International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Attitudes toward Spanish and Other Foreign Languages among Undergraduates in an Engineering University


The lack of foreign language (FL) skills in the U.S. is not a new topic. News headings such as Learning a foreign language a ‘must’ in Europe, not so in American (Devlin, 2015) is not at all news. As Richard Lambert (1987: 10) has aptly put it “[m]ost of us are devoutly monolingual,” and to such extent that “[a] popular stereotype of Americans traveling abroad is the tourist who is at loss when it comes to coping with any language other than English” (Devlin, 2015).

However, there is a danger in this monolingual trend as Lambert (1987: 10) warns in the same article: “There is nothing more damaging to the American capacity to cope in a global society than the abysmally low level of foreign language competency of most Americans” (Lambert 1987: 10). It is not that funds are lacking, he claims, since at the time he was writing, the annual spending in the teaching of FLs was more than $2 billion. Nor it is lack of time investment on part of the students, since millions of them take French, German, and Spanish courses for at least two years, sometimes four, or even six in high school or college (Lambert 1987: 10)