Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: August 2016

Kathy’s new book and summer update

I am delighted to share with you that my new book, The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit:  Strategies for Maintaining a Competitive Edge in a Globalized World (Palgrave Macmillan), is now available online, print to follow in September.

What a wonderful end to a pleasant and productive summer!  🙂

As you know, I spoke at the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French) annual conference in Austin in early July on “French Language Skills — Your Career Differentiator.”  

My article — “Why French?” — was published in the July issue of Language Magazine, distributed to all in attendance.

Also in July, I served once again as French language facilitator, assisting the French language winners in developing their UN presentations in French and accompanying them to the UN, at Many Languages One World (MLOW), an initiative of the UN Academic Impact to highlight the role of multilingualism in global citizenship and to encourage study of the official languages of the UN.  This year’s winners presented on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN.

My article — “Beyond Foreign Languages: Foreign Language as a Global Competency in International Education”  — was published in the May/June issue of International Educator, distributed to all in attendance at the 2016 NAFSA annual conference.

I have also been invited to join the CSCTFL (Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Advisory Council.

Chair, AATF Commission on Advocacy

Member, ATA Education & Pedagogy Committee

Member, CSCTFL Advisory Council                         

“The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit — What It Is; Why It Matters; and What We Can Do about It.”  TEDx Talk.

The U.S. Foreign Language Deficit: Strategies for Maintaining a Competitive Edge in a Globalized World — now available

My new book — available online, print to follow.  🙂

New book cover 08-16

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Living in… the world’s most emotional countries

“Residents of Bolivia, Guatemala, Iraq, Cambodia and the Philippines explain what it’s like to live in a highly expressive culture.

GDP may be used to measure a country’s economy, but it doesn’t tell you what it’s like to live in a certain place. That’s partly why Bhutan chooses to measure GNH, or Gross National Happiness, instead.

To address the intangible factors that make up a country and its people, Gallup regularly conducts a Global Emotions Report. The survey, which covers 148 countries, aims to see how often residents feel positive or negative emotions on a day-to-day basis, resulting in data that illustrates where in the world people are more likely to laugh – or experience anger.

Based on the latest report, Latin America holds the majority of the world’s most emotional countries, with Iraq, Cambodia and the Philippines also in the top 10. We sought out residents in these countries to find out what it’s like to live in a place where feelings – both good and bad – run high.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

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.

Please feel free to contact me on FB @

or by email @

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.”

Read more @

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.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!