The Hawkeye

Foreign language popularity fading

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Foreign language popularity fading

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A major requirement for a lot of students pursuing an undergrad degree are foreign language classes. One or two classes are required before graduation. College students nationwide and locally at ULM have struggled with foreign languages in recent years. Since 2013, there has been a decline in U.S. students enrolled in foreign language classes.
According to research by America’s Modern Language Association, the number of students taking foreign language classes dropped nine percent from 2013 to 2016. The number has been dropping since 2009.
ULM offers degrees in French and Spanish under the School of Humanities and the School of Education. Students can also minor in both subjects or study other languages like Latin, Chinese or German.
“A lot of college students do not care to learn a foreign language but have to because of major requirements. Even if you take it because of that, if one goes in with the attitude of wanting to learn at least a little bit, you not only learn another language but are able to learn another culture too,” said Elizabeth Stephens, a senior modern languages major with a concentration in Spanish.
Stephens believe a lack of interest or being forced into taking a foreign language class for a major is what keeps students from enjoying their classes and learning.
Along with Stephens, Chelsea Craig, a senior modern languages major with a concentration in Spanish, works at ULM’s language lab. The language lab offers tutoring in French, Spanish and Latin. It also included a computer lab filled with electronic learning materials for various languages. Students are encouraged to visit the lab for either extra credit opportunities or tutoring.
“I think the biggest struggle is that learning another language doesn’t come easy to everyone, so without help or motivation it can be a struggle to learn. It takes wanting to learn a language to really grasp it,” Craig said.
Craig, like Stephens, states that a student’s will to succeed plays a big part in their classroom success. One thing she does say is that learning a different language doesn’t come easy to everyone.
Language majors at ULM aren’t in abundance, but the numbers have grown in the last few years. Events like the Festival of World Languages held annually during the spring semester have helped recruit students to study foreign languages while at ULM.
Another factor that keeps foreign languages students active on campus is Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honor society. The organization has initiated Spanish students at ULM for over 30 years now. Among their members is Dr. Holloway who years later came back and has begun teaching Spanish classes on campus.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Foreign language popularity fading