Language Diversity Strengthens Culture and Community on Campus

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M-A students share a culturally rich community. Language has become a large part of expressing and sharing their cultures with one another.

Stephen Ready is M-A’s Bilingual Resource Teacher and is responsible for making sure that English learners are given resources in order to better learn in class. His responsibilities reach students, teachers, and staff members. 

When asked about the connection between language and culture, Ready said, “Those two concepts are wrapped around each other. Language influences culture, and culture influences language.”

Ready added, “One of the things I try to put across is that you’re never going to lose your first language, it’s not going to fade away on you, especially if you’re 14-15”

As someone who isn’t very fluent in my native language of Tagalog, I’ve felt left out when I can only understand what a relative is saying but can’t reply in Tagalog. But, for students who do speak in their native language, it does feel great to be able to express themselves and bond with other speakers of that language. 

Many students at M-A speak a language other than English fluently. Senior Anna Gady Moguilnitskaia is multilingual and her native languages are French and Russian. Moguilnitskaia mostly speaks French at home. Given that most of her family doesn’t live in the U.S., she often speaks different languages to her relatives in calls. “Apart from my immediate family, everyones is in other countries, so it’s important to keep up with them and the culture,” she said. She also took Spanish classes at M-A and uses it often while at work. “I work at a coffee shop, and taking orders in Spanish is something I can do,” she said.

Among other students who communicate with different languages with family, junior Faith Schubin uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with her parents due to their hearing complications.  “I’ve been learning sign language basically my whole life. I’d say I learned ASL and English pretty much at the same time,” she said. Schubin also takes the role of an interpreter in certain situations in which schools can’t provide interpretation for her parents. 

What do the numbers say about M-A’s language diversity? Currently, the top five languages spoken at M-A are as follows: 

Spanish: 721 speakers

Tongan: 30 speakers

French: 26 speakers

Mandarin: 24 speakers

Russian: 23 speakers

Here’s an interactive chart of the different languages spoken on campus!

According to the current language census provided by Stephen Ready, the M-A student body speaks a wide range of languages from around the world. The most spoken language outside of English at M-A is Spanish with a reported 721 speakers on campus. Spanish is the second most spoken language by a large margin too, as the 3rd most spoken language is Tongan, which currently has 30 Speakers.

With many clubs and classes at M-A fostering the growth of communities that speak different languages, it is reassuring to know that there are people that share a common trait with you. Ready expressed the importance of building these communities, “I hope [speakers of the same language] all know each other and sometimes think, ‘We should have a lunch together.’”

D’Anjou Libunao is a sophomore in his first year in journalism. He enjoys writing reviews on popular media like movies, music, and more! Outside of school he loves spending time with friends.

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