The Eighth Page

World Languages

Since I take Latin, my experience with world languages at Andover is limited to the time that I’ve spent in the LLC playing slime soccer and watching clips of the dance routines from West Side Story, available in the Spanish “movies” folder. Nevertheless, over my three years here, I’ve picked up a few things about the way things work in the World Language Department. To begin with, there are the Asian languages, Chinese and Japanese. I would like to start by saying that, if you already speak a language, you should not be allowed to take that language for credit, unless that language is English, in which case it’s the American Way. That was my older brother’s experience with Chinese at Andover. Apparently, many Chinese nationals cruise through Chinese 100 to an easy six on the basis that they “speak the language, but don’t know the characters.” If you speak Chinese, you should be learning a new language, rather than doing half as much work as the one unfortunate white kid in your class. It bugs me. Then there are the Germanic languages. Well, actually, the only Germanic language offered is German, but my understanding is that Russian is almost the same thing except with funny symbols. Both Russian and German are important languages to know. If you ever get sucked into a time warp and end up a soldier in the Second World War, you’ll be happy that you’ve studied them. Finally, there are Spanish and French, the romance languages. Both of these languages are useful if you get sick of Andover and decide to take a year off. After all, “School Year Abroad” is little more than an excuse to go overseas with the sole intention of hooking up with attractive European supermodels.