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English Not Quite So Important?

Melanie Ho was mentioned in yesterday's post regarding the New York Times' Room for Debate forum. Her rejoinder to Lawrence Summers' doubting of the importance of language learning had the most shocking anecdote, and thus merits a separate post.

She says, "I asked a friend of mine from mainland China [...] if she would be interested in helping me with my Chinese, and in return I would teach her English. She said she would help me, but replied that she had no interest in learning English. If someone wanted to speak with her, she said, they could learn Chinese" (emphasis added).

You don't like that? A lot of Americans have said the same of their language. So who is culturally myopic and educationally shortsighted?


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