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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A new breed of foreign languages

    Foreign languages are often one of the most dreaded subjects in school. Every undergraduate student is required to take a minimum of two semesters, while some have to take four and six semesters in order to graduate. Many students take the common foreign language courses: French, German, Italian and Spanish. Other students elect to take foreign languages with their own alphabets, such as Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew or Russian. While many options are available, computer programming languages such as Java, C , PHP, SQL, and HTML are not considered foreign languages.

    Foreign languages are usually indigenous to a specific country or region, but who says they can’t be indigenous to a specific application or program? We use an array of computer programming languages in our everyday lives to surf the web, check emails and purchase things online. We use them when searching for a library book and we use them when registering for classes.

    Computer programming languages are just like any other foreign or second language. They are usually taught in addition to a person’s primary language and the student is mostly unfamiliar with the language at the start. While they might not be spoken languages, they are languages of communication used in everyday interaction. And hey, sign language and Braille aren’t spoken either, but they’re still forms of communication. These languages are just as important as any other foreign language taught today.

    Any university that expands the realm of foreign languages to include these computer programming languages will not only increase the class offerings, but will produce more technologically savvy students that can go out and apply these language skills to almost any workplace. As we move forward into a digital age, it is time we incorporate as many aspects of the digital world into our educational curriculums.

    — Joshua Segall is a management information systems senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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