Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

French (Foreign Language) Advocacy in a Box

If you are aware of a French (foreign language)  program at risk, or if you would like to increase support in your community/institution for your program, these are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Make your classes as appealing and relevant as possible
  • Reach out to students, their parents, and other local stakeholders outside your classroom
  • Participate in local, regional, and national professional associations to develop your professional network, and potential allies, and to learn more about current trends and best practices.

The most important factor in effective advocacy for French or any foreign language is your conviction, your motivation, and your grasp of the available data.

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Languages do matter!

In alphabetical order

Selected Web Links




Commission on Language Learning.

Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education.                                                   

Foreign Language Enrollments in K-12 Public Schools.

Foreign Languages and Higher Education:  New Structures for a Changed World.

French:  The Most Practical Foreign Language.


On the Importance of Knowing French.

10 Good Reasons for Learning French.

Why French Matters

Selected Articles

Building a Language Proficient Society:  What Can You Do?

Why French?

Selected Videos

Are We Prepared for the Jobs of the Future?

Et en plus, je parle francais.

Lead with Languages.

Why French Matters.






The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit and Our Economic and National Security — over 635 copies in OCLC libraries (488 Worldcat libraries) — Thank you! :)

Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read The U.S.Foreign Language Deficit and Our Economic and National Security — now available in more than 635 OCLC libraries/488 Worldcat libraries.

Languages do matter!Book cover image_crop

Read Books, Live Longer?

“Reading books is tied to a longer life, according to a new report.

Compared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.

They found a similar association among those who read newspapers and periodicals, but it was weaker.

‘People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read.'”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Out of sync with the sun… …and knackered by it (Spain)

“IN THE summer, Spaniards enjoy their long evenings, having a drink at a pavement terrazabefore dining at 10pm or later. Yet the evenings are far longer than they should be: by local clocks, the sun sets an hour and 20 minutes later in Madrid than in New York City, though both are on the same latitude. That is because Spain (except the Canary Islands) is in the wrong time zone. Madrid is on a similar line of longitude to Swansea in Wales. Its clocks are set to Central European Time, the same as Warsaw or Tirana, some 24 degrees or 2,000kms (1,200 miles) to the east.”

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Languages do matter!

Breakfast around the world

“Here’s all the proof you need that Americans basically eat dessert for breakfast.”

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Languages do matter!

The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit: Strategies for Maintaining a Competitive Edge in a Globalized World (Palgrave Macmillan, September 2016)

New book cover 08-16

Coming soon!  :)

“Offers a compelling analysis of the failure of United States policy makers, educators and American citizens to recognize the importance of learning foreign languages. Issues a challenge for all Americans to become less “tongue-tied” but instead to embrace a foreign language and culture.

Outlines a focused set of steps which can be undertaken from the local level to the national level to remedy this deficit in foreign language fluency.

This volume explores why Americans are among the least likely in the world to speak another language and how this U.S. foreign language deficit negatively impacts national and economic security, business and career prospects….”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

National Acadian Day (August 15th)

“The National Acadian Day is observed in Canada each year on August 15, to celebrate Acadian culture. It was during the first National Convention of theAcadians held at Memramcook, New Brunswick, in 1881 that the Acadian leaders received the mandate to set the date of this celebration, which is also the feast of the Assumption of Mary.”

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Languages do matter!

Assumption Day Holiday around the world (August 15th)

“Assumption Day on 15 August is a nationwide public holiday in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Colombia, Cyprus, East Timor, France, Gabon, Greece, Georgia (Eurasia) Republic of Guinea, Haiti, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro (Albanian Catholics), Paraguay, Poland (Polish Army Day), Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tahiti, Togo, and Vanuatu.[44]

It is also a public holiday in parts of Germany (Bavaria and Saarland) and Switzerland (in 14 of the 26 cantons). In Guatemala, it is observed in Guatemala City and in the town ofSanta Maria Nebaj, both of which claim her as their patron saint. Also, this day is combined with Mother’s Day in Costa Rica and parts of Belgium.

Prominent Catholic and Orthodox countries in which Assumption Day is an important festival but is not recognized by the state as a public holiday include Brazil, Czech Republic,Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines and Russia.

In many places, religious parades and popular festivals are held to celebrate this day. In Canada, Assumption Day is the Fête Nationale of the Acadians, of whom she is the patron saint. Some businesses close on that day in heavily francophone parts of New Brunswick, Canada. The Virgin Assumed in Heaven is also patroness of the Maltese Islands and her feast, celebrated on 15 August, apart from being a public holiday in Malta is also celebrated with great solemnity in the local churches especially in the seven localities known as the Seba’ Santa Marijiet.”

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Languages do matter!

Assumption of Mary (holiday in many countries)

“Assumption Day is a public holiday in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, France, parts of Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland (the holiday may be regional or limited to certain groups in Switzerland).”

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Languages do matter!

Multilingualism: Language Days @ the UN

Throughout the year.

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Languages do matter!


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