Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

At 100-Year-Old Middlebury Language School, Opera Singers Perfect Their German

“Every summer for the past 100 years, Middlebury College has hosted an unusual language study program: students sign a pledge that they will only communicate and interact in the language they are studying for the entire six or seven weeks of the program.

Eleven languages are taught using this strict immersion approach, and the programs attract students who range from art history undergraduates, to business people, to … sopranos? One specialty program among the traditional language programs is German for Singers, a course that attracts aspiring professional opera singers.

About 20 students sit around a table in a German literature class, their three-ring binders are open and photocopies of text are spread out in front of them. The students aren’t allowed to talk to visitors in English. But their instructors, like Hans Gabriel, aren’t beholden to the language pledge.”

Read more @ http://digital.vpr.net/post/100-year-old-middlebury-language-school-opera-singers-perfect-their-german

Languages do matter!

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