Southeast Missouri grows more diverse with each passing year. We see different attire on fellow shoppers, enjoy exotic tastes in area restaurants and hear foreign tongues everywhere.
But while our new neighbors bring their culture to the area, they also are eager to adopt some of ours -- specifically, the English language.
As a result, the Adult Learning Center at 301 N. Clark in Cape Girardeau is offering the English as a Second Language program for adults. There are three-hour classes three times a week. One hour is spent in conversation, another working in a textbook and a third writing creatively.
Many of the participants even have to learn a different alphabet to get started. And everything about English is confusing, from making nouns plural to the various ways we pronounce "ough," as in ought, bough and enough.
The ESL program includes volunteer tutors. Those with the time and teaching skills would be making a valuable contribution to help others achieve the better lives they sought when they moved to this country.
Certainly, these students encourage us to open our minds to learning the languages of the countries we visit.