International Club celebrates Linguistic Diversity

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Club members teaching others their languages

Club members teach others about their languages.

The UN’s International Mother Language Day is celebrated every Feb. 21 to promote language and linguistic diversity around the world. International Club celebrated the linguistic diversity of its own members during a club meeting.

The club opened its meeting with an invitation to members who speak other languages like Polish, Thai, Urdu, Punjabi and Spanish to teach a greeting or expression. Members learned about the languages others have grown up with, the languages some of them are working to learn, and the value of being bilingual or multilingual, both today and in the future.

Club member sophomore Amna Saeed was born in Pakistan and moved here when she was 5 years old and started learning English a year after arriving in the United States. Saeed speaks English but her mother language is Urdu.

“I learned not only our language’s formal but the informal part too,” Saeed said, “It doesn’t make it sound as intimidating to learn new languages. It makes it seem more easy and as if everybody’s not as different. I learned that alphabets are very different and sometimes things that we think seem easy are like really different and complicated for other people.”

Exchange student and senior Kayla Sirisongkram is from Thailand and said she learned that some languages have a lot in common and are really similar while some are totally different.

“It was really fun to talk to other people about my language and learn about theirs because personally, I’m very interested in languages and I’d like to do something with my bilingualism in my future profession.”

Sophomore Shaleen Gupta teaching Punjabi and Hindi

Sophomore Shaleen Gupta teaches about Punjabi and Hindi.

Club sponsor Ms. Victoria Carlson Casaregola came up with the idea for this meeting because she thinks having another language or the ability to communicate with more people is always an advantage if you use it well.

“I’m told that Pattonville High School is the most linguistically and culturally diversed high school in the state of Missouri so we have a wonderfully vibrant talented community here of people who speak all kinds of languages, including what our club’s experienced this afternoon,” Carlson Casaregola said. “With so many languages that we shared, I think it will help with overall learning, with awareness of language, with the ability to learn other languages, to use the languages students already have and their future professions, more jobs and to possibly have study abroad opportunities or travel opportunities that are enriched and also better contact with people.”

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International Club celebrates Linguistic Diversity