One problem for Americans is that they start learning foreign languages after they are adults which is the worst time to start. Children pick up foreign languages very easily and are able to pick up the correct accent as well. This is extremely hard for adults to do. Most Americans do not seriously start to learn a foreign language until they are in college or older.
In contrast, in many foreign countries children start learning English in grade schools. Some spend some time as exchange students in U.S. high schools and then continue their studies in college.
When Americans get such a late start, it basically means that they will not attain sufficient fluency in some languages to use the foreign language for business. European languages are easy for Americans to learn and it is possible to attain sufficient fluency in Spanish or French, but it is nearly impossible to attain that level of fluency in Japanese, Chinese, Arabic or many other languages unless a person starts very young or lives in the country for some years.
With the world, especially the business world, becoming a smaller place, the education system must decide if a foreign language should be part of the education earlier. This brings another matter. If it should be a part of the early education of children, how does the system decide, which languages are most useful and which ones to teach? English is spoken as the language of business in many countries. This is in part, because of the vast holdings of the British Empire in the ...
A response continuation to the supplied statement about learning a second language in America.