A foreign language is a language indigenous to another country. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to, i.e., an English speaker living in Japan can say that Japanese is a foreign language to him or her. These two characterizations do not exhaust the possible definitions, however, and the label is occasionally applied in ways that are variously misleading or factually inaccurate. Some children learn more than one language from birth or from a young age: they are bilingual or multilingual. These children can be said to have two, three or more mother tongues: neither language is foreign to that child, even if one language is a foreign language for the vast majority of people in the child's birth country. For example, a child learning English from her English father and Japanese at school in Japan can speak both English and Japanese, but neither is a foreign language to her.
Most schools around the world teach at least one foreign language. Compulsory lessons in a foreign language normally start at the end of primary school or the start of secondary school. In some countries, learners have lessons taken entirely in a foreign language.
In the 21st century the ability to communicate in more than one language is an essential skill for all Colorado learners. Learning multiple world languages, developing multiple perspectives and understanding other cultures are vital skills needed to both collaborate and compete in our global community. Languages link people locally and internationally. Interactions in languages and cultures introduce learners to new ways of thinking about, questioning, and interpreting the world. Through such interactions, learners acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that equip them for living and working in a world of diverse peoples, languages and cultures.