Why Americans Should Learn a Second Language

1038 Words5 Pages
The major languages in the United States are English, Spanish, and Chinese, with these last two quickly gaining prominence, and about 17.9 percent of Americans speak a language other than English at home. Keeping this in mind, it is almost essential today to learn a second language. Being bi-, tri- or multilingual has many advantages, the more obvious being that one can communicate with exchange students, immigrants, and fellow online gamers, chatters, and forum users, as well as to bridge cultures and societies through lingual commonality and better understanding. It also can give a person a fresh eye for their own society and culture, and even improve understanding of the mechanics of one's own language, all by comparison.
Everyone
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If people don't understand you all you have to do is speak slowly and turn up the volume. You can more or less get away with this, as long as you stick to popular tourist resorts and hotels where you can usually find someone who speaks English. However, if you want to venture beyond such places, to get to know the locals, to read signs, menus, etc, knowing the local language is necessary.
Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.
(Dave Barry)
A basic ability in a foreign language will help you to 'get by', i.e. to order food and drink, find your way around, buy tickets, etc. If you have a more advanced knowledge of the language, you can have real conversations with the people you meet, which can be very interesting and will add a new dimension to your holiday.

Should foreign language instruction start earlier in the U.S.?
Abbott: It is critical that foreign language instruction be available to all students throughout their PK-12 academic experience. Knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a 21st Century skill set for American students as they prepare to live and work in a global society. No matter what career students enter, they will be interacting with others around the world on a
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