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The Sciences

Americans should study languages other than just English.

The IntersectionBy The IntersectionJanuary 28, 2011 2:53 AM


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This is a guest post composed as part of the NSF Science: Becoming the Messenger workshop, Lawrence KS January 27, 2011

The country is rapidly becoming more and more multilingual . Even in a state like Kansas, over 10 per cent of the children speak a language other than English at home, and that percentage is rising rapidly. many states have far more than that. In the former Old West town of Dodge City, over half of the children speak a language other than English at home, probably Spanish, Vietnamese, or Cambodian. Our brains are primed to acquire languages easily whenever we are exposed to enough of that speech, and the earlier in life the better. In terms of our ability to learn new languages, we use it or lose it. However, it’s never too late to learn. Even better, learning a second language does not interfere with you ability in your first language. Also, bilinguals are more flexible and creative thinkers than monolinguals and can focus their attention more easily. Being bilingual will help you get a job, especially in business or retail. It helps us to take other people’s points of view and makes international travel much more interesting. May we soon see the day where americans will no longer be defined as those who only know one language. by Richard Jackson Harris

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