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SINCE 1979, WHEN THE PERKINS COMMISSION DECLARED THE

STATE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY IN THE UNITED STATES "SCANDALOUS",

THERE HAS BEEN A TENUOUS REVIVAL IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY.

BUT THIS REVIVAL IS, AT THIS POINT, VERY SLIGHT AND VERY

FRAGILE.

IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO ADDRESS OUR NATIONAL LANGUAGE

INADEQUACIES, THERE MUST BE NATIONAL SUPPORT AND LEADERSHIP.

AT THE LOW POINT A FEW YEARS AGO, ONLY FIFTEEN PERCENT

OF ALL UNITED STATES STUDENTS, FROM 7TH GRADE THROUGH

GRADUATE SCHOOL, WERE ENROLLED IN THE STUDY OF A FOREIGN

LANGUAGE.

THAT FIGURE ITSELF WAS PROBABLY MISLEADINGLY

OPTIMISTIC, SINCE ONLY THREE PERCENT OF THESE STUDENTS

PURSUED A FOREIGN LANGUAGE BEYOND THE SECOND YEAR OF STUDY.

ONLY EIGHT PERCENT OF THE COLLEGES OF THIS COUNTRY REQUIRED

A FOREIGN LANGUAGE FOR ADMISSION.

EVEN IN THOSE AREAS

WHERE THERE WAS EVIDENCE OF INCREASED ENROLLMENTS,

THE

FIGURES WERE APPROXIMATELY 3,000 STUDENTS IN ARABIC,

10,000 IN CHINESE AND 11,000 STUDENTS IN JAPANESE, OUT OF

A COLLEGE ENROLLMENT OF ALMOST 10 MILLION.

THE MODERN

LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION IS CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF COMPILING

THE DATA FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND WE ANTICIPATE THAT

WE WILL SEE AN INCREASED DEMAND FOR LANGUAGE STUDY ALTHOUGH

THE NUMBERS WILL STILL BE HIGHLY INADEQUATE IN TERMS OF OUR

NATIONAL NEEDS.

IT IS NOTEWORTHY, AS WELL, THAT THE

INCREASED DEMAND IS LARGELY IN THESE APTLY NAMED "LESS

COMMONLY TAUGHT OR CRITICAL LANGUAGES" SUCH AS ARABIC,

CHINESE AND JAPANESE.

THE SLIGHT INCREASE IN THE RECENT DEMAND FOR FOREIGN

LANGUAGES HAS BEEN THE RESULT OF A NUMBER OF FACTORS: THE

REPORT OF THE PERKINS COMMISSION (WE ANTICIPATE THAT THE

CURRENT NATIONAL COMMISSION ON EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

WILL CONTINUE THIS MOMENTUM WITH ITS FINDINGS WHEN ITS

REPORT COMES OUT THIS MONTH AS WELL); THE PUBLICITY

GENERATED BY ARTICLES IN BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS, READER'S

DIGEST, HARPERS AND SO FORTH; AND SOME NEW AND CREATIVE

APPROACHES BY THE PROFESSION ITSELF SUCH AS COMPUTER ASSISTED

INSTRUCTION.

WHILE THE SITUATION IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES IS, IN MANY

RESPECTS, ANALOGOUS TO THE SITUATION IN MATH AND SCIENCE, THERE ARE ALSO PROBLEMS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO LANGUAGE TEACHING.

IN SPITE OF THE CRITICAL NEED FOR THESE FIELDS, WE HAVE ALL

SUFFERED DECLINES IN ENROLLMENTS AND AN EASING OF REQUIREMENTS.

HOWEVER, THE LANGUAGE PROFESSION HAS NOT EXPERIENCED THE

SEVERE TEACHER SHORTAGES OF MATH AND SCIENCE EXCEPT WITH

REGARD TO THE CLASSICS, THE LESS COMMONLY TAUGHT LANGUAGES

AND DUAL LANGUAGE ABILITIES.

IN OTHER LANGUAGES, WE ARE

EXPERIENCING "EMERGING SHORTAGES" AS THE RESULT OF INCREASING

DEMAND AND REIMPLEMENTATION OF REQUIREMENTS.

IN A RECENT

NON-SCIENTIFIC SURVEY BY JNCL OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE SUPERVISORS

IN TWELVE STATES, ELEVEN SPOKE OF "EMERGING" AND "SPOT"

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OF NORTH CAROLINA, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO, UNIVERSITY OF

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PROFESSIONS IS THE VITAL NEED FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGE

TEACHERS TO HAVE PERIODIC RE-TRAINING IN BOTH SKILLS AND

METHODS.

IDEALLY, SUCH SKILL RE-TRAINING COULD BE DONE

THROUGH AN OPPORTUNITY TO FUNCTION IN THE LANGUAGE IN

ANOTHER COUNTRY, BUT IN MOST INSTANCES, IT MEANS WEEK-END

OR WEEK LONG IMMERSION WORKSHOPS OR SUMMER INSTITUTES.

METHODICALLY, AS THE DEMAND FOR COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS,

SCIENTIFIC AND BUSINESS TERMINOLOGY AND PRACTICAL

APPLICATIONS HAVE INCREASED, IT HAS MEANT THAT TEACHERS

MUST KEEP UP WITH NEW METHODS AND HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO

DEVELOP CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACHES.

THUS FAR, I HAVE FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON THE NEED FOR

LANGUAGE TEACHERS, THE REALITY IS THAT WE MUST ENCOURAGE

INCREASED LANGUAGE STUDY FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT INTEND TO

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KNOWLEDGE,

ONE GOOD REASON IS THAT IT IS SIMPLY EASIER TO

LEARN LANGUAGES AT A YOUNGER AGE AND THAT THOSE WHO LEARN

LANGUAGES EARLY ARE MOST LIKELY TO CONTINUE WITH THE

LANGUAGE AND HAVE AN EASIER TIME LEARNING OTHERS.

SECONDLY,

THERE IS CURRENT DATA TO INDICATE THAT SAT SCORES, BOTH

VERBAL AND MATH, ARE HIGHER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE STUDIED

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REQUIRED (OR SHOULD BE REQUIRED) IN DIPLOMACY AND INTELLIGENCE

GATHERING, IS NOT ACHIEVED IN FOUR COURSES OVER TWO YEARS

BUT RATHER REQUIRES YEARS OF STUDY.

IT IS FOR THIS LATTER REASON THAT LANGUAGE STUDY IN

THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN A MUCH BROADER

CONTEXT THAN JUST TEACHER TRAINING.

LANGUAGE STUDY IS A

SERIOUS AND LEGITIMATE NATIONAL DEFENSE ISSUE.

ONLY LAST

YEAR, THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE CIA, ADMIRAL BOBBY R.

INMAN, TESTIFIED THAT THE DEFENSE COMMUNITY HAS BEEN

"SEVERELY IMPACTED" BY THE DECLINE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE

STUDY.

A NUMBER OF DEFENSE SPECIALISTS HAVE BEEN OUTSPOKEN

IN NOTING THAT THE SHORTAGE OF QUALIFIED LINGUISTS COINCIDES

WITH AN INCREASED DEMAND FOR THESE SKILLS AND THAT THE

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OF THESE POSITIONS, GAO FOUND THAT ONLY ABOUT FIFTY PERCENT

WERE FILLED AT THE REQUIRED PROFICIENCY LEVEL OR FILLED AT

ALL.

LANGUAGE STUDY IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO OUR TRADE AND

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY.

LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF

AMERICA'S COLLEGE STUDENTS NOW STUDY THE LANGUAGES OF

THREE-FOURTHS OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION; ALTHOUGH ONE OUT

OF EIGHT MANUFACTURING JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE DEPENDENT

UPON EXPORTS, ONE OF EVERY THREE AMERICAN ACRES IS PLANTED

FOR EXPORT AND ONE-THIRD OF OUR PROFITS COME FROM TRADE.

IN AN ERA OF ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE, THE DATA ARE

COMPELLING

35,000 U.S. BUSINESSMEN LIVE ABROAD, 6,000

U.S. COMPANIES HAVE OVERSEAS OFFICES AND 20,000 FIRMS

ARE ENGAGED IN EXPORTING.

WHILE A GREAT DEAL MORE STUDY NEEDS TO BE DONE ON

BUSINESS LANGUAGE NEEDS, THE FEW STUDIES WE HAVE NOW

INDICATE A SERIOUS SHORTAGE OF INDIVIDUALS WITH LANGUAGE

SKILLS.

IN A 1975 STUDY OF 6,000 FIRMS BY OLYMPUS RESEARCH

CORPORATION, A TWENTY-THREE PERCENT RESPONSE IDENTIFIED
OVER 60,000 JOBS REQUIRING A SECOND LANGUAGE.

A SURVEY

JUST COMPLETED BY THE OHIO MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION

OF BUSINESSES IN CINCINNATI, COLUMBUS, AKRON AND TOLEDO

HAD A MAJORITY OF THE FIRMS RESPONDING INDICATING THAT

A LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY WAS VALUABLE FOR SOME OR ALL OF

THEIR PERSONNEL.

PERHAPS THE BEST STUDY TO DATE IS

ACE'S BUSINESS AND INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WHICH NOTES,

AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT ABOUT THE ONLY THING BUSINESSES

SENDING INDIVIDUALS OVERSEAS AGREE UPON IS THE VALUE

OF LANGUAGE TRAINING.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS COIN IS THAT DOMESTICALLY

IMMIGRATION, REFUGEES, TOURISM AND IMPORTING HAVE ALL

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