Interest in Learning Arabic Soars
By Larry Gordon

Coming of age during the 9/11 attacks and war in Iraq, some of the students in UCLA's advanced Arabic class want to launch diplomatic or military careers. Others seek to delve into the Koran and Islamic culture. And some simply love a mind-stretching, tongue-twisting challenge.
No matter the reasons, they help fuel a trend that has made Arabic the fastest-growing spoken language of study at US colleges and universities.
Just as the teaching of Russian took off after the launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1957, more colleges than ever are starting or expanding courses in Arabic. Schools such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, USC and Pasadena City College report waiting lists for classes, with most of the demand coming from students whose families have no ties to the Islamic world… (Courtesy Los Angeles Times, 3/22/06)

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