ConclusionBack to table of contents
This report draws on the best available data about language acquisition in the United States, culled from a wide variety of sources—from small-scale research studies to the U.S.
- Census—each of which provides an important perspective on questions of national importance. Existing data do not, however, provide answers to several other key questions. For instance:
- How many of the people who report proficiency in a language other than English can use it effectively in personal and professional communications?
- How many heritage students develop proficiency in their heritage languages as well as in English?
- How does a lack of language requirements, both at the K–12 and the university/college level, impact language acquisition in the United States?
- How are the nation’s business, social services, and diplomatic efforts limited by the relatively small number of Americans proficient in languages other than English?
- What are the effects of language learning on education and career success?
- How is language education impacted by today’s technologies and social media?
In its forthcoming report, the American Academy’s Commission on Language Learning will examine these and other questions in greater detail and offer a strategic agenda for increasing the nation’s capacity in international languages.