A Piece of PIE

Our ability to communicate with other people is a vital requirement for success in life. After all, one of the reasons mankind has been so successful evolutionally is our ability to communicate.

This is recognized by the Swedish curricula for Secondary Schools, which states communicative ability as one of the main goals of foreign language teaching. The question is: How do we communicate?

It seems save to say so much: We communicate through language. Now, a language is nothing but a system of communication. With different people in different parts of the world, it comes as no surprise that there is a wide range of systems. Languages such as English, German and Swedish are just a few examples of such systems. Thus, to communicate, students need to learn about such systems of communication.

The English language and its varieties are Germanic languages. The Germanic languages branched out from an ancestral tongue called Proto-Indo-European (PIE), a language spoken about 6,000 years ago by people in Central Asia. With the need for communicative systems established, it is my belief that students should be offered the opportunity to learn about such facts.

The history and origin of languages that are part of the Swedish curriculum can provide a wider context, which goes way beyond vocabulary training. It is a chance to get in touch with the very origin of mankind's communicative journey. In this context, let's offer a piece of PIE to the student's out there.

Julia Ryberg