The importance of the French language in French culture is impossible to overstate. It’s protected, maintained, and preserved with a centuries-old fastidiousness. Language and identity are bound tight. And these are troubling times for French identity. The tribulations of the Euro zone and the primacy of Germany in setting policy have delivered blows to national pride. Of course, the whole Euro project itself (and the process of globalization, in general) has been a challenge to many countries’ sense of sovereign identity.
A few weeks ago, in the New York Times, there was an article reporting a uniquely French response to the problem. It seems they’re making an extra push to encourage the growth of the French language here in the city. Already, French is the third most popular option in the City’s public dual-language programs, behind Spanish and Chinese. Today, eight schools offer French immersion tracks, in part with financial and material support from the French government. But now French officials are starting a fundraising campaign to expand these programs to new schools.
We look forward to seeing how this plays out. Few experiences are as enriching to children’s educational outlook and as cognitively stimulative as learning a foreign language. The more resources we have in our already resource-rich community, the better. Stories like these are a reminder of how lucky we are to live in and around New York City and how many incredible opportunities our kids have. We urge all our parents to keep on top of all the varied options living here affords.
On vous remercie, les français!