World Language Options
The IB/MYP program requires all students study a world language. In the State of Washington 2.0 credits of World Language are also required for graduation. At Mt. Rainier High School we offer students a choice of three languages to study:
Why Study Arabic?
لماذا دراسة اللغة العربية؟
Arabic is the 5th most commonly spoken native language in the world.
Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 300 million native speakers of the language. These speakers are largely concentrated in the Middle East, but there are minority groups of native speakers throughout the world. It is also an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.
There is a high demand and low supply of Arabic-speakers in the Western world.
Relatively few Westerners ever venture to learn Arabic. With the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is thus an extreme shortage of workers in the West who are versed in Arabic language and culture. Those who study Arabic can find careers in a variety of fields: journalism, business and industry, education, finance and banking, translation and interpretation, consulting, foreign service and intelligence, and many others.
There are financial incentives for learning Arabic.
The US government has designated Arabic as a language of strategic importance. The National Strategic Language Initiative instituted in 2006 promotes the learning of Arabic (and other languages deemed critical) among Americans through numerous scholarships and supported learning opportunities. These include support for language courses from beginning to advanced levels, study abroad programs, intensive instruction opportunities, teacher exchanges, and professional development.
Arabic-speaking nations are a fast growing market for trade.
Initiatives to integrate the Arab world into the global economy are opening up numerous potential nw business opportunities. The Arab region with its rapidly growing population provides a huge export market for goods and services. With a GDP of over 600 billion dollars annually, the region also has much to offer the world market. In order to do business effectively, one must understand the language and culture of the people with whom one hopes to negotiate and conduct trade.
Arabic-speaking peoples have made significant contributions to world civilization.
While Europe was experiencing the relative intellectual stagnation of the Middle Ages, the Arab-Islamic civilization was at its zenith. Arabs contributed a great deal to the advancement of science, medicine, and philosophy. Much learning from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine cultures was preserved for the world through the Arab libraries. Arabs have also made significant contributions in such areas as literature, mathematics, navigation, astrology, and architecture. A knowledge of Arabic enables the exploration of this vast body of knowledge in their original language.
The Arab-speaking world has a rich cultural heritage.
The Arab world has its own unique art, music, literature, cuisine, and way of life. Westerners know about belly dance, perhaps have read 1001 Nights, and may have tried some some popular Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus or falafel, but Western exposure to the Arab way of life is generally limited. In exploring the Arabic world, you will learn to appreciate its distinct cultural products and practices and you will come to understand some of the values important to the Arabic people, such as honor, dignity, and hospitality.
Arabic influence is evident in many other languages.
The export of concepts, products, and cultural practices from Arabic-speaking peoples is evident in the vocabulary that Arabic has lent other languages. Algebra was invented by Arab mathematicians in medieval times. Such staple products as coffee and cotton came from the Arab world, as well as jasmine, lemon, and lime. Other Arabic loanwords appearing in English denote such diverse things as henna, macrame, lute, mattress, gerbil, sorbet, safari and muslin. The influence of Arabic culture is apparent not only in the English language. Numerous Arabic contributions are also discernible in Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, and other languages.
Why Study French?
Pourquoi étudier le français?
A world language
More than 200 million people speak French on the five continents. The Francophonie,
the international organization of French-speaking countries, comprises 68 states and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for more than 750,000 learners.
A language for the job market
An ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and North and sub-Saharan Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and number-three destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
The language of culture
French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature, as well as films and songs, in the original French. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
A language for travel
France is the world’s number-one tourist destination and attracts more than 70 million visitors
a year. A little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
The other language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
A language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all the continents and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
A language that is fun to learn
French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where
you can communicate in French.
A language for learning other languages
French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
The language of love and reason
First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.
Why Study Spanish?
¿Por qué estudiar español?
- There are 328,518,810 Spanish speakers worldwide, putting it second only to Chinese for total number of native speakers.
- In the US, it is used by some 35 million people or around 10% of the US population. This makes the US home to the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world.
- Spanish is the fourth most widely geographically used language in the world, spanning 44 countries.
- It is the official language of 21 countries.
- It serves as the most commonly taught foreign language in the United States.
- 8% of high school students and 52.2% of post-secondary students with world language programs choose to study Spanish.
- It serves as an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, World Trade Organization, and North American Free Trade Agreement.
- It is the third most commonly used language on the Internet (after English and Chinese).
- Hispanic citizens make up 15.4% of the US population and the second largest ethnic group.
- There are more than 5,000 elected US officials who are of Latino/Hispanic origin.
- Spanish has been spoken in the US for centuries, and it is used in many different ways today.
- It began being used in what is now the US in 1513 (almost five centuries ago) by Ponce de León. Spanish was the language spoken by the first permanent European settlers and explorers.
- Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer, traveled from Florida to the Gulf of California 267 years before the Lewis and Clark expedition.
- Spanish is a part of our popular culture, with shows like "Dora the Explorer," "The George Lopez Show," and "Ugly Betty," as well as the language of major networks such as Univisión and Telemundo.
- Spanish influence is evident in place names: states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Florida, California, and Arizona all come from Spanish words; cities and regions such as Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Alcatraz, Toledo, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas, to name a only handful, are also of Spanish origin.
Taken from the AATSP (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) website