My Open Records request from Amarillo Independent School district regarding the 45 foreign languages spoken in AISD received the following response:
In regards to your request for languages spoken in AISD for 2013-2014, please see the information below.
“We reported 30 different languages in AISD that are formally recognized in PEIMS. In addition to those, we have approximately 600+ students who make up a language group called “other languages” in PEIMS. This “other” group consists of many regional dialects and languages also present in AISD classrooms.
The official reported languages in AISD include: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Korean, French, Afrikaans, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Burmese, Cantonese, Chaochow, Dutch, Farsi, Hakka Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Kurdish, Mandarin Chinese, Mande, Russian, Somali, Swahili, Thai, Tigrinya, Urdu and “Other”.
The information provided does not include an explanation of “PEIMS” however it stands for “Public Education Information Management System.” What this information reveals is the extent of the diversity in Amarillo and Amarillo’s public schools. This information also reveals the challenges facing AISD teachers to teach their required subject matter across different languages and cultures in one classroom. Farsi is the official language of Iran. Afrikaans is a West German language spoken in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopa. It is the second- most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic. Bengali is the language native to Bengal. Chaochow is a Chinese dialect and is spoken by 10 million Chinese. The Mande languages are spoken in several countries in West Africa by the Mande people and include Mandinka, Soninke, Bambara, Dioula, Bozo, and Mende. Tigrinya is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken by ethnic Tigray-Tigrinya in the Horn of Africa. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan with about 104 million speakers, including those who speak it as a second language. Urdu is also spoken in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Fiji, Germany, Guyana, India, Malawi, Mauritius, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, the UAE, the UK and Zambia.
Copyright 2014 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.