Монологи на английском языке с текстом и переводом. №73. Тема: Изучение иностранных языков в Соединённых Штатах.

Does anyone know what we call someone who can speak two languages?
Correct. What do we call someone who can speak three languages?
Right. And what do we call someone who can speak just one language?
Uh, monolingual?
No. We call them American. Actually, the stereotype that Americans expect everyone else in the world to learn English has begun to change. More university students are studying foreign languages than ever before - one-point-four million.
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An increasing number of these are even learning a language independently, not for credit. And in high schools, the percentage of students taking language courses nearly doubled between 1948 and 1998, from 21 to 41 percent. Evening language classes are likewise experiencing an enrollment boom. Enrollments have increased in every language, including French and German, which posted declining enrollments in the 1990s.
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So we're making progress. But we shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back too hard. It remains a fact that only about 10 percent of Americans speak a second language fluently, compared, for example, with 53 percent of Europeans. This prompted the US Congress to pass a resolution declaring 2005 as "The Year of Languages." The resolution points out that studying a foreign language has several benefits.
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One, it improves students' critical thinking abilities. Two, statistics indicate that studying another language raises students' scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. I guess this news comes a little late for you guys. All of you already took your SATs. So, moving on...Three, it increases their appreciation of other cultures. Language is tied to culture. So students studying Russian are being exposed to Russian culture, at least to a small extent.
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And four, it helps the US remain competitive in international business, where companies are complaining that they can't find enough workers who speak the native language of their target markets. Unfortunately, this resolution made by Congress to make 2005 "The Year of Languages" did not include any money to implement foreign language study in elementary education.
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Research shows that it's important to offer foreign language instruction in the early grades, but there is rarely enough money to do so in local school district budgets. Let's face it. Our elementary teachers all believe in their hearts that reading, writing, and mathematics are the keys to academic achievement, so they direct most of their energy and the school's scarce money to those three areas. On the bright side, the situation is improving.
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The government has created a Foreign Language Assistance Program - the acronym is FLAP - to help fund foreign language programs in elementary and secondary schools. The state of Wyoming used a three-year FLAP grant to begin four different models of foreign language education across the state. And Louisiana has become the first state to mandate foreign language instruction for students in grades four through eight. Louisiana is negotiating with officials in other countries to try and set up teacher exchange programs.
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