I of course agree with that sentiment, but there's a few places where I can't quite agree with what he's saying.
In American schools, we wait until the brain has turned off the ability to easily learn language and then we start drilling our kids and young adults in a new grammar and vocabulary. It’s no wonder so many of them think it is such a drag.I've argued before that it's more about the method used than the age, but there seems to be some support beyond my little hypothesis as well. I'm also happy proffer myself up as an example; I learned all my languages after the age of 18, and I didn't find it particularly hard. And go ask Steve Kaufmann at what age exactly he decided to pick up Russian.
He then goes on:
Opportunities to study language in school — instead of through private lessons or expensive software like Rosetta Stone — will not appear unless something else changes first.He then goes on to say that Americans need a change in the way they think about foreign languages. That probably wouldn't hurt, but I'd start with the teaching method: painfully boring classes mean low demand means few students means few classes. And I'd say he should also check out Exhibit A: Drake University.
And I would be remiss to not point out that there are tons of ways to learn languages without school, private lessons, or expensive software. Browsing this blog, the blog roll, or a few quick Google searches should get you plenty of examples.
Link: Learning foreign languages? Why bother? [Albert Lea Tribune]