Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




Since the passing of Title VI of the National Defense Education Act in 1958, the notion of national need has permeated discourse surrounding foreign language education in the United States. Language programs are supposedly designed to enable students to develop communicative competence sophisticated enough to conduct international negotiations in critically needed languages. However, in practice, few students attain even rudimentary language ability. This paper explores the historical foundations of Title VI, its manifestation in South Asian language programs in three major U.S. universities, and some of its implications for program construction.