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American College Student: Learning a Second Language Essay

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Updated: Nov 13th, 2021

The question, whether American college students should be required to learn a second language, has remained a matter of debate in academic circles. I feel that there is no necessity for American college students to learn another language. Several reasons exist to substantiate my belief. First of all, English is a global language, spoken in several countries around the world. It is also the lingua Franca, or common language, that is universally accepted. The second reason is that students who study in college are usually in the age group of 17 – 22 years. This is not the ideal age for learning languages. The last reason comes in terms of the fact that learning a second language requires a lot of time and efforts. In brief, for these reasons, I do not agree that American colleges should envisage a second language for their students.

English language is spoken in a large number of countries around the world, which means American people can speak their native language in those parts. Therefore, American college students have no necessity to learn a language other than English. Indeed English language is the most important language in the world because we can use it for communicating with a larger number of people across the universe. For example I have a lot of international friends and we communicate in English language alone. Besides, English is the lingua franca, or the common language, that is universally accepted by both academic as well as corporate entities in most parts of the world. Therefore, in the case of Americans who are native speakers of English, learning a second language is a redundant exercise.

Usually a person reaches college level at the age of 16 or 17. This is too old a time to learn a language. At this stage many of the children will be involved in many other activities and these deprive them of sufficient spare time. In fact, later teens are the time for youth to develop their physical and emotional stability than to learn languages. Thus it is obvious that the best time to learn another language is as a child when the accent and other mechanics can be learned as good as native language itself. In addition, children learn a second language faster than young adults.

Finally, learning a second language and attending to assignments on the same involves a lot of time and effort on the part of students. College students usually have vast syllabus which incorporates their subject areas like science, commerce, management, accounting, other humanities etc. Having to learn an alien language at this stage will put a heavy burden on them. Besides, college students are expected to focus on their core subjects and, therefore, the efforts to learn a new language during the college years will rather become a distraction than an advantage to them.

Thus, from an evaluation of the pros and cons of the issue, it transpires that American college students need not learn a second language. They already have learned a language which is used in most parts of the world, to communicate. Further, languages must be learned at a younger age to be effectively imbibed, and college years are too late a time for this. Finally, learning a language at college level, when students have a lot to study with a focus on their core subjects, language learning will only act as an impediment than compliment to their education. Therefore, it is better to avoid a second language requirement for college students. However, if the educationalists feel that it is an absolute requirement, it may be implemented at primary stage.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "American College Student: Learning a Second Language." November 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/american-college-student-learning-a-second-language/.

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