COMMON LANGUAGE

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Uh oh, poor Berlitz. Word on the street is that sales of foreign-language phrase books could be on the decline soon. According to a survey conducted in July 2002 by Rochester, N.Y.-based market research firm Harris Interactive, more Americans today say they'd prefer vacationing in an English-speaking country than in one where another language is spoken. In fact, of the top five foreign countries that Americans say they would like to visit if money were not an issue, four are English-speaking. In an identical Harris study conducted in 2001, only two of the top five most desirable travel destinations were English-speaking nations. While Italy, Germany and France lost favor during the past year, Canada (despite its official dual language policy) was one of the biggest movers on the list, climbing to the No. 4 spot on the preferred destination list in 2002 from No. 9 in 2001.

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From 2001 to 2002, English-speaking countries gained popularity among Americans wishing to travel abroad, whereas today, nations whose citizens speak a different language fell in popularity.

RANK OF COUNTRIES THAT AMERICANS WOULD MOST LIKE TO VISIT IF COST WAS NOT AN ISSUE:

2002 2001
Australia 1 1
Great Britain 2 3
Italy 3 2
Canada 4 9
Ireland 5 6
France 6 4
Germany 7 5
Switzerland 8 8
Jamaica 9 7
Barbados 9 *
*Not among the top 15 countries mentioned in 2001.
Source: Harris Interactive
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