As English emerges as the lingua franca of many international corporations worldwide, academic institutions are erroneously retracting funds from language-learning programs, citing the lack of need or the inability to support nonessentials. With this approach, the true needs of language learners have been neglected. The blame can easily be placed on institutions that misunderstand the additional benefits learners garner while pursuing language studies (i.e., culture). However, it can be argued that the blame is actually that of the language educators who fail to arm themselves with the proper ammunition to argue their side properly. The administrators who decide the fate of language programs often remain uninformed about the reality of foreign language curricula. Language programs that focus on specialized purposes (LSP) can prepare students linguistically and culturally, as well as complement their education in content areas such as business and the sciences. A curriculum shift that encompasses important language and cultural nuances found in traditional classrooms, but also includes topics relating to the professional world outside of academia, is essential. Courses in LSP provide learners with a global perspective and language skills that surpass the qualifications of their monolingual counterparts. Funds and support will continue to be stripped from language programs across the US unless language instructors can demonstrate that language learning is not an isolated discipline, but rather part of a merging of complementary fields.
Gerndt, Jennifer L. M.
"Shifting the Curriculum to Language for Specific Purposes,"
Global Business Languages:
Vol. 17, Article 2.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/gbl/vol17/iss1/2