90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Languages We’re Learning Now

No jobs at home? Looking abroad? We’ll look at the languages Americans are studying today. What’s hot, what’s not and where they lead.

In this Feb. 15, 2013 photograph, Myrtle Hall IV Elementary School teacher Gabrielle Wooden, left, and Camilyn Anderson, 7, lead their first grade class in a live action Spanish class in Clarksdale, Miss. Students attend a language immersion magnet school where Spanish is taught. (AP)

In this Feb. 15, 2013 photograph, Myrtle Hall IV Elementary School teacher Gabrielle Wooden, left, and Camilyn Anderson, 7, lead their first grade class in a live action Spanish class in Clarksdale, Miss. Students attend a language immersion magnet school where Spanish is taught. (AP)

To put it mildly, Americans have never been the world’s greatest foreign language learners.  Far from it.  We’ve had a big country of English speakers and a native tongue that just kept spreading around the world.  But the language map of this big, globalized planet is still a very diverse one.  And intrepid Americans still keep diving in to learn.  Japanese had its heyday.  Russian.  Arabic after 9/11.  Now Chinese.  And of course, Spanish all over this country.  This hour On Point:  Foreign language learning in the USA now.  What’s hot, what’s not, and where it leads.

– Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Michael Geisler, vice president for language schools, schools abroad and graduate schools at Middlebury College. Professor in lingustics and languages and professor of German.

John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an international job placement consulting firm. (@ChallengerGray)

Nicole Wilson, vice president of language learning products at Rosetta Stone.

Clive Thompson, Contributing editor at WIRED. Author of: “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For the Better.” (@pomeranian99)

From Tom’s Reading List

Forbes: America’s Foreign Language Deficit –More and more students and their parents understand the need to communicate with friends and foes in other countries, and not just on our terms.  Demand for and enrollment in foreign language courses is at its highest level since 1968.  At public K-12 schools, course enrollment in 2007-2008 reached 8.9 million individuals, about 18.5 percent of all students; between 1995 and 2009, it increased 47.8 percent at colleges and universities.

Chronicle of Higher Education: In New Partnership, James Madison U. Offers Credit for Online Rosetta Stone Course — “With less fanfare, a similar deal was recently signed between James Madison University and the language-learning company Rosetta Stone. The public university in Virginia will grant credit to online-only students who complete a 16-week introductory conversational Spanish course produced and largely managed by Rosetta Stone, which sells one of the world’s most popular language-learning programs.”

Business Insider: The 10 Easiest Foreign Languages For English Speakers To Learn –“Frisian is native to Friesland in the Netherlands, and is spoken by fewer than half a million people. Still, it is English’s closest sibling, uniquely connected in the tiny linguistic category of North Sea Germanic languages.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments