Photos by Jessica Escovy
To most non-native speakers, German is a language of throaty sounds and harsh syllables. Instead of a jelly bean, the chewy kidney bean shaped candy is a gelee bohnen, a tree is a baum, and a fig is a feige. For junior Luciano Pombo, though, German has always been a constant in his life.
“I lived in Mexico for about 11 years,” Pombo said. “I was put in this German school. Then I moved here and went into sixth grade, after I stopped learning German. When I got to high school, I almost lost all of it, but hoping that it could come back, I started to learn German.”
Of course, not everyone comes into German 1 already knowing some of the language. Senior Faith Tsang’s German journey began long before she even started thinking about which language she would take in high school.
“Many years ago we went to visit a family friend in Switzerland,” Tsang said. “And on one of the nights, the dad made this really great German barbecue dinner, and it tasted great, and so I was like I should take German and eat some good food.”
Besides German, Seven Lakes offers several other language classes, such as French, ASL, Chinese, and of course, Spanish. Spanish is the most popular language class, considering that Mexico is Texas’ closest neighbor. But for senior Prineet Anahd, Spanish is much more than a way of communicating with others.
“If I go visit some country like Costa Rica, I would like to go there and just fluently speak to people,” Anahd said. “If you just speak English, you’re not going to get the true experience. I feel like it’s all going to be patted down. But if you know Spanish and you can talk to the people there, you get a sense of the atmosphere.”
Not all languages require speaking aloud. Freshman Valentina Carossino is learning to communicate through American Sign Language in order to get closer to her grandma.
“I chose to take [ASL] because of my grandmother,” Carossino said. “She’s becoming deaf, and I think it would be cool to communicate with her with ASL.”
Though most people might consider French a ‘posh’ language, French is the language of home for sophomore Llia Bosso. Ever since she was born, Llia had heard French being spoken between her parents, which inspired her to learn the language for herself.
“I plan on taking AP French when I become a senior, and in college, too.” Bosso said. “[French] is important to me because it’s part of my culture, it’s part of my background.”
Learning a foreign language is not only a way to communicate with new people, but a way to get ingrained in new cultures and discover who you are.