It’s A Small World After All

Learning a new language creates bridges in communication around the world.


Joclynn Cochran, Staff Writer

As technology increases, the world becomes smaller–and the need to communicate in another language becomes more essential.

Fortunately, Elkhart High School offers a wide variety of languages for students to select. Some students want to take on new challenges and others just simply need that credit. Regardless, languages in high school open opportunities and pathways for future careers after graduating. 

Ms. Pamela Duff, a Spanish teacher, knew she was the right person for the job of teaching EHS students this after moving from Uruguay to the United States. Duff enjoys working with kids and teaching them about her culture. Sophomore Kendall Gibbs is currently taking her first year of Spanish. “Spanish class was hard at first, but now I really like it because I understand it more,” Gibbs confesses. As a result, Gibbs plans on taking Spanish for the next two years, as well. Spanish is becoming a necessary language to learn, considering 41.8 million people in the U.S. speak this language.

However, there is also a growing trend to learn American Sign Language. This unique language is widely known for manual communication for people who are deaf. This language is performed by hand gestures and facial expressions. According to Sophomore Korbin Hershberger, “American Sign Language isn’t as hard as it may seem.” Hershberger “enjoys” sign language and plans on taking it throughout the rest of high school, confident that it will pay off at some point in his future. Mia Stamp, a junior, also sees ASL as a valuable skill to acquire. “I love American Sign Language because its a diverse language that is used everyday.” What makes it especially appealing to Stamp is the way in which her teacher motivates each to learn. “Mrs. Lomeli is an outstanding teacher; she lifts my mood every Gold Day!”

While ASL expresses a certain type of beauty in hand movements, French is considered by many to be the most beautifully spoken language. An official language in 29 countries, French is deemed the language of love. According to Sophomore Kalynn Loucks, French is a “very  passionate language.” Loucks first wanted to take French class out of curiosity. However, it’s what goes on during class that continues to capture her attention. One of her favorite moments was  “ watching known movies, like Frozen in all French.” Loucks adds on by noting that the culture behind the language makes the class even more interesting. In French class, students have learned a bit about France’s gourmet food, wines, and even fashion. “I plan on traveling to France and hopefully moving there one day with my family!” 

Although not noted for its melodic sound, German is the third most widely taught language in the world, making it an appealing language to learn. The accent throughout Germany is most definitely the hardest part of learning the language.  Sophomore America Zacarias says, “I wanted to take German class because the language seemed interesting to me, and I wanted to learn a third language. So, I decided to take German!” But, why German? “I also chose German because some of the words sound similar to English, so I thought it would be easier.” Now in her second year of German,  Zacarias loves it even more…than cookies. Explaining, Zacarias says, “During my first year of German, my teacher brought food for us to try. It included some cookies that lots of people eat in Germany–and they were so good!” Zacarias plans on taking German throughout the rest of her high school career.

Possibly the most foreign of all foreign languages offered at EHS is Japanese. Clearly a very complex language, this may be a difficult to learn. According to Monya Gillam, “The three alphabets were a big challenge.” However, there are certain phrases that came quite easily. For instance, each Gold Day, Gillam greets her teacher by saying, “Konnichiwa,” a phrase she will never forget.  On one occasion, though, Gillam’s teacher brought in something else she will never forget: Japanese candy to sample. From this experience, Gillam learned what has become her favorite phrase: “Snakku wo kudais,” which means, “Can I have a snack?”  After finishing her second year of Japanese, Gillam has her sights set on more than just snacks. “I see myself talking in full sentences and having a conversation!” Gillam has set challenging goals for herself but encourages others to set similar goals for themselves, as well.

As more and more students embrace learning a new language, they discover the truth in what Disney has been singing about for decades: It’s a small world after all!