Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
Berry’s Department of Foreign Language has changed its name to World Languages and Cultures. This is an effort to better represent the diversified public of America.
Through the inclusion of the World Language and Cultures, Berry is able to acknowledge the growing communities and rich history that has always been a part of the U.S. The department strives to provide an education that is representative of the country, and is also respectful and aware of the growing diversity of cultures in the world.
By receiving guidance from Patrick Wallace, the head of the World Language division at the Georgia Department of Education, Berry’s department was able to take the steps they wanted in changing their direction. The partnership between the two allowed them to meet State of Georgia’s standards of language while also adding a flair for culture.
The Pew Research Center states that Spanish is the fastest growing language as projected for 2020 and is the second most spoken language in the United States. Given this, can Spanish still be considered a ‘foreign language’ anymore?
Agreeing with this argument, Dr. Barnes said that the past title was inappropriate and inadequate because of the large Spanish-speaking population that is in the United States.
Students of the major also find the title more suitable, since the World Languages and Cultures department already has the focus of more than just language in classes, such as studying the other nation’s literature.
“The curriculum already reflects the change because we already have classes that focus on culture and literature,” Spanish major Devon Powers said.
Powers said students are concerned that there will be more classes added in the future. However, Barnes said that is actually more of a distant goal. The department will first start strengthening the courses for the current languages that they offer: Spanish, German, and French. Their hope is to increase the student’s capability to understand the language and culture that they want to personally experience.
For example, Dr. Barnes explains how study-abroad is an extremely important component in language. So, by increasing study-abroad opportunities, they hope to increase the understanding of other ways of life. However, if unable, the department would like to offer a few relevant courses outside of the department so the student can still experience the emersion element. This special opportunity allows them to still complete their major.
New changes are on the horizon for Barnes, some that can include more languages. While this is a distant goal for the department, it is one that Barnes said they are looking forward to.
Sign language, although it is not considered a foreign language, would not have been able to be studied, Barnes said. Now with wider available options, the department can one-day expand its classes.
While the aforementioned plans for the future are being written, none are set in stone yet. While it may take some time for the plans to be passed, Barnes assured that the new changes will happen.
With a new name comes rebranding. The contest that the World Language and Cultures
Department is hosting has long been in the works. However, now, by spreading the word, the department hopes to share the ‘cohort’ feeling of community that the contest is going to bring.
By seeing other students with a World Languages and Cultures shirt, the sense of belonging and membership can be shared, Barnes said. The conveniency of the name change and logo contest are truly happenstance, but also meant for each other.