5 languages HSU should consider teaching

Lieutenant commander Worf was the first Klingon to appear in the Star Trek Franchise.

Wikipedia Commons

Lieutenant commander Worf was the first Klingon to appear in the Star Trek Franchise.

Only about 7.5% of Arkansans speak a second language, the majority of which speak Spanish. Henderson, like most universities in Ark., teaches Spanish, French and German. These are all great choices, but I have come up with a few more for Henderson to consider adding to the academic catalog.


#5. Klingon

Probably the most well-known constructed language, Klingon comes from the science fiction television series Star Trek. Nowadays you can hear it spoken at Comic-Cons and Star Trek movie premieres across the country. In recent years, many books and other works have even been translated into Klingon.

And besides all of that, what if Scotty beams you up one day only for you to find a bunch of Klingons in front of you screaming, “tlhIngan maH!”?

That’d be awkward, now wouldn’t it?

This language would fit in perfectly at Henderson because we already have the Legion of the Nerds and a Comics Studies program. Next, all we’d need is a Quidditch team like some other universities have.


#4. Mandarin Chinese

The most spoken dialect on this list, and on Earth, Mandarin Chinese claims almost a billion native speakers. It is mostly used in China and East Asia, however, there are also large populations of speakers in US states like Calif. and New York. Some experts say that China might overtake the US this decade on the world stage, so knowing Chinese could make you more prepared for the economic climate to come.

Chinese is probably the furthest from English you can get as far as languages go, but it would definitely be a great addition to the language department here at Henderson.


#3. Hebrew

Modern Hebrew is the national language of Israel and is the only one to ever come back from the dead in history. Important in Jewish and Christian culture, Hebrew has been in use for up to 5,000 years. Bible scholars often learn Hebrew to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and other sacred texts.

Despite being in a rough neighborhood, Israel has become a very developed nation and a great travel destination. While many Israelis speak English, it may be a good idea to pick up some Hebrew if you’re thinking of visiting the Holy Land in the future.


#2. Russian

There may still be some tensions between Americans and Russians, but perhaps learning their language can help to thaw those lingering Cold War sentiments. Russian is actually the most spoken tongue in Europe with over 150 million native speakers and millions more worldwide. It is one of six official languages of the UN and one of two official languages of the International Space Station.

It’s a critical need language and learning it can really set you apart in a job interview. You could use it in career fields such as medicine, journalism, hospitality and many more.

Most Russians do not speak English, so it could come in handy if you want to see the Kremlin in person (or the International Space Station).


Honorable Mentions:

Here are some honorable mentions before we get to number one:
American Sign Language (ASL)


#1. Navajo

By far the most widely spoken Native American tongue, Navajo (or Diné) has nearly 170 million total speakers. Diné presents a great opportunity to learn more about Native American culture. Mostly spoken in the American Southwest, it is one of the only Native American languages that continues to grow in recent years instead of declining.

While I would suggest the Caddo language (or Hatsinai) because of its ties to this area, efforts to revive it are slow. As of 2007, most of the 25 remaining speakers were elders who live in the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma.


Spanish, French and German may be fairly easy for native English speakers to learn, but any of these five languages would also make a great program at Henderson. All of my suggestions have courses on apps such as Duolingo and Babbel that could supplement the programs.

Each of these languages could potentially be part of a larger degree program like Linguistics or Native American Studies further down the line.

I don’t know about you, but I hope to see one of these courses offered soon.