March 23, 2015
By Michael D. Gordin
In mid-February, The Chronicle reported the results of a study by the Modern Language Association about foreign-language enrollments in the United States. Let’s just say that something would be rotten with the state of Danish, if American institutions actually offered that language (which they generally don’t).
After 20 years of growth, enrollments in foreign-language courses fell 6.7 percent between 2009 and 2013. Not all languages were hit equally hard. Spanish is still the most frequently studied foreign language in the United States — its enrollments are higher than all others combined — with French in second place. Yet even Spanish has declined. Meanwhile, American Sign Language has moved up to third, displacing German.
These trends are not unique to America, but they do seem to concentrate in Anglophone nations. The educational systems of other countries encourage the study of foreign languages — at the very least, buckling down on English training, essentially compulsory in pre-university and university education in many nations. Yet those people who by accident of birth are born speaking what has become a global language have apparently ceased to see the utility or the desirability of knowing how to speak or read any other tongue. In October 2013, The Guardian reported that the number of British universities offering degrees in modern foreign languages had declined by 40 percent over the previous 15 years, and the trend is accelerating.
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By Sharieka Breeden
March 10, 2015
Recent attacks on ancient archeological sites by the Islamic State add a layer of horror atop an already terrible toll inflicted by the terrorist group, East Carolina University Department of Anthropology staff said Monday.
According to The Associated Press, the destruction of the nearly 3,000-year-old city of Nimrud in Iraq is part of the Sunni extremist group’s campaign to enforce its interpretation of Islamic law by purging ancient relics they say promote idolatry.
Reports indicate that the group bulldozed sites at Nimrud on Friday. They also released video of fighters smashing artifacts in the Mosul museum, and explosions and bulldozers hit Hatra, another ancient site near Mosul, on Saturday.
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SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
9:30 Registration (Parking)
10:00 Maura Heyn, UNCG, Til Death Do Us Join: Provincial Portraiture in the Roman World
10:45 John Stevens, ECU, Doctus Vergil: 11 Lines That Lay the Foundation of Rome
11:30 Business Meeting
12:00 Lunch (Lunch Reservation Form due March 13)
1:00 Rebecca A. Sears, WFU, Musicians, Instruments, and Musical Documents in Roman Egypt
1:45 Robyn Le Blanc, UNC-CH, The Importance of Being Greek: Gods and Heroes in Roman Palestine
Pitt County Schools is launching a dual language immersion program at Belvoir Elementary School in the fall, where 48% of students are native Hispanic speakers. The program, with rotating instruction in Spanish and English, will be offered to all incoming kindergartners with parent approval.
Pitt County Schools World Language Coordinator, Ann Borisoff, says research shows there are scholastic benefits to bilingual instruction. “What happens is that a different part of the brain is accessed when you are working with a bilingual situation. Actually, learning in a lot of cases goes a lot faster and students obtain the same or better results on academic achievement tests as do their monolingual peers,” Borisoff.
»» WNCT Story
(Last year’s post from 3/21/14):
Pitt County Schools is doing a feasibility study on two-way immersion programs to start in 2015-16. In such programs the entire curriculum is taught partially in Spanish and partially in English. Prof. Ann Borisoff who has just completed a dissertation on this subject was featured in an article in The Daily Reflector on March 4, discussing the benefits of such an approach in Pitt County where schools like Belvoir Elementary are 48% Hispanic.
Borisoff said that not only do all the students become bilingual and biliterate, but achievement improves and students develop cross-cultural competence. Data from programs such as the dual immersion program in Greene County have shown that students in such language immersion programs not only learn the standard curriculum despite the language challenges, but actually perform equal or better on grade level tests than their mono-lingual peers. A sample classroom might be an equal mix of native-Spanish and native-English speakers on an alternate day schedule in which the same curriculum is taught exclusively in Spanish one day and in English the next.
Frédéric Fladenmuller was invited to speak at Centre de recherches Proustiennes de la Sorbonne nouvelle (the official center in France of Proustian research housed at the Sorbonne in Paris). The occasion was the publication of Prof. Fladenmuller’s fifth monograph, Proust ou l’écriture inversive. Du temps perdu au temps retrouvé. Prof. Fladenmuller’s talk on Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, In Search of Lost Time, was entitled, “Proust and the revolution of style: inversive writing.”
Prof. Fladenmuller is also author of a previous study on Proust’s masterwork, Télescopie. La science du genre d’ À la recherche du temps perdu. Prof. Fladenmuller’s other studies have included two works on the modern novel, La voix neutre du chaos: étude sur la complexité de textes modernes and Caractérisation et les modes de la narration dans le roman moderne. Théorie de caractérologie narratologique. All were published by Peter Lang.
Last year, on the 100th anniversary of the publication of “Swann’s Way,” part I of À la recherche, Prof. Fladenmuller was invited to contribute a submission to a special edition of Bulletin Marcel Proust. He was also awarded the Palmes Academiques in recognition of his cumulative contributions to the promotion of French culture.
Linguists have traced the roots of English, Hindi, Greek and all Indo-European languages to a common ancestor tongue first spoken on the Russian steppes as much as 6,500 years ago.
New research from the University of California-Berkeley emerged after linguists analyzed reconstructed vocabulary, including words such as “I am,” “bear,” and “wood” from more than 150 living and dead languages, as well as archaeological data.
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