, German and American Sign Language."

Received September 16, 2010 - Published September 21, 2010


Related Viewpoint:

letterLanguage Diversity = Divisiveness By Donald A. Moskowitz

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