Journal of Languages for Specific Purposes (Mar 2014)


  • Kathleen Stein-Smith

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 1
pp. 41 – 53


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Within the framework of the U.S. foreign language deficit, the author addresses the case for Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP), and more specifically, Business Language Studies (BLS), through an examination of the relevant literature and building on her own recent doctoral research study on foreign language as a global competency within the U.S. undergraduate Global/International Studies major. Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) is one way to effectively address the U.S. foreign language deficit, highlighting the opportunities that exist for young people with foreign language skills. The role of foreign language (and of the foreign language educator) in developing intercultural competence has been addressed primarily through the European literature.Implementation of the recommendations of 2007 Modern Language Association (MLA) report, Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World, would increase the appeal of foreign language learning to the broader constituency of learners driven by career and professional goals. It is important for foreign language educators in the US to reach out and support the needs of all prospective foreign learners, and especially of those driven by career and professional goals, through a broad range of LSP and BLS programs.It is interesting to note that the collapse in U.S .foreign language enrollment, which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s and has never re-bounded in proportion to the impact of globalization, may be about to be reversed, based on the recent article by William P Rivers et al. on the level of ‘grass roots’ support for foreign language in the U.S.Lastly, the importance specifically of Europe and of European languages is stressed, as the EU is the world’s largest economy, and Europe is the largest trading partner of the U.S. In addition, Europe plays a major role on the world stage, and European culture and lifestyle have global appeal.