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The following articles offer some insights to the necessities and benefits of studying a foreign language:

Foreign language ’emergency’ hinders U.S. economy and foreign policy, report warns

“The wide disparity between the European or Chinese approach to languages and the U.S. approach suggests that we, as a nation, are lagging in the development of a critical 21st century skill,” the report said, “and that we risk being left out of any conversation that does not take place in English.”

Why America Lacks Global Leaders

Americans are seriously lagging when it comes to learning foreign languages. Only 19.7 percent of those surveyed speak a language other than English in their households. Contrast this with Europe, where 56 percent of Europeans speak a language other than their mother tongue, and 28 percent speak two foreign languages.

Clearly, in an increasingly globalized world, all this is a huge mistake. No wonder that it’s hard to find talented global leaders, particularly in America, a country in which only 30 percent of the population holds a passport. No wonder people in other countries perceive Americans to be “uncouth and obnoxious.” No wonder that when list-makers name America’s best leaders, they consistently point to PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi, a multilingual Indian woman.

The U.S. has built its economic success on being a place where people around the world come to do business — just riding the New York City subway is evidence enough of that. But in a multipolar world, America can no longer count on everyone doing business its way. If Americans want to continue to lead global companies, they will have to become better global leaders.