Fade wrote:If you speak English, there is little reason to learn any other language. I submit it's a waste of time for an American to learn another language unless they feel some kind of burning need to do so. Wherever you go, people speak English. English is becoming the language of travel and the language of business. If I were to learn, say, French.. there would be nowhere in my local life to speak it. Nobody to the north speaks it, nobody to the south, nobody to the east, and there's just water to the west. Why would I bother learning it?
For daily life in the US, you shoudln't need anything besides English. Though other languages my be helpful in certain areas. Some examples would be Spanish all through CA and the southwest and Chinese in pretty much any place with a Chinatown.
If your area has a large immigrant population, many of them will not (yet) speak English, but they will need all the services that other people need- doctors, lawyers, grocery clerks, accounting, IT, whatever. You can drastically expand your business in such a community by speaking the language. Even a little bit. And of course, non-English speaking tourists create another market.
Going a bit beyond US borders, not all foreign companies have English speakers. I know of one company that relies on babblefish for all email communication between their Japanese and American offices (or they did two years ago).
Start getting your passport stamped and the benefits grow even more. Sure, people all over Northern Europe speak perfect English. Not quite so true of east Asia. There's a lot of English in Tokyo and Seoul, but much less so outside of areas that cater to tourists. I don't want to imply that you can't get anything out of foreign travel if you don't speak the language, but you will get much more out of it if you can.
Of course, perhaps the very best reason to learn another language is that it opens doors. I'm not talking about business; I already did that. I'm talking about interests. If you like video games and anime, studying Japanese will open up literal warehouses of games and videos and comic books that you'd never be able to understand otherwise. Love Opera? German and Italian will both help you appreciate it more. Got a thing for Chinese medicine? Odds are good that the best resources are not written in English. Worried about the middle east? Arabic will help you gain some insight. The list goes on....
Of course, it may well be that most of your interests are best served in English; an extra language won't open enough doors to justify the trouble. So just make do with English- if you're only going to speak one language English is the best choice. But with so much crap being taught in schools today (and often poorly taught...) it would be nice if high school were giving kids something valuable to take into real life (and it seems that an understanding of biology or basic math is too much to hope for....)
Grammy, what languages do you speak?
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -[size=75]Grammatron[/size]