America teach your kids a foreign language

Foreign languages should be part of the curriculum of every primary and secondary school in America. Incorporating foreign language instruction would be highly beneficial for the U.S.’s national security, development of soft power, cultural literacy, and understanding of the world.

Did you know that Swiss people are at least fluent in two languages whether they be Swiss, Swiss-German, Swiss-French, or Swiss-Italian? Did you know that Israel is considered to be one of the most multilingual nations of the world?

Here are some more questions. Were you aware that German is a language that is necessary to know when studying modern and continental philosophy, psychology, theology, textual criticism, linguistics, and philology because a lot of key, groundbreaking, or historical works for these fields were written in German?

Well, whether you knew these bits of trivia or not, hopefully you caught onto the fact that:

  1. It is possible for a nation to have a multilingual society.
  2. Knowledge of particular foreign languages is important for research and/or academic study and scholarship.
  3. Huge chunks of the world community speak the same language.

Now, what does all this information mean for America?

From a national security angle, the U.S. faces certain threats and challenges and a polyglot citizenry is a key in combatting these issues.

America daily experiences cyber-terror attacks and corporate espionage from the People’s Republic of China. Islamic terror groups from Arab nations, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and seek and strive to kill Americans in the U.S. and abroad. The Russian Federation, to quote Mitt Romney, is a geo-political foe of the United States in that it supports and cooperates with nations and non-state actors that are hostile and bellicose to the U.S.

The intelligence agencies of the United States need people that are fluent in Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Pashtun, and Russian to tackle these threats and challenges.

If the U.S. wanted to improve its image and standing around the world, it makes sense for more Americans in the public and private sector to be multilingual. Even though the modern trade language is English, the language you are reading right now is estimated to be the world’s third most spoken language. Therefore, a polyglot society of Americans is sensible if America wanted to expand its influence abroad by political, cultural, and economic means.

Knowledge of another language can and will help you best comprehend how other people think and believe.

For example, if you can read the Qur’an in Arabic (or at least comprehend it when recited), you verily will know more about a major cultural and historical force that impacts, directs, and affects the lives of at least 1.2 billion souls.

Knowing another tongue opens up a new world for an individual. It is often remarked that something expressed in one language cannot be equally expressed in other for a myriad of reasons.

Knowledge of other languages allows people to know how other people in the world think and process their thoughts. Foreign language instruction will help Americans to not be xenophobic and ethnocentric. American students learning other tongues will enable them to better appreciate the cultural differences of other nations and societies.

In order for America to achieve any of this, it might want to follow the aspects of the Swiss and Israeli models of education that deal with teaching foreign languages. America can adopt both nations’ approaches and improve them.