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.
» Read more
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.
»» Read more
Aenia Amin (BA Hispanic Studies)
The Association Between Metabolism and the Expression of Circadian Regulatory Genes (Oral Presentation) 10:15-10:30 MSC Great Room I Biomedical Sciences
Kyle Binaxas (BA Multidisciplinary Studies: Russian Studies)
Soviet Animation Before and After Khrushchev’s Thaw: Historical and Critical Analysis (Poster UP 23) 8:15-12:15 MSC Social Room Social Sciences
Kimberly Bostick (BA Hispanic Studies)
Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Food Insecurity in Obese Pediatric Patients (Poster UP 43) 10:15-2:30 MSC Social Room Human Health
Charles Jauss (BA Hispanic Studies)
Understanding Cultural Self-Efficacy Among Medical Students (Poster UP 35) 10:15-2:30 MSC Social Room Human Health
Jessica Rassau (BA Multidisciplinary Studies: Classical Civilization)
The Training and Decisions of King Leonidas (Oral Presentation) 1:30-1:45 MSC Great Room 2 Social Sciences
Alix Rothbart (Hispanic Studies Minor)
Stress, Burnout and Coping Mechanisms among Health Professionals working in Pediatric Oncology (Poster UP 38) 10:15-2:30 MSC Social Room Human Health
Sarah Sipe (BA German)
Intensity of Amyloid-beta (A) peptides and the exposure of their hydrophobic residues in forming amyloid plaques (Poster UP 98) 8:15-2:30 MSC Room 221 Biomedical Sciences
» 2015 RCAW Program
For many years, ECU Hispanic Studies majors have been selected as Cultural Ambassadors to teach English in Spain. In 2014-15, Robert Colson and Mario Becerra are serving as language and cultural assistants in Spanish schools. These cultural exchanges are transformative experiences, often leading our majors to pursue graduate education in country.
Cassidy Ann Cloninger: Úbeda (Jaén)
Erika Nassar: very close to Granada, capital
Robert Colson: El Palmar de Troya (Sevilla)
Mario Becerra: Mallorca, applying for MA programs in Spain
Erika Nassar: very close to Granada, capital, accepted into an MA program in Spain
Students often pursue opportunities like this for a gap year between undergraduate and graduate school. They receive a work visa (apply from the Consulate in D.C), medical insurance, and a monthly stipend of ca. $1,000. The work commitment is approximately 12-16 hours per week.
»» Website for more information