Monday, March 4, 2013 8:23:58 PM
"I was under the impression many foreign countries automatically are taught English? "
I thought that, too, but when you travel there you'll probably find people remember as much english as the typical American remembers of the spanish they took in middle school. I was just in Germany last year and was surprised how many people didn`t speak english, including waiters which I would assume would be motivated to make tourists comfortable. I tried to go on two ghost tours because it was Halloween time and both were german only so I had to pass. I stayed in Darmstadt and the young guy who checked me in to the hotel could barely say/understand any english.
Monday, March 4, 2013 8:19:02 PM
Proximity to another country certainly creates necessity. I would bet Americans in the states bordering Mexico are far more likely to know Spanish than people in Minnesota. Plus, we already know the almost universal language of world commerce so why would we learn another language and if we did, which one would we choose? I've learned bits and pieces of german, italian, french and spanish just because I`ve travelled there and didn`t want to be completely helpless.