|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 15:57|
Sharon, do you think you could properly note the person to whom
you are responding? It makes it difficult to track the thread
without such notation.
Gary Shannon wrote:
> > Clearly the opportunities are available, but it still
> > seems very few Amercians bother to learn another
> > language.
Although I am a believer in cultural differences about
such matters, in this case I think the lack of any viable
economic impetus to learning another foreign language largely
overwhelms the considerable cost in time and tax-dollars of
doing so along with any attitudes about what constitutes a
proper education. Such economic considerations apply in
every human society. Even in societies on the European
continent, such as the French and the German, where there
is larger intercourse with people speaking other languages,
there is a markedly less interest in learning them than in,
say, Holland, or the Czech Republic, where such skills are
not just advantageous but essential. And note that it is not
entirely true that few Americans bother to learn other
languages entirely; in certain parts of the country, it's
essential to learn Spanish just to get along, and the
geographic extent of these parts is extending year by year.
Certainly, when I was in highschool, I was in a tiny minority
of people taking Latin and German when almost the whole rest
of the school was taking Spanish.
> That's very true--most of the students at my school see the foreign
> language requirement as completely unnecessary, and insist that if
> they were to learn Spanish, they should learn the
> heavily-American-influenced Mexican Spanish used here instead of the
> Academy in Spain's Spanish (I forget the name, apologies :).
Why? What would possibly motivate them to do so, when the number of
publications in so much larger, and the number of people speaking the
Spanish of Central America and Mexico is well over three times that
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637