Choosing a Language

There are many ways to determine which languages should be part of the dual language offerings of the District. And states around the US go about it in different ways. What companies does the District want to attract? From which countries does the District want to attract foreign direct investment?

These are the languages needed by the companies that operate in the DC Region.

These are the languages spoken by the 110,000 DC residents which speak a language other than English at home. What about the heritage languages of DC residents?

These are the languages spoken by the foreign tourists who are currently visiting DC. Foreign tourists in DC spend three times as much as domestic tourists. Which foreign visitors does the District want to attract?

Should we look at the languages most spoken in the world, the ones most spoken in the US, those most commonly used in business around the world, those most commonly used in trade with the US, the critical languages needed by our federal government, the ones which allow us to study the past, or the ones that allow us to travel the furthest?

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Some consistency in languages is important to ensure scalability of the expansion of dual language programs, and states such as Utah have multiple programs in as many as 5 languages.

The good news is that being immersed in a foreign language during early childhood increases our children’s cognitive skills and the ease with which they acquire further languages, regardless of which language they are immersed in.  Bring on Piscataway*!

*variant of the Nanticoke language spoken by the Nacotchtank people who lived in the area that is now Washington DC during the 17th century.

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