Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: February 2018

Kathy presenting at SWCOLT in Santa Fe

I am honored to have been selected as a presenter at the SWCOLT (Southwest Conference on Language Teaching) conference in Santa Fe, to present on the role and importance of foreign language advocacy, in “The Role of Advocacy in Achieving the World Readiness Standards for Foreign Language Learning.”

SWCOLT 02-23-18

Although it was snowing when I arrived, a short time later, I was able enjoy walking through beautiful and historic Santa Fe in brilliant sunshine, and I received a warm welcome from the foreign language educators of Southwest COLT and the host, NMOLE.

I attended interesting, informative, and insightful sessions on becoming a more knowledgeable global citizen through language and culture, combining proficiency and achievement when students are at different levels, and French for humanitarian help and global health, as well as the inspirational keynote address and announcement of the SWCOLT Teacher of the Year.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to visit with friends at the AATF table and to discuss advocacy and other important issues in foreign language learning with many dedicated foreign language educators.

Special thanks to the SWCOLT organizers for having invited me to participate and congratulations on a wonderful conference.

Languages do matter!

Why Are They Speaking French At The 2018 Opening Ceremony? It’s A Long-Time Tradition

“The official languages of the International Olympic Committee are French and English, according to the Olympic Charter. That means that, no matter where any given Olympics is hosted, official announcements are made in three languages, French, English and the native language of the host country.

At the PyeongChang Olympics, that third language is, of course, Korean.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Little Italy Is Very Little, and Not Very Italian

“Once home to thousands of Italians and Italian-Americans, Little Italy has long since shrunk to a name on a street map and — at most — a three-block stretch of red-sauce joints on Mulberry Street patronized almost entirely by tourists. ”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Kathy @ NECTFL as a Member of the Advisory Council and Palmes académiques

I am happy to share with you my experience at the NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) annual conference, which I attended as a member of the Advisory Council in NYC on Friday.


Despite the gray skies and chilly temperatures, it was a wonderful day, with opportunities to see old friends and to make new ones.

I was able to attend 2 very interesting sessions.  The first was on developing 21st century skills — creativity, along with technological and media skills — while developing proficiency in a foreign language. Later in the day, I attended a session on “proficiency with a purpose,” within the unique context of an interdisciplinary minor in European Union/European Studies, which addressed both the role of motivation and purpose in developing proficiency and the significance of interdisciplinary collaborations.

In the exhibit area, I was able to visit the AATF and FLENJ tables, as well as several national, state and NY metropolitan area language education organization tables.

A high point of the day was the offsite Palmes académiques luncheon. Having just recently been named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques, this was my first opportunity to meet members from the greater New York area and the Northeast.  What a wonderful group of dedicated French language educators!  Special thanks to Jacqueline Friedman for organizing this lovely event!

Congratulations to the entire NECTFL team on yet another wonderful conference and best wishes for continued success!


Winter Olympics: Linguistic divide poses problem to Korea hockey team

“GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea face a widening linguistic divide after 70 years of division, and that is a challenge for the rivals’ first-ever joint Olympic team as it prepares for the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The Canadian coach of the joint women’s hockey team said Monday her squad has made a three-page dictionary that translates key hockey terms from English into South Korean and then into North Korean for better communication among the players and herself.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Where Dutch directness comes from

“Straightforwardness is so intrinsic in Dutch society that there’s even a Dutch word for it: ‘bespreekbaarheid’ (speakability) – that everything can and should be talked about.”

Read more @

Languages do matter!

Multilingualism and Global Citizenship, by a 2017 MLOW winner

Multilingualism and Global Citizenship, by a 2017 MLOW winner.

“We live in an interconnected world. It is an unquestionable fact. We cannot afford to deny the intricate ties that connect each and every one of our respective worlds. It is clear that despite our established borders, cultures and languages do not and cannot exist entirely independently. The effects and repercussions of decisions made in one part of the world ripple throughout the rest of the planet and affect us all in one way or another. With this in mind, we are made conscious of the immense responsibility held not just by our leaders but also by us as individual citizens. ”

Read more @

Languages do matter!