A Statement by the Council of the American Studies Association
December 14, 2011

The Council of the American Studies Association supports the Modern Language Association’s statement about the importance of language study. We agree with our colleagues at the MLA that education institutions should offer students the opportunity to become fluent in a second language.  The cognitive and intellectual benefits of second language acquisition are well documented.  Language acquisition enhances opportunities for communication and collaboration in an increasingly interconnected world.  The United States is itself already a multi-lingual nation.  We believe that monolingualism places individuals at a profound disadvantage in their professional and personal lives.  As scholars of American Studies, moreover, we have recognized the importance of proficiency in multiple languages to the study of our field and lament the decreasing opportunities for language study that our students are encountering.  For these reasons, we join the Modern Language Association in calling for the development of programs that will offer college students the opportunity to achieve fluency in a second language.