January 22, 2012

Editorial: Are We Really Monolingual?

From http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/are-we-really-monolingual.html?_r=1

Are We Really Monolingual?
January 14, 2012

The widespread assumption is that few Americans speak more than one language, compared with citizens of other nations — and that we have little interest in learning to speak another. But is this true?

The celebrated multilingualism of not just Europe but also the rest of the world may be exaggerated. The hand-wringing about America’s supposed linguistic weakness is often accompanied by the claim that monolinguals make up a small worldwide minority.

Multilinguals may outnumber monolinguals, but it’s not clear by how much. The average American may be no more monolingual or less multilingual than any other average person elsewhere on the planet. At the very least, we can’t say for sure — not in any language.

Read Mr. Erard’s editorial at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/are-we-really-monolingual.html?_r=1

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