The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Lack of language a security risk?

Posted on December 12, 2008 by

More then 200 Million high school students in China study English while about 25,000 of their U.S. counterparts study Chinese language according to a Report from a Northwestern University graduate journalism student. It is not only  global competition in economic terms which suffers under the unwillingness of more then the half of US high school students to learn a foreign language – but, according to some,  it’s also a national security risk. A language professor was cited as saying: “As the U.S. helps piece together the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, the former intelligence agent said he suspects there will be a greater need for Urdu, spoken in Pakistan; Hindi, spoken in India; and possibly Pashto, spoken in Afghanistan or Dari, spoken in eastern Iran and western Afghanistan.”

The Marines, at least, are taking language learning from a security point of view: Working together with the monolith of language learning software – Rosetta Stone – which won a $1.2 million contract for courses, the soldiers can learn about 30 languages in 150-200 hour courses through the MarineNet distant learning portal.


I see that President-elect Barack Obama wants everyone to learn a foreign language, but which one should it be?

The British learn French, the Australians study Japanese, and the Americans prefer Spanish.

Yet this leaves Mandarin Chinese and Arabic out of the equation.

An interesting video can be seen at // and a glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

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