Big Mama asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 5 months ago

In your opinion, should Native American languages be taught in mainstream U.S. schools?

Since most Americans are monolingual English speakers, it'd perhaps be positive to expose them to the languages that were spoken in their country before the arrival of European colonizers. What do you think?

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  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    5 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    One Native American language is taught at my nephew's public high school in Northern Michigan (significant community of Native Americans).

    It's an elective, among other foreign languages.

    It would be nice if more schools chose to do that, but practically speaking, there aren't a lot of people qualified to teach such languages.

    Speaking a language natively does not mean you can teach it. There are plenty of native English speakers on this who can't explain why they say things some way, and plenty of others who give wrong explanations.

    I would oppose requiring Native American languages in schools, but would love for it to be an option where possible.

    The other factor is that those languages have a high difficulty level for monolingual English speakers. The most popular foreign languages in American schools, French and Spanish, are among several languages that are the easiest (but not easy) for English speakers.

  • 5 months ago

    I think there's a good case to be made for teaching a Native American language perhaps an hour a week, but it wouldn't be cost effective to make it compulsory or to take up too much time in the curriculum.

  • 5 months ago

    An interesting idea.However it would not be useful except for history and archeology.

    • Big Mama
      Lv 6
      5 months agoReport

      Archaeology? You talk as if they died long ago, when in fact many are still alive. Languages like Navajo, Ojibwa or Cree have more than 100,000 speakers, which is not few (most languages have less than 10,000). Useful? English is compulsory in countries where less than 1% of the population speak it.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    You asked what I think. I think that is the stupidest idea I ever heard. Well, you asked. It might be nice if US students were taught something about the cultures we destroyed, though it's a bit late to do anything about it now. At least is might make them reluctant to support the damage to other cultures we continue to do in the present day.

    But why would anyone spend years learning a language spoken by no one, or almost no one? You do understand why people learn other languages, don't you? I guess you don't.

    • Big Mama
      Lv 6
      5 months agoReport

      Precisely, teaching them in school may help their revival. Latin and ancient Greek are obligatory in several academic disciplines, and they're dead languages. English is compulsory in countries where less than 1% of the conversations are held in it, as in France, China or Japan.

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  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    It would be admirable, but impractical. Unfortunately, languages are taught based on demand. It would be somewhat ironic, too, for this genocidal country, which wiped out so many Native Americans and took their land, to attempt to revive their dying languages at this late date.

  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    {Questions about the answerer are not allowed here]

    In the regions where those tribes live, IF the tribe agrees, as an elective subject, yes.

    Ideally, people who go to secondary school should get one year of Esperanto-class ( see wikipedia Propaedeutic_ value_of_esperanto ), followed by at least three years of classes in at least one ethnic foreign language of the student's choice. That choice should be wider than just "Spanish, French and German".

    Even the US government acknowledges that there is and will be a shortage of people who speak "exotic" languages ( google "critical languages")

  • martin
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    That's actually a wonderful idea, and a lot better than wasting time studying Greek or German. However, studying Spanish or Chinese is important currently in America in business; and so, those current languages should be taught more than Native American languages, which would come second after the current, important foreign languages.

  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    To what purpose? Will knowing an ancient language (except for Latin) help you find a job when you get out of school? Dead languages are best left to the dead people that they went with.

    • RE
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      The Cherokee, Choctaw and Navajo "code talkers" were extremely useful to this country in establishing unbreakable secret codes during World Wars I and II.

  • Norman
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Yes but how?............

  • 5 months ago

    No. Native American would be what the American Indians spoke.

    • JetDoc
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      There IS NO one single "Native American" language, little Snowflake. Dozens of tribes had their own individual languages (or dialects) that they did not share with other tribes. And NONE of it was written!

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