Language education in the United States

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Language education in the United States has historically involved teaching American English to immigrants; and Spanish, French, Latin, Italian or German to native English speakers. Bilingual education was sponsored in some districts, often contentiously. Japanese language education in the United States increased following the Japanese post-war economic miracle.[1] This was a period between World War II and the Cold War, when Japan had the second largest economy in the world. To participate, the government increased funding to teaching Japanese in schools.[1] Chinese as a second language began to be taught more frequently in response to the reform and opening of the People's Republic of China; this has included funding from the PRC Government.[2] In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Senator Norm Coleman called Arabic "the next strategic language".[3]

Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) is a designation used for languages other than Spanish, French, and German, the three most commonly taught foreign languages in US public schools.

Language as defined in education[edit]

Language is traditionally defined as a way of communicating through vocalizations, symbols, or movements.[4] In a classroom, this definition had to become stricter to define guidelines for what can and cannot be taught. Language, in this circumstance was given a set of guidelines that stated it must be productive, have the ability to produce an infinite amount of sentences that cover every available topic, and introduces, uses, and relates symbols,[5] This definition also needed to be broadened to accommodate for the thousands of different dialects in every given language. This was needed because every person possesses a unique dialect that slightly varies from others. This standard allows for the grouping of dialects into groups. These groups make up a "language" such as English, Spanish, and French.[5] Language in classrooms in generalized into one category to offer and exposes students to the basics and variety. Some classrooms may focus on one area on a "language" while others show multiple aspects of each one.[5]

Rise of Multilingualism[edit]

There has been an increased need for people who have experience with languages other than English in the United States.[6] There are a few ways that foreign language has been taught in schools. The first method is language immersion programs which is when the beginning of the students school career is done in the second language and then later on the child would be taught in English.[7] The second method is bilingual education which is when subjects are taught in both English and their mother tongue.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "China-sponsored language programs in U.S. raise concerns, hopes". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  2. ^ Welch, Chris (January 19, 2011). "China-sponsored language programs in U.S. raise concerns, hopes". CNN.
  3. ^ CONCORDIA LANGUAGE VILLAGES MAKES ARABIC ANNOUNCEMENT Archived 2010-09-21 at the Wayback Machine (PDF) Concordia Language Villages
  4. ^ "Definition of LANGUAGE". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  5. ^ a b c Osborn, Terry A. (2002). The future of foreign language education in the United States. Bergin & Garvey. ISBN 0313004056. OCLC 50816769.
  6. ^ O'Rourke, Polly; Zhou, Qian; Rottman, Isaac (December 2016). "Prioritization of K–12 World Language Education in the United States: State Requirements for High School Graduation". Foreign Language Annals. 49 (4): 789–800. doi:10.1111/flan.12232. ISSN 0015-718X.
  7. ^ a b Crystal, David (2010). "Language Planning". The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. New York,NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 376–387.

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