Multi-linguists juggle languages


Devon Constable


Timothy Doner is just a normal 16-year-old—he goes to school, has had his bar mitzvah, and goes out with friends. But there is one thing different about him: he is the youngest polygot in the world, and, as such, can speak 23 different languages, including Russian, Italian, Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, and Swahili.

While most students at Hereford take one of four languages—Spanish, Latin, French, and Chinese—there are a few students that speak multiple languages.

Hannah Doxzen (12), is enrolled in three language classes: French 5, Chinese 5, and Spanish 2, but stated that her favorite is Chinese. “I love the challenge of learning all of the characters. I think it is a very rewarding language to learn.” Hannah also believes that Hereford should offer more languages— particularly Arabic. “Hereford really needs to put more emphasis on foreign language classes. It’s silly that we don’t require four years of foreign language, even though most colleges strongly recommend it.”

Emily May (12) is also taking three languages—French, Latin, and Spanish. Planning to major in International Relations at Lehigh University next year, Emily stated, “Having a knowledge of multiple languages would help enormously. I also really want to study abroad and travel!”

Even the Baltimore County superintendent, Dr. Dallas Dance, agrees about learning languages. Spanish teacher Mrs. Tiffany Bibaud explains that Dr. Dance is really the first superintendent to have students start early to learn languages. “It gets a lot harder to learn a language once you’re older,” she said. She too believes that a lot more languages should be offered at Hereford. “We used to have German and Italian, but we had to cut them because no one would take them. I would also like to see various indigenous languages,” she said.

Emily seconds Mrs. Bibaud’s opinion: “I wish Hereford hadn’t stopped teaching Italian. It would be nice to have even more options,” she stated.

Although Hereford’s world languages department is fairly slim, maybe a Hereford student going above and beyond the requirements for graduation will become the next Timothy Doner.