When you're right you're right
Friday, March 03, 2006
  "US lacks in Foreign Language Education"
I was in The Daily Collegian again this morning.

It's basically about the lack of foreign language education in our country. Sad.

i think that you are doing a little unhealthy projecting here. just because the school you went to only offered two languages doesn't mean it's the american norm (i don't know what the norm is, but i know my school offered 5 languages). i think it's great to know a second (or more) language, but the fact of the matter is that it holds little practicality for the vast VAST majority of americans. wouldn't you say that over 98% of americans live and work in america for their whole lives?

my own sister was fluent in french during her highschool/ college days (mt. holyoke btw!). she even speant a year in senegal for french immersion. 15 years and two kids later, and she wouldn't understand me if i asked her the time in french! i've heard similar anecdotes from many middle-aged canadians who were required to learn french in their youths (in deference to quebec, of course).

of course, learning multiple languages in europe is nearly infinitely more practical. europeans are much more likely to cross borders for a job, a vacation, or a weekend, for that matter. it's a matter of geography. but given that that the second language of choice in most of these countries is english, makes your argument less....urgent.

the explosion of english language european blogs has been a boon for me to keep tabs on all things europe, and i expect that trend will only grow faster in the future.

long overdue conclusion: learning langauges is a great mental excersise that all american students should be exposed to, though i would fall short of making fluency compulsory. students such as yourself that have an interest in linguistics should of course be able to pursue such interest in public schools- but let's face the facts. 5 years of language study is a waste of time to the vast majority of american students.
ps- your current link is to the second page of the article.
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