Importance of a Second Language

July 24, 2008

By Jordan Wait

Recently, the Miami Herald ran an article titled, "It's time for Americans to master a second language."

Vic Johnson, Senior Advisor, Public Policy, replied with the following:

Learn other languages

Andres Oppenheimer, in his July 17 column, is absolutely correct: It's time for Americans to master a second language. Barack Obama should be congratulated for having the courage to say so.

We live in a dangerous world, one that we fail to understand at our peril. International competence helps our economic competitiveness. But there are limits to our ability to understand other peoples and cultures if we cannot speak their languages. It is a misguided patriotism that celebrates ignorant monolingualism in the global age.

The next president should set a national objective that every student will graduate from college with proficiency in a foreign language and a basic understanding of at least one world region.

We'd like to know what you think. Do you think it is important for Americans to learn a second language? Why or why not?


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