Carlos Morales Gonzales, the coordinator of the First People’s Center, spoke about the Native American language and culture to Fox 11. Photo Credit: Fox 11, Good Day LA

On November 13, 2023, Fox 11 News discussed how universities embrace the Native American language.

“People talk about Native Americans and Indigenous People as if they are a thing of the past. And we’re not. We are still here, we’re very much here,” said Carlos Morales Gonzales, Coordinator of the First People’s Center at CSUSB.

Universities, like Cal State San Bernardino and UC Riverside, have started to embrace Native American languages and their importance. On the CSUSB campus, Luiseño is one of the many languages they offer students. 

A multilingual person can be defined as someone who can speak multiple languages. This skill is vastly underappreciated but advantageous in a person’s professional and personal life. Some classes are offered during a student’s high school career, but that might not be true for every high school. At the college level, courses are also provided but are not utilized by every student. In neither of these levels are students required to take these classes. Taking at least one language course should be mandated for students, especially in upper-level education. Becoming multilingual provides individuals with a professional advantage, the encouragement to travel abroad, and expands their skills, like memory. 

In a person’s professional career, having multilingual skills can allow them to stand out compared to other applicants. In almost any career, learning another language is beneficial in multiple ways, with interacting with international clients being the most common. In business, communicating in another language can create and sustain international relations. Understanding each other is a crucial aspect of that relationship, and employees should be able to gain that skill. Not having these language skills can hinder a person from achieving their career goals and prevent them from thriving. 

In addition to developing more skills with a career, learning another language can encourage international travel. Many people enjoy traveling to other countries for vacation but are intimidated because they need help understanding the language or culture. While many countries know English, the level of proficiency might only sometimes be sufficient, but learning the language can make a trip more enjoyable. In addition, in many language classes, the culture is integrated so that students can learn about the language and its culture. Learning the culture allows people to become more culturally aware, and when traveling abroad, this can be beneficial to understand. 

Aside from the benefits mentioned, learners can improve their lives by learning a new language. As many people know, the brain sends signals to other parts of the brain and body through neurons. When a person learns a new language, the brain sends more neurons, essentially allowing the brain to work out. It also creates new neurological pathways in the brain, allowing information to travel quicker and more efficiently. This can allow a person to have better memory and delay cognitive deterioration. 

With all the benefits of learning another language, it’s hard to see why someone would not want to try. One very common example of how being multilingual benefits a person is during their professional career. As mentioned, some companies will send representatives to other countries to create and sustain foreign relationships. Someone could work in an organization as a translator and be sent abroad as a representative. When they arrive in the new country, having the ability to communicate in that language can allow the representatives from both companies to communicate effectively. In many cases, relationships can be formed and maintained because people can interact in the same language without any misunderstanding due to a language barrier. 

A person could learn so many languages that each would benefit them in multiple ways. It can improve their professional presence, encourage them to travel to foreign countries and help with their personal lives. Students can take these courses in college, but the universities do not mandate it. This is something that needs to be changed. Looking at the CSUSB campus, language classes can count toward their Humanities general education requirement, but they can take many other courses. Having the different courses available can deter students from wanting to take a language course.

CSUSB currently offers 11 different language courses to students: Arabic, American Sign Language, Cahuilla, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Luiseno, Portuguese, Serrano, and Spanish. Even though the campus offers these courses, only a few students utilize them.

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