Students in US colleges and universities are not signing up for Indian languages at remotely the scale languages like Arabic, Chinese or Korean  experience, a South Asia expert noted citing the survey by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

"Indian languages follow a path less travelled," wrote Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, citing MLA's quadrennial language enrollments survey of foreign languages in US higher education.

The big post-9/11 national security interest that resulted in many more Americans studying Arabic did not have the same impact on Indian  languages, she noted.

Nor has India's economic rise resulted in the dramatic growth in numbers languages like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean have seen, Ayers said.

"Of course it's harder to compare India's many languages with each of these, but even when including all the Indian language enrollments in the United States combined, the number still doesn't cross 4,000," she noted.

For 2013, Indian language enrollments dropped to 3,090 from the 3,924 in 2009. These included Hindi (1800), Hindi-Urdu (533), Urdu (349), Punjabi (124), Tamil (82), Bengali (64), Telugu (51), Malayalam (44), Nepali (27), Gujarati (6) Kannada (5) and Marathi (5).Ayers contrasted it with the scale of study that Japanese (nearly  67,000), Chinese (over 61,000), and Korean (more than 12,000) had in the US during 2013."In the case of India and its official and many other languages, I'm afraid that Americans do not see these as a high priority compared with  other choices," she said.

The pattern appears as well in US study abroad destinations, where India does not even make the top 10, Ayers said.

According to the survey, during 2013, the year the newly-released data covers, foreign language enrollments dropped overall by 6.7 percent since the prior survey year, 2009.Only four languages saw increases in their enrollments from 2009 to 2013:  Korean, with a whopping nearly 45 percent, American Sign Language, Portuguese and Chinese.

The most studied foreign language in the US was Spanish, with nearly 800,000 enrollments, and French occupied the second slot with nearly 200,000.

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