How did you grow up? Did you hear one language at home and another one at school? Or did you learn your second language in the classroom? How old were you?
America prides itself for giving much of the educational requirements to individual states. But what we are seeing is a wide variety of language requirements across the country. Some require language in High School only, some are starting to offer it in Elementary school and even other districts don’t require any foreign language at all.
Europe is also diverse in it’s requirements. Ireland teaches both English and Gaelic, but doesn’t distinguish them as “foreign” languages because both are registered as a national language. Countries like Norway, Portugal and Italy require 2 foreign languages and start teaching kids by age 6.
It is no secret that if you do not ride a bike for long period of time, you lose your ability to ride a bike well. Can you still peddle and steer at the same time? Probably. But you won’t be as efficient or as fast at it.
The same applies to language. A spoken language vanishes every 2 weeks. That is an astonishingly fast rate. There are many reasons a language can disappear. The next generation learns a more main stream language in school and the older dialects fade away. A rural village that has kept their native tongue can be wiped out by natural disasters. How much is natural selection and how much have we willingly destroyed?