Why Study Languages
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Why Study Languages?

Why Study Languages?
Every American should develop proficiency in English and at least one other language.
  • Foreign languages are a core subject in NCLB and the ESEA along with English, mathematics, science, civics, economics, arts, history and geography.
  • Learning languages is vital to secure the future economic welfare of the United States in a growing international economy.  
  • Research shows
    • many academic, social, and economic benefits from learning other languages.
    •  Students with strong competence in more than one language are more likely to be successful readers  (Lindholm-Leary, 2000).
    • Bilingualism enhances cognitive functioning, such as metalinguistic skills and divergent thinking (Robinson, 1998).
    • Study of a foreign language in the elementary grades has been associated with higher scores on standardized measures of reading and mathematics, even for students from high-poverty backgrounds (Caldas & Bourdeaux, 1999; Robinson, 1998).
    • College Board’s Admission Testing Program revealed that students who take a foreign language in high school scored significantly higher on the verbal portion of the SAT than those who do not. Economic background, which was measured by the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches, did not affect students’ performance (Cooper, 1987).
    • In the service industries, more than half of U.S. professionals working in a multicultural environment—whether in the U.S. or abroad—are linguistically unprepared to do so (Lena & Reason Moll, 2000).
    • Multilingual societies have a competitive advantage over monolingual societies in international trade (Halliwell, 1999).
    • Admission to college is becoming more selective. Most colleges require at least TWO to FOUR years of foreign language study in high school.
    • All U.S. students need competence in at least one additional language and skills in cross-cultural interaction (Met, 2001) 
    • More than 70 agencies and offices of the U.S. government require language-proficient professionals (Met, 2001).
    • Several colleges offer retro-credit to students who have taken upper-level foreign language classes in high school. This saves students thousands of dollars in tuition costs