WorldView: A Language Blog

WorldView is a place for leaders in the fields of language education, global citizenship, immersion learning, and other topics central to the Concordia Language Villages mission to address issues important to their fields.

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Reflecting on the Past Year: 2019

By The Concordia Language Villages Group Directors | Published: December 16, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we take a look back at some past WorldView blogposts that caught the attention of the group directors at Concordia Language Villages. Each director recaps why the topic appealed to them and encourages you to take a second look if you missed it the first time around. And we send our best holiday greetings from all of us at Concordia Language Villages to wherever you may be in the world!

Headshot of Mark Kenji Chen

Mark Kenji Chen is the group director for the Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Russian Language Communities and Educator Programs.

Du Courage:  Translating a Feeling (posted February 19, 2019). David Horner-Ibler describes his personal experiences with courage, a key component of Concordia Language Villages’ mission. While we often think of the big, public acts of courage, Horner-Ibler eloquently argues for us to place greater value on the more personal and private acts of courage. Also of interest, Horner-Ibler notes how translations can often be imperfect as they transcend cultures. As language enthusiasts, we would tend to agree that ideas do not always transfer neatly from one language to another.


It's Okay—No, It's GREAT—to Talk to Your Babies in Two or Three Languages! (posted March 5, 2019). We know—because many of us have experienced it—that language can be learned at any age. However, it is an arguably different experience for our youngest learners. Stacie N. Berdan relates her experience with parents raising their child bilingually yet concerned about their child’s possible confusion among languages. Extensive research—and my own personal, life experience —has shown that children raised in multilingual environments may demonstrate ‘code-switching’ in the short term, but over time, match or exceed their monolingual peers in language proficiency.

 

Alexander Arguelles is the group director for the Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish Language Communities and the Language Discovery Program.

How Did This Happen? College World Language Programs are Disappearing at an Alarming Rate (posted February 4, 2019). Our executive director, Christine Schulze, summarizes and analyzes a report about a Modern Language Association study in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which documents that 651 language programs were cut from colleges between 2013–2016, whereas only one program was cut between 2010–2013. Obviously, a huge and terrible shift is underway. Top-down budgetary considerations drive most of this, but also bottom-up student lack of demand. If students were to arrive at college with a strong language background—such as the one they get at Concordia Language Villages!—and seek to continue learning languages, world language programs would not be at such risk.  

Why French Remains an Important Language Today (posted November 12, 2019). Picking up where the previous blogpost left off … of all languages being cut from programs today, French is the biggest loser on campuses across the country. Spanish is clearly dominant, and languages like Korean and Arabic are growing in popularity, so French, which was long seen as the most important language to learn because it was the international language of diplomacy for centuries, is seen as less and less important. In this post, Sean Patrick Hopwood reviews historical, cultural, linguistic and social reasons why the study of French is actually just as relevant and important as it ever was.  

 

Jennifer Charlotte Speir is the group director for the French and Spanish Language Communities and Village Weekends Program.

Stereotypes and Shortcuts (posted September 24, 2019). As linguists, we get to explore other cultures, connecting words and expressions to perspectives of people who live differently from ourselves. We “search for patterns” in a culture that is not our own and often find characteristics that form a stereotype. Victoria Mora, president of UWC-USA, reassures us that understanding a stereotype is a natural first step to learning about a culture. She wisely encourages us to go beyond this limited definition. When we get to know a person as an individual, we better understand the fascinating differences and similarities of our own culture and that of the others.

Courageous Conversations: Returning to Helena and Britta (posted October 16, 2018). Two friends share things they have in common. They also dare to acknowledge what most people avoid in conversation, their deeply differing beliefs. Helena and Britta model a relationship we all aspire to—one of respect and mutual acceptance. If we all could maintain positive relationships with those who have different opinions, our lives would perhaps be more enriched. To most of us, this seems challenging! Britta and Helena show us the way forward.

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