When the Modern Language Association released its study last year on trends in language enrollments, the figures that jumped out were the huge percentage increases for Arabic (+127 percent over four years) and Chinese (+51 percent). German's percentage increase was just 3.5 percent. But because the bases for Arabic and Chinese were so small, the MLA found more students studying German (94,264) than Arabic and Chinese combined.
Given that German enrollments are healthy, should German programs be on the chopping block?
Not surprisingly, language faculty members answer that question No, and generally German departments have avoided elimination in recent years, even without the benefits of the the booms of Arabic or the large total numbers of Spanish. So proponents of German study were outraged this week as some learned that the University of Southern California — a large university that boasts of its international emphasis — is eliminating its German department and not allowing any new majors or minors in the field.
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