Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: October 2017

How Halloween Is Celebrated around the World

“Halloween may be one of the biggest holidays in America, but the holiday, or versions of it, has a history all over the world.

From Ireland to Haiti, countries across the globe have their own festivals celebrating the afterlife, and the practices vary wildly from nation to nation.”

Read more @ http://www.businessinsider.com/how-halloween-is-celebrated-around-the-world-2016-10

Languages do matter!

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Kathy @ the MCTLC Conference in Minneapolis

I am just back from the MCTLC (Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures) Fall Conference where I presented on “Foreign Language as a Global Competency,” the area of my doctoral research and subsequent research and writing.

Flying out of NJ early on Friday, I arrived at the beautiful and historic Earle Brown Heritage Center in time to attend the inspirational keynote address on the revitalization of endangered indigenous languages, which emphasized the impact of language loss on a people and a culture. Although the address described an Ojibwe immersion program, it transcended the local,  causing me to see connections with  examples in my own personal experience — the historical suppression of the Irish language, the journey of the French language in North America, and the relatively rapid loss of language experienced by so many immigrant groups, including the German of my father’s family.

It is my personal and professional belief that immersion programs, such as the one described by the keynote speaker, as well as those in the NYC public schools often referred to as the “bilingual revolution,” and in other locations across the US and beyond, are critical in staving off, and even reversing, language loss.

After visiting with my AATF Minnesota friends at their table and enjoying the exhibit area, I attended several sessions throughout the day, as well as the awards luncheon before delivering my own presentation in the late afternoon.  Although it was difficult to choose among the many sessions offered, I found the session on authentic texts and tasks in the French language classroom, the session on integrating technology in order to increase student engagement and achievement in the foreign language classroom, and session on Twitter for language teachers interesting, well prepared, and well presented.  In addition to being an opportunity to talk with like-minded foreign language educators, the awards luncheon was especially inspiring in the authenticity and depth of feeling I observed among the presenters, the recipients, and the many foreign language education students present.

The snowy weather contrasted with the warm welcome I received from the many MCTLC members, organizers, and student volunteers I had the opportunity to meet that day.

Special thanks to Daryl and Lisa at MCTLC for having inspired me to submit a proposal, and to Lily, my presider and a Fulbright student from Paris at the U. of St. Thomas. Many thanks to those who took the time on Friday afternoon to attend my presentation on the Many Languages One World Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum (MLOW).

Languages do matter!

The French language is in ‘mortal danger’, say its own panicked guardians

“The official guardians of the French tongue the Académie Française sounded the alarm bell this week saying the language was in “mortal danger”. And it’s nothing to do with English this time.

The so-called “immortals” at the Académie Française, the official body tasked with guarding the French language from unwanted influences (like English) don’t speak out often, but when they do people tend to listen.
And on Thursday night the Académie issued a “solemn warning” intended to grab the attention of the government.
The immortals are furious about the rise of so-called “inclusive writing” which basically puts the masculine AND feminine forms of nouns in the text.”

Read more @ https://www.thelocal.fr/20171027/why-the-french-language-is-in-mortal-danger-according-to-its-own-guardians

Languages do matter!

Pakistan’s only sign language cafe

“This cafe in Pakistan is one of a kind. To get served you have to use sign language. It’s run by the Raza family: Mum, dad and brothers are deaf or partially hearing.

They say they’ve experienced challenges in the country and the cafe is changing attitudes.”

Read more @ http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-41685642/pakistan-s-only-sign-language-cafe

Languages do matter!

Irish PM vows to improve French before Ireland ‘officially’ joins Francophonie

“Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has promised to improve his French language skills before Ireland “officially” joins the Francophonie.

Varadkar made the light-hearted remark during a speech on Tuesday (October 24) at the Elysee Palace in Paris alongside French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron.

The Irish leader earned a ‘bravo’ from Macron for conducting a large portion of his speech in French.”

Read more @ http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/25/irish-pm-vows-to-improve-french-before-ireland-officially-joins-francophonie

Languages do matter!

We need the will to overcome global challenges, Secretary-General says on UN Day

“24 October 2017 – In his first United Nations Day message, Secretary-General António Guterres called on people around the world to overcome their differences to address global challenges that go beyond national borders.

The 24th of October, the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force, is celebrated annually as United Nations Day.”

Read more @ http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57945#.We9aUvkrKUk

Languages do matter!

Over 14,000 visitors and nearly 23,000 views — Thank you

Over 14,000 visitors and nearly 23,000 views — Thank you all for taking the time to visit and to view “Language Matters.”  🙂

Languages do matter!

Old-world charm in Europe? Cereal cafes serve Lucky Charms

“Cafes serving American breakfast cereal have exploded in popularity in Europe as young entrepreneurs tap into both nostalgia and novelty among customers who’ll pay between $3 and $9 a bowl. (In U.S. supermarkets, you can buy entire boxes of cereal for less.)

In the last two years, cafes have opened in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Berlin, Hamburg, Manchester and many other cities. The trend also has a toehold in the Middle East.”

Read more @ http://albertstumm.com/portfolio/old-world-charm-in-europe-cereal-cafes-serve-lucky-charms/

Languages do matter!

“Why French?” in Vietnamese

Indian Summer? No, it’s the sunshine season of St Martin

“As the autumn sunshine outstrips that of summer, is it time to embrace the fifth season?

There are no longer four seasons, but five at least. Between blazing August, which no longer catches fire, and the raw end of October, when autumn’s cold is guaranteed, there has arisen a beautiful thing, like the ghost of a season. Welcome to the Summer of St Martin.”

Read more @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/weather/6243586/Indian-Summer-No-its-the-sunshine-season-of-St-Martin.html

Languages do matter!