Did you know...

... English is only the second most common language in the world. The first is Mandarin Chinese, which is spoken as a first language by 873 million people, and as a second language by 178 million people. In contrast, English is spoken as a first language by only 340 million people, and as a second language by 168 million people. There are twice as many Mandarin speakers than English speakers in the world!

... There are roughly 6800 languages spoken in the world today, but 96% of them are spoken by only 4% of the world's population. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 311 living languages, most of which are used only by small populations of Native Americans. Over half of all languages in the world are considered endangered languages because they are spoken by so few people and are not being passed on from one generation to the next. Language is sometimes the only link we have to indiginous oral cultures, so efforts are constantly being made to preserve these languages so that the history and culture of small populations will not disappear.

... Only 9% of Americans are bilingual or multilingual, as opposed to 53% of Europeans. This has led to a shortage of trained professionals in the US diplomatic corps, the military, and the intelligence agencies. Studying a foreign language, especially a critical needs language such as Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Korean, or Hebrew (among others), opens many job opportunities both at home and abroad.

... The United States has never had an official language. Though 24 US states have English as their official language, and Hawaii has both English and Hawiian as its official languages, the Federal Government has never adopted English as our country's official language. Only 82% of the US population has English as its first language. 10% speak Spanish, 4% speak Indo-European languages, and 4% speak Asian and Pacific Island languages. By not having English as our national language, we ensure that the 18% of Americans that do not speak English still have access to our government, our laws, our right to vote, and our culture and society as a whole.