Language faculty adopts new name

The Foreign Language department has changed its name to the World Language department.

“The modern languages we teach are not ‘foreign’ to our country or school community, and the classical languages we teach are not ‘alien,’ but rather inform our culture and lives today,” middle school World Language department head Melissa Strong said in a statement to the Faculty Academic Committee.

Spanish teacher Nancy Holme-Elledge first proposed the name change roughly 10 years ago, but not all teachers were in favor of the change.

When Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts re-proposed the idea, the department decided to make the change, upper school World Language department head Margot Riemer said. The name change process was informal, due to the technical nature of the change, she said.

“More and more schools and universities around the country are calling their language departments ‘world languages’ instead of ‘foreign language,’” Riemer said. “Foreign was never meant to be pejorative in any way but the languages that we’re studying really aren’t foreign anymore. Now, there is so much more diversity everywhere that these aren’t foreign languages anymore. They’re languages that are spoken in our community and our community reflects those cultures.”

The newly named department is still in the process of changing the school website.

Latin and Greek classes, although ancient languages not currently spoken, will still be taught under the umbrella term of world language, as they are regarded this way in many textbook classifications, Riemer said.

Although the department has adopted a new moniker, English will remain as a separate department although it does fall under the categorization of “world language.”

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