Obama’s Appeals Regarding Foreign Language Education Essay

Obama’s Appeals Regarding Foreign Language Education Essay

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The debate regarding the role of foreign language education in the public school system leaves much to be considered—from the role foreign language learning plays in our cognitive and cultural development, to the study of what it takes to become fluent in a foreign language in terms of time, energy and opportunity cost, compared with the application of the language later in life. With many stakeholders, including academics, journalists, and politicians, lending their perspectives to the argument, it’s important that we understand how the leader of our country values foreign language education, in order to better understand how foreign language will be effected in education legislation. During President Obama’s campaign run in 2008, he advocated for foreign language education, as demonstrated by CNN.com’s campaign footage, “Sen. Barack Obama on Learning Foreign Languages.” Speaking directly to his constituency as well as undecided voters, he proclaimed the value that bilingual abilities can provide Americans, as well as his own embarrassment for not being fluent in another language. Obama uses ethical appeals to express that we need to be less worried about immigrants learning English, “They’ll learn English,” and more concerned with teaching our children Spanish because having such a skill will enhance their lives; logical appeals to advocate teaching our children a foreign language early in life, while its easier to learn; and emotional appeals by proclaiming “it’s embarrassing” in regards to Europeans coming to our country speaking multiple language, including ours, whereas when we go to Europe, “all we can say is merci beaucoup.” Because Obama’s intended audience is moderate-to-liberal, or more progressive, he is able to delive...


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...ve our children learn languages at an early age as a way to make the process of language learning easier and enhance the child’s ability to learn it successfully, he was espoused for being un-American. The appeals expressed in Obama’s campaign speech were undeniably effective in garnering the support of the progressive left and sparking controversy and debate amongst the general population as a whole. Though his words were interpreted differently between the intended audience and the general public, the topic aligned with the theme of his campaign—to bring forth hope and change.


Works Cited

Obama, Barack. “Sen. Barack Obama on Learning Foreign Languages.” YouTube.com. 8 July 2008. CNN.com. 4 March 2012 .
Gheen, William. “Americans Are Being Forced To Learn Spanish!” Opinion. Broward Informer. Sunrise News Inc, 2008. Web. 18 March 2012.

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