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Influential political site The Hill encourages parents to consider immersion programs

May 16, 2022

Remaining monolingual is a surefire way for America to fall behind

BY GLENN C. ALTSCHULER AND DAVID WIPPMAN, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

05/15/22 8:30

In a multilingual world, the United States remains a mostly monolingual country. Even though roughly 70 million Americans speak a language other than English at home, almost 80 percent speak English only. In Europe, almost two-thirds of working age adults report knowing at least one foreign language. While over 300 million Chinese students are studying English, only 200,000 or so American students are studying Chinese.

Americans’ foreign language complacency may stem from the knowledge that English remains the language of international business and diplomacy and is by far the most commonly studied second language around the world. But others’ knowledge of English is no substitute for Americans’ knowledge of foreign languages.

The war in Ukraine serves as a wake-up call to Americans to make competence in foreign languages an urgent economic, national security, and educational priority.

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