Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Uh, Not Exactly, Monsieur

Victor Davis Hanson is allowed to post his random musings on "The Corner" now? Sign me up for more of that insanity!
I was watching Obama complain that we don't speak European languages while Europeans speak English fluently. Fair enough—though the vast size of the US, the presence of two oceans on our borders, the ubiquity of Spanish here, the knowledge of other languages by millions of Americans, both explain a lot, and belie the notion that we are all English-only speakers, while the multitude of nations in close proximity has historically made Europeans by necessity multi-lingual.

How very "old Europe" of you, VDH! How's that working out for you? Getting paid by NRO in Euros, yet?

The problem is, any time you actually do any thinking or analysis on an issue, you run into, well, facts and figures that tell a different story--one that pretty much escapes the likes of VDH, who just wants to post on the Corner and look smarter than K-Lo.
OSU's [Oregon State University] Italian department joins a string of struggling European-language programs. The German departments at the University of Southern California and Humboldt State University are being shut down, and the College Board's Advanced Placement tests in Italian, French literature, and Latin literature are all being eliminated because of low interest, possibly as students are attracted to Arabic and Chinese programs.

But demand for Italian has always been high at OSU, says Guy Wood, interim chairman of the foreign languages and literatures department. "Our enrollments in those classes are as good as any," he says. The courses were dropped because of budget problems. OSU's foreign languages department faces a projected $250,000 deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, prompting cuts for some introductory Spanish and literature sections, as well. Wood says something had to go. Italian was the easiest language to eliminate because it was the youngest program, and its only professor was not tenured.
This seems to be a trend--language programs are being cut because of budget concerns, not a lack of interest. But why let the facts get in the way when you can take a cheap shot at Obama on the issue of multiculturalism, right?


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