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Language learning

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. Sharon wrote:
> 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 of Spain? ========================================================================= 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