Language Facility and Use among the Faculty of an American University


  • Robert J. Di Pietro

    1. University of Delaware
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      Robert J. Di Pietro (Ph.D., Cornell University) holds the chair of the Department of Languages & Literature, University of Delaware, Newark.


ABSTRACT In keeping with the foreign language profession's efforts to bolster student enrollments and to seek more appropriate models of language instruction, a survey was taken of language use of the faculty of a representative American university. It was felt that knowledge of how well educated Americans actually use their foreign language skills would be of value in redirecting our existing programs of instruction toward realistic goals. Eight functional categories were established in order to assess the range of multilingual use in both formal and informal settings. Respondents' attitudes toward foreign language study for themselves and their children were also solicited. The results of our survey strongly suggest that educated professionals, at least in an academic setting, find great value in foreign language study and are likely to support it, especially if it is oriented to specific language functions.