After a shocking and scathing editorial in our local paper in Atlanta, I feel very defensive about the importance of taking French. This uninformed man was up in arms that his child only had the option of taking French or Spanish in high school, because he wanted him to be able to study German. While I strongly agree that schools here in Georgia should offer more choices than just French or Spanish, that does not mean French is not worth studying.
As the rap of the same name as the title of this blog entry by the well-known Etienne puts it,
Over 200 million people speak French in this world, in more than 50 different countries. French is the official language of UN and NATO, The Red Cross, The Olympics, and UNESCO.
From a local perspective, in 2006, more than 50 French companies operated in metro Atlanta alone, employing over 5,600 people. There are approximately 60 Atlanta companies operating with subsidiaries in France. In competing for a job in the U.S., you will compete against far fewer native French speakers than Spanish speakers in looking at marketable skills.
It just amazed me that in this day and age, someone could not understand the importance of French.