Which is better for students in the state of Georgia to learn, German or French?

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)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sellamat Dave !

I understand the worries of those parents for the future of their children, but not some of their arguments. The strangest thing is that French-speaking Africa (including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) is never mentionned, though this may be a future market and trading partner. A close partner of Georgia tech is at... Metz (northern Lorraine). I am myself a nearly fluent speaker of German but half the German people have studied English at school and, as Germany is a leading country in technologies, they may be less interested by innovations coming from abroad.
The argument about G.Fauré makes me laugh; even in France, 99 % of people don't know about this man...

Olivier
http://sambahsa.pbworks.com/

Robert said...

I came to mention the same thing. There's hardly ever a mention of the large African part of the French-speaking world.

The first article annoys me quite a bit. Especially when he says "For virtually all other young Georgians, the study of the French language is a waste of time. ... Today, as in my day, a student's selection of French is likely more based on "entertainment" or "novelty" than any genuine intent to base a career upon it." I guess for him the only serious interest in a language can be "intending to base a career on said language. That's a bit ridiculous to me. I suppose he also thinks that studying biology, chemistry, and physics are a waste of time and of taxpayer money, as most students who take them will most definitely not end up basing a career upon those subjects.

Steve said...

I thought you were talking about the country until I saw the map..

Steve said...

I thought you were talking about the country until I saw the map..

Anonymous said...

Sellamat Dave !

I understand the worries of those parents for the future of their children, but not some of their arguments. The strangest thing is that French-speaking Africa (including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) is never mentionned, though this may be a future market and trading partner. A close partner of Georgia tech is at... Metz (northern Lorraine). I am myself a nearly fluent speaker of German but half the German people have studied English at school and, as Germany is a leading country in technologies, they may be less interested by innovations coming from abroad.
The argument about G.Fauré makes me laugh; even in France, 99 % of people don't know about this man...

Olivier
http://sambahsa.pbworks.com/

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