The American Council on the teaching of foreign languages or ACTFL, just concluded it's 2010 annual conference in our very own Boston. The conference was held in the Hynes Convention center over a period of three days Nov 19th-Nov21. Hundreds of attendees were showing off the latest in technological innovations in language learning. Learn Yu Wen took it's place alongside it's counterparts and made inroads into the teaching community; There was a good showing of it's employees with most coming for all three days of the event.
I arrived mid-morning on Friday and was waiting in a very long line. But I found it quite fascinating as I was conversing with a Japanese teacher from Detroit and a Chinese teacher from New York. After getting my pass at security I proceeded up to the third floor and entered into the convention hall. I walked around and saw all the different booths representing numerous cultures and languages.
Just about every continent on the globe was represented by an institution promoting it's main spoken language. Every language from German to Swahili was in attendance. The two giants amongst all these languages were clearly Chinese and Spanish. From a rough estimate, it would appear that at least 30% of the displays were devoted to the study of the Chinese language. Spanish would be the other major hitter with around 40% of the displays. It was quite clear to see the direction in which the world's study of foreign languages was shifting.