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American Sign Language in the News - featured December 14, 2010

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[Source: USA Today]

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
American Sign Language is close to surpassing German as the third-most-studied foreign language at America's colleges and universities.

Only 4,500 more students study German than study ASL, and enrollment in classes for the gesture-based language used by the deaf increased 16% since the last survey three years ago.

The top language studied in U.S. colleges in 2009 was Spanish, followed by French.

Arabic saw the biggest increase, up 46%, but is still studied by just 2% of all students enrolled in language courses.

The Modern Language Association survey found that 8.6% of college students at schools that teach foreign languages take them. Enrollment in language classes is up by 6.2% since the 2006 survey.

The percentage of students who studied a foreign language was highest in 1965, says Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, which conducts the triannual survey.

Students study foreign languages because of career opportunities, their heritage and globalization, says Russell Berman, a professor of German studies at Stanford University.

Ultimately, he says, it's because learning a second language is "a cornerstone of a liberal arts education" that opens doors to other cultures.

Read the Rest of this Article on USA Today.com

Tags: News of the Week Language Newsletter 17 December 2010