Hudson’s Hidden Gem in the Language Department

Julia Terra-Salomão, Special to The Big Red

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As crazy as it may seem in Hudson, with such a high Portuguese population, most Americans don’t consider Portuguese as one of the more popular languages in the world. At Hudson High School, we have an extensive Portuguese program with a remarkable course of study.

Most high schools in the United States do not offer Portuguese, and very few colleges have developed Portuguese programs. For many, it seems as if there is not a demand for Portuguese in the US. However, there is a growing demand for Portuguese.

High schools and colleges should follow Hudson’s example and develop Portuguese courses to meet this expanding demand.

Most schools teach more traditional languages like French, German, or Spanish. However, Portuguese is spoken on five continents. It is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with an estimated 215 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers.

Portuguese is also the fifth most common language on the internet and is regarded as one of the most important languages in business. In fact, business is one of the factors accelerating Portuguese’s growth.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that Portuguese is the second most rapidly growing language, behind English. Portuguese has only recently been recognized as a prominent language for international relations and business.

Although, this recognition is growing quickly as Brazil becomes a more important country on the world stage. Portuguese has major potential in the business world, and schools should be providing that opportunity to students.

Currently, the demand for Portuguese is far beyond the offerings in high schools, or even colleges. The Yale Daily News reported that more of their students are taking the elementary Portuguese class, but their ‘tiny program’ does not have enough teachers to meet the demand.

Colleges, as well as high schools, need to catch up with this unmet demand.

Hudson High is a wonderful model for other schools. The Portuguese program was created because of Hudson’s large Portuguese and Brazilian community and has expanded into a fully developed program.

Many students, even those with no Portuguese or Brazilian background, have received an advanced score, which marks fluency, on the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages.

Hudson’s innovative program proves that Portuguese is not a niche language. It has immense potential, especially considering Portuguese’s projected growth.

Hudson High’s program is a signal of where language programs need to head. Portuguese’s popularity is trending upwards, and it is only a matter of time until colleges and high schools need to catch up with this trend. It would be a disservice to students if this exciting new opportunity is not provided, as it is currently being provided to so many Hudson students.