25
   

What languages should be taught in American schools?

 
 
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 04:59 pm
When I was in grade school, teachers said "learn Spanish, it will open up job opportunities in the future!"

Now as an adult, the only job I ever applied for that cared at all about Spanish was a parking attendant job I considered after 12th grade, and I didn't get the job despite learning Spanish. Another job I heard about would have paid six figures if I spoke Japanese.

I hear echoes of that now where people say "Learn Chinese, it will open up job opportunities in the future!"
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 25 • Views: 8,471 • Replies: 62

 
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 05:07 pm
@Banana Breath,
It depends on where you live somewhat.

Where I live, knowing Spanish is highly desireable.

Learning Japanese, Chinese, Urdu and Farsi seems like a good idea.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 05:40 pm
@chai2,
Chai quite agree

A smattering of several languages should start in first grade
Kids are underestimated allaround
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 08:36 pm
Sanscrit, Latin, Jivaro.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 08:36 pm
@Banana Breath,
Romullan , for we shall soon have revealed to you the master plan for this insignificant little segment of the 5 galaxies.
we shall enslave all of you weak little beings and make you serve the huge galactic brain stem.

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2014 08:39 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

Romullan , for we shall soon have revealed to you the master plan for this insignificant little segment of the 5 galaxies.
we shall enslave all of you weak little beings and make you serve the huge galactic brain stem.





Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2014 08:53 am
@Banana Breath,
Banana Breath wrote:
I hear echoes of that now where people say "Learn Chinese, it will open up job opportunities in the future!"


Make sure it's the right one. If you learn Cantonese, it's only good for dealing with Hong Kong where they all speak English anyway. Learn Mandarin.

Again it all depends on what you're going to be doing. If you work for a company that does a lot of business with Argentina then Spanish would be very useful.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:33 am
한국어 어때?
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 07:03 am
@FBM,
Quote:
한국어 어때?

한국어를 학습 의 가치 는 무엇인가?
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 07:06 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
Learn Mandarin.


What value do you see for the average American to learn Mandarin?
If they travel to China to get a job in a Beijing McDonalds, the ability to say "Would you like fries with that?" in Mandarin might be useful, but do you see any realistic scenarios where it would be more useful or valuable than the other language choices?
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 07:07 am
@Banana Breath,
솔직히 말 하면...별로...ㅎㅎㅎ ^^
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 09:55 am
@Banana Breath,
I don't know much about average Americans, but someone has to set up the deals with the Chinese. They are more likely to do business with a company that employs a Chinese speaker than one that doesn't.

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 10:17 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
Learn Mandarin.

Spanish would be very useful.



significant emerging markets in South America mean Spanish and Portuguese will be helpful

Mandarin is already noted in some job ads in Toronto and Vancouver.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 10:59 am
@Banana Breath,
Education is a lot more than job opportunities.

Spanish is spoken quite commonly in America. It is part of our history and our culture. Spanish was the first European language spoken in the US. We have states named Nevada and Colorado and Florida.

Learning another language is a key to being educated. Being exposed to more than one way of talking and to more than one culture is one of the best ways to open your mind.

Because of out historical and cultural links to Spanish, and the fact that so many people here speak it, I think it is an obvious choice for students to study in grade school and high school.
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 11:21 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Spanish is spoken quite commonly in America.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I'm aware that there are substantial numbers of Spanish speakers in the USA, and I speak Spanish fluently, thank you. I have also studied Italian, German and Japanese. Spanish has been useful in ordering burritos, but that doesn't make it more valuable than other languages for its educational value. Consider for instance the world of literature, which is a cornerstone of education. France has produced 15 Nobel laureates in literature, 50% more than its closest competitor, the USA at 10. Spain and produced 6, Mexico 1.

And in technology, also a cornerstone of education, consider patents issued as an indicator of the importance of various countries. Japan is number 1 at nearly 955,000 foreign utility patents issued by the USPTO as of December 2013. Spain had less than 1% of that number at 8708, Mexico had 3037. After Japan, the other most significant foreign-language countries in this arena are Germany, France and Korea in that order.
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_utl.htm

Most aspects of the culture of Spain, Mexico, or other Spanish-speaking countries can be learned without learning the language. While I promote (and practice) the importance of learning languages, I question the educational value of learning Spanish and Mandarin relative to other language choices.
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:19 pm
@Banana Breath,
I think the value is speaking a foreign language is in the challenge of seeing words put together in a way you are not used to. That said, if your only criteria for learning a language is that it promotes business opportunities, then the language to really get into is English. Learn English and learn it really well.

I'm sorry you've never been able to use your fluent Spanish other than to order burritos but I think your disdain is misplaced. I could really have used a better grasp when I went to our Mexican factories and my son will be using his when he studies abroad in Spain next semester. Just about all US manufacturing companies have facilities in Mexico and China these days, not so much in Japan. I make do without, but in order of what would advance my job, the current answer is Chinese, Spanish, German in that order.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:29 pm
@engineer,
An important use of language is making connections with people. My Spanish has been invaluable when I travel to Spanish Speaking countries. I have met really great people and had amazing experiences that I never would have been able to have without being able to speak Spanish.

The people I speak Spanish with here are bilingual. Spanish still helps communicating with and understanding people on another level. It is funny... there are some things that are better expressed in Spanish, and some in English. Often bilingual people will switch between the two languages mid-sentence without even thinking about it.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:34 pm
Students who study languages at university are the most employable along with computer programmers.
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:54 pm
@izzythepush,
Quote:
Students who study languages at university are the most employable

Yes, but WHICH languages yield the most benefits?
Banana Breath
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 12:59 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
if your only criteria for learning a language is that it promotes business opportunities

Note that I went on at length about the literature available in various languages, and technology in the form of the patents from various countries/languages, and I'll add to that... there are certain language that are intrinsically woven into various arts and technologies. In art history and music for instance, Italian is essential. Music terminology (adagio, a capella, allegro, crescendo, etc.) is Italian as is much of the musical literature of Opera.
 

Related Topics

deutsch anyone?? - Discussion by tell me why
Languages and Thought - Discussion by rosborne979
How many languages do you know ? - Discussion by mikinsmith
english to latin phrase translation - Discussion by chelsea84
What other languages would you use a2k in? - Discussion by Craven de Kere
Translation of names into Hebrew - Discussion by Sandra Karl
 
  1. Forums
  2. » What languages should be taught in American schools?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 11/14/2019 at 12:20:59