Foreign language study is for chicks. It wasn’t always so. But in the last few decades, foreign language study (formerly known as philology) has gone from a systematic, logical, bro-friendly study to a mealy pseudo-discipline. The languages taught, the methods of teaching, and the types of competency aimed at are suited for girls. It’s feminized philology.
Part 1: Don’t study Spanish
Spanish programs dominate language study at the secondary level. Spanish-mania has destroyed language diversity in our schools. French and German have been losing ground for years, Japanese and Russian are virtually unheard-of and still fading. Only Arabic and Chinese have made some gains, but minimal ones at that. Latin soldiers on, mainly by claiming it helps with the SAT. Apparently no one can think of a better reason than SAT-prep to study one of the most important languages in the Western tradition. Greek is dead.
The vast majority of American students pick Spanish. When asked why, theyÂ will usually claim that they aren’t good at foreign languages, and Spanish is relatively easy. Spanish is certainly easy. Its higher-level vocabulary is drawn from the same sources as that of English. Its grammar is also nearly the same–theÂ only concepts with which the English-speaking student is unfamiliar are Spanish’s verbal conjugations and adjective agreement. I made this point once in a high-school class, and a Hispanic girl tried to argue with me. So I illustrated the relative similarity of Spanish and English by renderingÂ a Mongolian sentence word-for-word. “I yesterday the that-in-the-house-lives man saw.” (I’m sure she’ll get a scholarship to a mid-grade school anyway.) So yes, Spanish is easy.
The second reason for Spanish’s popularity is that it is seen as useful. A typically feminine rationale. When people call a language “useful,” they mean for getting a job. The US has no shortage of English-Spanish bilinguals.Â An Anglo is here at a disadvantage, because he will have far more ground to cover than a native Spanish-speaker.Â If you are taking classes because “it will help me get a job” you should not be going to college. Would anyone use such a ludicrous justification for taking a history or philosophy class?
“Useful” in an academic context should mean “gives one the widest access to valuable knowledge.” This is certainly not true of Spanish. Spanish has produced few canonical works of Western literature, and no serious works of philosophy. As for technical writing–history, science, mathematics, linguistics–Spanish simply cannot match the Big Three: English, French and German. That does not mean that Spanish is worthless. It is merely second-rate. As such, it is not a fitting basis for introducing American students to language-study.
The other defense of Spanish is “I wanna travel.” Typical girl drivel. Spanish is spoken in Spain and Latin America. Newsflash babe: People in Europe (that’s where Spain is) speak English–at least virtually all of the ones you’ll encounter do. And Latin America, is, well, the Third World. Unless you wanna start a career as a pay-per-war merc or join a drug-lord’s haraam, you have no business there. Cancun doesn’t count.
I don’t speak Spanish, and have only rarely needed to. I used to work in a bookstore “Tu quieres comprar un diccionario” usually worked. My only use for Spanish since then has been to troll Hispanic kids. Once I was substituting for a PE class, “stand in line and tell me your last name.” Some dumbass Jose gets to me and says “Soy Jose.” I bark back “last name!” No comprende. So I put on my most Anglo-accent possible and demand “NOMBRE DE FAMILIA!” “Lopez.” Christ, that was hard. Now point to which one of the three Lopezes you are. btw, this is in one of the best public school districts in the country.
You don’t need to learn Spanish. If you wanna talk to Spics, learn the 100 most common wordsÂ and just speak English, but add an “o” to the end of nouns and adjectives. If you wanna read a Spanish news article, run it through google translate. Seriously, it’s that similar to English a computer can translate it almost perfectly. If you wanna read literature– I guess there’s Cervantes, but at that point, you’re tipping at windmills.
Stay tuned for part 2: “Your methods suck”