Letter: America has a dominant language – learn it

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on yesterday’s letter, “Language barrier a two-way street” which ended with the question, “Don’t you think it’s time to make a change?”

No, I do not feel students who attend SIUC should have to learn another language just to be able to communicate with international teaching assistants. Yes, an attempt should be made to first try to understand, but when that fails, what else is there to do?


This is America and it is a multicultural society, but just like with most other countries, there is a primary language. If you choose to be here then you should make an attempt to learn the language. I would not go to Germany and expect everyone to cater to me and learn English. I would have to learn the language if I wanted to live and work there. That’s just how it is.

It is an asset to know other languages. Sometimes employers even prefer it, but you should not have to worry about understanding your teachers’ speech because of a language barrier.

A couple semesters ago I actually had to drop a math class because I just could not understand my teacher. I tried and I tried but still did not understand a word out of their mouth. I even went to tutoring where I encountered yet another person who was experiencing a language barrier.

Should my understanding of a subject be compromised because of these language barriers? If I can speak the dominant language of this country, why should I have to learn another to understand an ITA?

Mo’Nique Kirkwood junior, health care management