RE: Off topic: language death in the US

From: Ayers, Mike (
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 18:36:51 EST

> From: Marco Cimarosti []
> Well, one wonders: could that president's madness possibly hide some
> ingenuity?

        Not really, I suspect. Unlike the situations you describe, American
foreign language training seems by and large to have the focus that students
want - teaching them to converse in that language. I have learned this both
through personal experience and secondhand knowledge. As an example, last
night I ordered my dinner in Chinese. I have taken the equivalent of
slightly less than a college semester, and I have it on good authority that
the curriculum for my con-ed classes is the same as for the full time
college students. While I did not know the names of all the foods, I did
know how to express myself well enough, and was able to answer the questions
I was asked.

        My belief is that the real impetus here is that there really aren't
enough students to pay for the departments. Regardless of the denials,
there was probably a healthy economic impetus involved.

        In any case, I have great difficulty accepting the idea of American
students, with their grammatical woes, learning a foreign language without
any grammar training. Ick.


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