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Grappling With the 'Complexities' of the German Language

January 02, 1988

William Tuohy's article (Part I, Dec. 26) on the learning of the German language points out that 75% of British students study French and 20% study German. Might I then suggest that the problem with the study of German or any other foreign language in the United States, where fewer than 20% of the students study any foreign, lies not with the foreign language but with American insularity?

Americans seem to believe that all the world must learn our language while we continue to take a severe beating in foreign trade. And our cultural image is equally bleak. Americans are woefully ignorant of other cultures or even of the geography of other countries. A major step toward world peace would be for Americans to bridge these deplorable gaps through the promotion of the study of foreign languages and not through discouragement by repeating the tired and flippant remarks of Mark Twain (who, incidently, spoke German well).

HARVEY L. KENDALL

Long Beach

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