In Response to: Foreign-Language Study

We’re all different. Although I had a high score on the French College Board exam, I had only had two years of high school French, so Princeton asked me to take another semester of French grammar before I was allowed to take French lit courses. My instructor was the first person who ever told me I spoke French with a Belgian accent. No surprise—my high school French teacher (and future mother-in-law) was Belgian.

I loved taking French lit courses at Princeton. Getting to know another culture through its language and literature widens our horizons and expands our empathy. The philosophy department—my major—was kind enough to give me credit for a course I took on French Enlightenment philosophy given by the French department.

And the French department was kind enough to allow my wife—then my fiancée—to do her first year of graduate work at Princeton, before we both moved on to Duke, where she finished her Ph.D. in medieval French literature.

Thanks to my Kindle, I now read lots of books in French, simply holding down the word when I need the definition. I wish I’d had that at Princeton!

Richard Waugaman ’70
Potomac, Md.