FUTURE AMBASSADORS

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Kids say the darnedest things — and increasingly they are saying them in Spanish, French, German and Japanese. According to New York City-based Simmons Market Research Bureau, 1 in 15 English-speaking kids between the ages of 9 and 11 (6.5 percent) are enrolled in a foreign language class. Girls of this age group are almost twice as likely as boys to take on a new language (8 percent versus 5 percent). And talking in tongues may even help youngsters with their other schoolwork. According to Simmons, kids who attend a foreign language class are significantly more likely to say they enjoy school than those who do not (55 percent versus 45 percent). They are also more likely to say that it is important to work hard at school (86 percent versus 78 percent) and that they enjoy reading books (59 percent versus 40 percent). But beware: Les petits gamins also have a penchant for the limelight. Fully 61 percent of kids studying a foreign language today say they want to be famous, compared with 55 percent of those who are content to speak only English.

SOPHISTICATED PALATES

Kids studying a foreign language are more likely to eat croissants and imported cheeses than their monolingual counterparts.

PERCENT OF CHILDREN (AGES 9 TO 11) WHO EAT: ENROLLED IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS NOT ENROLLED IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS
Croissants 40% 36%
Doughnuts 71% 78%
Imported cheese 19% 12%
American processed cheese 80% 83%
Lamb or veal 16% 14%
Sloppy Joe 49% 56%
Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2001
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