English in Iran
5-8-13 WOSO Commentary
My wife and I returned last week from a two week trip to Iran sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
The impressions were many and they will be the subject of at least two Business Resolutions programs that I invite you to listen to commencing next week, as well as a series of essays that I will be posting on my JRGCPRC web site.
As most of you know, at the Governmental level, the US and UK are two of the three countries Iran most distrusts and criticizes. The third, of course, is Israel. Nevertheless, almost all important signs, descriptions and instructions that are important to tourists (road signs, product labels, museums, religious, and historical site descriptions, major restaurant menus, etc.) are written in Iran’s official language, Farsi, as well as English, and an excellent English at that.
In addition, our group was universally met with great enthusiasm by young and old wanting to practice their English and learn what the US as a country, and we as individuals, thought of Iran. Pinky and I have never felt more welcome in our travels. Our Iranian tour guide explained to us that according to Iranian religious and cultural traditions going back some 3,000 years, visitors staying and passing through Iran are to be welcome and protected.
While we were away in Iran, my commentary in favor of bilingualism aired on Radio WOSO. It is ironic to find that a country like Iran is doing a far better job than Puerto Rico in recognizing that English is today’s global language of communication. Shame on us!