Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Foreign Language Policies: Is Everyone Else Really Speaking English?

“Only 25% of Americans speak a second language. We rest on our laurels as speakers of English, believing that everyone else is learning our language—the language of business. And in many countries across the globe, English is being taught. However, studying English doesn’t always equal fluency or even a conversational speaking level (think back to your one or two years of high school Spanish or French!). Plus, not everyone is on the English bandwagon—by some estimates, 75% of the world does not speak English.

Let’s explore some of the policies other countries have regarding English—and why they matter to the U.S.”

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Languages do matter!


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