Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dramatic decline in number of university students taking modern foreign languages

Dramatic decline in number of university students taking modern foreign languages
The Telegraph, 14 Feb 2015
UK figures:

Entrants for modern foreign language degree courses fell by 16 per cent between 2007/08 and 2013/14, Higher Education Statistics Agency's latest (HESA) data shows. French and German entrants have sharply declined over the past seven years.

"The statistics will spark fresh concerns about the future of language study, amid reports that some university departments are being forced to cut back or close down due to a lack of demand."

US figures:

US Language Enrollments and Percentage change (2009-2013)
Published by MLA in February 2015.

Spanish 790,756 -8.2%
French 197,757 -8.1%
American Sign Language 109,577 19%
German 86,000 -9.3%
Italian 71,285 -11.3%
Japanese 66,740 -7.8%
Chinese 61,055 2%
Arabic 32,285 -7.5 %
Latin 27,192 -16.2%
Russian 21,962 -17.9%
Greek, Ancient  12,917 -35.5%
Hebrew, Biblical 12,551 -8.75%
Portuguese 12,415 10.1%
Korean 12,229 44.7%
Hebrew, Modern 6,698 -19.4%
Other languages 40,059 -6.7%

MLA attributes part of the decline in enrollments to departments and programs shutting down across the country.

Inside Higher Ed has interesting commentary on this reversal:

Not a Small World After All

See also:

Job Openings Down in English, Foreign Languages
Inside Higher Ed, 29 Feb 2015

Faculty positions decline for third year in a row, MLA report finds.

Global job search by language  skill

Neural changes underlying successful second language learning

The schematics of connectivity in the brain showing connectivity at two different times with strength indicated by line thickness. Credit: Li Lab, Penn State.

Neural changes underlying successful second language word learning: An fMRI study Link

Neuroplasticity as a function of second language learning: Anatomical changes in the human brain Link

Science Daily Article

Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young, old


"Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to researchers. "Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger," said the lead investigator."

Language learning makes your brain buff! Language learning turns your brain connections into an even bigger bowl of spaghetti! Take your pick.