Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~
Last Friday my wife, younger grandson, and our son returned from a trip to France. We had been part of a group that toured the battlefields, cemeteries, and memorials associated with the American soldiers who fought and died in World War I. Our son is a museum curator, so he was one of the tour guides. I had not been in France since 1973, but slowly my command of French returned. That made all the difference in my enjoyment of our journey. Why bother to learn foreign languages? They are the gateways to truly understanding another culture. One can read the great classics in an English translation, but it is not the same. It is possible to grasp the basics of an author’s work, but the nuance is lost. This is particularly true of authors like Voltaire. Being able to speak a foreign language gives a student the chance to avoid being an ordinary tourist, but to enter another culture.