Saturday, July 18, 2009
The easy answer to that is: one you want to learn more. But when the subject turns to a school's curriculum it then becomes a bit more complicated. That's the subject of two recent opinion pieces from the state of Georgia, here and here. The first one makes the argument that French isn't all that useful and doesn't need to be on the curriculum, and the second one counters that.
I find the first one a bit odd because those that claim French to be a useless language usually conclude that only languages with a bazillion speakers like Spanish and Chinese are useful, but this one concludes that German is the useful language whereas French is not. It also strangely goes after French instead of Latin, saying that Latin makes sense because it's part of a classical curriculum.
The second one makes the better argument IMO, pointing out the fact that French actually would matter more for a person in the US than German considering the fact that Quebec (and New Brunswick) have French as an official language, as does Canada as a whole, and Canada is the US's largest trading partner. Sure, a lot of Quebecers speak English, but then so do Germans.
Here's Georgia (red) compared with the locations of where German is spoken vs. French.
(Edit: this map is of the regions closest to Georgia where the respective languages are spoken as official languages, not all of them)