Californian universities teaching indigenous American languages

Students at UCLA, UC San Diego, and other schools in California are deciding to learn indigenous Central and South American languages rather than the standard choices like Spanish, French or German. Students are now learning Mixtec and Zapotec (spoken in the Oaxaca region of Mexico), and Aymara and Quechua (spoken in the Andes – Bolivia, Peru, and Chile).

Many of the students will never go to a place where these languages are spoken, but some are using it as a base from which to travel or carry out charity work.

These new courses have even had positive consequences for the teachers. Some of the professors who grew up speaking indigenous languages were raised to think that Spanish, and then English, were more important than their native languages. For some, it wasn’t until they realised that other people wanted to learn about their cultures that they became proud of their languages and backgrounds.

I think it’s great that indigenous languages are being promoted at a university level. Hopefully one day they might even bring them into elementary and high schools.

Full article: LA Times.