"shared solutions for common problems"


This is the website of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL). We are an organization that represents the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) in the United States. More specifically, this website is designed to address the communication and information needs of the members of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), as well as those of other organizations, institutions, and individuals interested in the teaching and learning of the LCTLs in the United States.

Approximately ninety-one percent of Americans who study foreign languages in our schools, colleges, and universities choose French, German, Italian, or Spanish; while only nine percent choose languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese,Yoruba, Russian, Swahili and the other languages spoken by the overwhelming majority of people around the world.

While many of the less commonly taught languages are critically important to our national interest in the 21st century, the low level of current enrollments jeopardizes the very existence of the relatively few existing programs, and significantly restricts access to language learning opportunities for the large majority of students in the United States.

This website supports NCOLCTL in its efforts to address the issue of national capacity in the LCTLs by facilitating communications among member organizations and with the governmental, private, heritage, and overseas sectors of the language community. Its ultimate goal is to increase the collective impact of LCTL constituencies on America's ability to communicate with peoples from all parts of the world.

Mission & Vision Statement

NCOLCTL's mission is to increase the number of Americans who choose to learn one or more of the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) as a means of enhancing cross-cultural communication among citizens of the United States. NCOLCTL's work focuses on the less commonly taught languages which are becoming increasingly vital to the security, economic, social and political welfare of the United States. NCOLCTL seeks to improve the teaching and learning of these languages and to make them more generally available.

Read more

Objective & Activities

Before NCOLCTL was established in 1990 there were no institutional mechanisms that worked to integrate issues important to less commonly taught languages into national systems of foreign language instruction in the United States. Since being established, NCOLCTL has carried out a variety of activities to raise the awareness of the importance of less commonly taught languages and to build a framework for the development of professions focusing on the teaching and learning of these languages.

Read more