UW-Madison News (Oct. 7, 2009) – In elementary school, most Wisconsin residents probably looked ahead to language study as an “either-or” proposition: a few years of high school French or Spanish, maybe German. Lucky ones, depending on the school, might get Chinese, Japanese, or Russian.
So much for those choices. On a recent visit to Van Hise Hall — sometimes referred to informally as a “Tower of Babel” for the many languages taught within its walls — a class of third-graders poked their heads into undergraduate classes on Arabic, Norwegian, and Yoruba. These sounds may seem unfamiliar to young ears today, but the kids know that these languages are spoken by millions of their peers on the other side of the globe.