The President of the Modern Language Association wrote a good letter on the situation of foreign languages in general and at SUNY-Albany in particular. It is on pp. 4-5 of the Winter 2010 MLA Newsletter, and it has a bibliography including Catherine Porter’s “Presidential Address: English Is Not Enough” (PMLA 125.3 : 546-55), which I would like to read. A version of Feal’s column also appeared in the CHE on 12 November 2010.
Some notes for our struggles are:
+ it is absurd to give students access to elementary and intermediate foreign language courses and not advanced courses on linguistics, literature, culture, and media taught in these languages;
+ if we are to be committed to diversity, pluralism, and a global world then we need foreign languages;
+ advanced courses in foreign languages support the PhD in English;
+ the humanities are incomplete without advanced study and research in languages other than English, and the mission of higher education is seriously compromised without this.
Feal’s wording is vivid and it is difficult not to simply quote her in toto, here and in some administrative documents I am composing.