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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WorldView Good Reads: Off the Press for January 2019

Published: January 21, 2019

Here are good reads from around the globe that have caught our attention in the month of January.

Maya Angelou’s Human Family. As we start 2019, take time to listen: ‘We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.’

A family menu built on appreciation, not appropriation. Food is the window into a culture. Food writer Jamie Schler tells how she came to appreciate the deeper cultural context for the meals she makes, serves, and eats. A dish is more than the sum of its ingredients, deeper than its origins. It truly comes alive with understanding of its culture. “Food,” she writes, “like culture itself, is a living thing; people live and relate to it, share it, communicate tacitly through it.” This is what should be at the core of the question of cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation. Blending culinary arts with cultural immersion is an essential element of the CLVWay and the Concordia Language Villages experience.

Winter Challenge: How Well Do You Know Your Languages? In May, citizens of the European Union will use 24 different languages to vote for the European Parliament. It’s the second largest democratic election in the world after India’s. Take the Parliament’s language test here.

Struggling to Understand: An American Abroad in a Post-American World. New York Times Magazine writer Suzy Hansen comes face-to-face with people and situations that challenge her preconceptions of foreign cultures, of Islam, and of what it means to be an American. Living in Turkey and traveling to Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran—all countries with complex historical relationships with the United States—she draws on a diverse and colorful range of literary sources that span various time periods, geographic locations, genres, and perspectives to offer unique insights and opportunities for reflection.

How to Connect Young People to Europe? Let them see it all by train. Much has changed in the 46 years since the Interrail pass was introduced, but the essence of what it offers — experiencing new cultures and meeting new people — has remained the same.

Advocating for America’s languages. The future is multilingual. This handy chart shows how many Americans in each state speak a language other than English at home. Yet overall the United States is short-changing itself when it comes to languages and culture skills. Research demonstrates that a second language is most easily acquired in one’s youth. Yet the supply of world language teachers is at risk. Reeling off facts and figures about the need for languages is not enough – there is a gap between awareness and action. What are best-practices in advocating for languages? How do you nudge relevant actors actually to take action?

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