|"Arabic, Korean, Chinese and Portuguese: Fastest-Growing Language Courses at U.S. Colleges"|
Posting by Staff
link to story | permalink
December 8, 2010
The surge in enrollment reflects a shift in response to current issues across the globe, officials say. Spanish, French and German remain the most popular language courses. Hebrew and Ancient Greek rates tumble.
A study named, Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, released today by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) representing 99.0% of all higher education institutions offering language courses in the United States showed that that the study of Arabic registered the largest percentage growth at US
colleges and universities since the previous MLA report in 2006.
For the first time, Arabic appeared among the ten most studied at US colleges and universities. Arabic is now the eighth most studied foreign language at US colleges and universities, up from tenth in 2006. Also registering significant increases in enrollments in the new MLA survey are Korean (up 19.1%), Chinese (up 18.2%), American Sign Language (ASL) (up 16.4%), Portuguese (up 10.8%), and Japanese (up 10.3%).
Course enrollments in languages other than English reached a new high in 2009. This increase continues a rise in enrollment in languages other than English that began in 1995. Spanish, French, and German are still the three most studied languages.
Language Enrollments Change since 2006
1. Spanish 864,986 + 5.1%
2. French 216,419 + 4.8%
3. German 96,349 + 2.2%
4. ASL 91,763 + 16.4%
5. Italian 80,752 + 3.0%
6. Japanese 73,434 + 10.3%
7. Chinese 60,976 + 18.2%
8. Arabic 35,083 + 46.3%
9. Latin 32,606 + 1.3%
10. Russian 26,883 + 8.2%
11. Ancient Greek 20,695 - 9.4%
12. Biblical Hebrew 13,807 - 2.4%
13. Portuguese 11,371 + 10.8%
14. Korean 8,511 + 19.1%
15. Modern Hebrew 8,245 - 14.2%
"Language study remains a central element of a well-rounded education. Yet while student interest in languages grows, program
cutbacks are threatening access to the study of languages students need to communicate effectively in an increasingly multicultural world. America's colleges and universities should use the findings of this report as a basis to strengthen and protect rather than reduce their commitment to language study," said Russell A. Berman, first vice president of the MLA and professor of German studies and comparative literature at Stanford University.