Study of Arabic language has grown 127%
The Modern Language Association of America (MLA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to language and literature study, released a comprehensive new survey showing significant increases in foreign language study at U.S. colleges and universities since 2002.
The report, “Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education,” Fall 2006, provides detailed information on student interest in dozens of languages. The MLA has collected language study data since 1958. The survey of 2,795 colleges and universities, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides an exceptional barometer of U.S. student interest in foreign language and cultures. The study showed that foreign language enrollments in the U.S. are at their highest levels since 1960; that the study of Arabic grew 127% since 2002, placing it on the top ten list for the first time; and the number of schools offering Arabic study has nearly doubled since 2002. The study showed that interest in Asian languages has also grown significantly, with Chinese up by over 50%. Spanish holds the “most-studied” slot; French and German are growing more slowly than American Sign Language, Portuguese, Japanese, and Modern Hebrew. Interest in less commonly taught languages has grown by more than 30% since 2002.