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English and Anarchy



     Marga Jann raises the question of geographic proximity:
     "I agree with the need to speak several major languages--one of the reasons I raised my children in Europe (each speaks five), but felt an English-based university education served them best (one Oxford/Swarthmore, the other Stanford/Middlebury); the handicap for Americans of course is a lack of immediate proximity to other countries and awareness of need."
     My comment: Middlebury is well-known for its language programs. I suspect that it has suffered now that air travel makes study abroad so much easier. The geographic problem is basic. European countries are the equivalent of American states, and constant travel among them makes language study a necessity. Only the strip of the U.S. along the Mexican border and that along the Canadian border have comparable proximity. Otherwise, most Americans travelling to any of the 190 or so countries of the world must perforce stick to English.

Ronald Hilton - 11/29/99


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