Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Over 16,000 views — Kathy’s article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” in “The Conversation” — thank you! :)

Over 16,000 views — thank you! 🙂

Thank you all for taking the time to read my article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” in The Conversation.

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Languages do matter!

Kathy Presenting at AATF 2019 (American Association of Teachers of French)

It was a whirlwind 3 days this week at AATF 2019, the American Association of Teachers of French Congrès annuel, in Philadelphia.

After attending the keynote address on the 50 years of the Francophonie, the welcome luncheon, a workshop on authentic QuĂ©bĂ©cois texts, and the opening of the exhibit area, I attended sessions all day on Monday — on Philadelphia’s French connections, on innovation and advocacy, on French government initiatives to support K-12 French language teachers, on student travel to QuĂ©bec, and on the future of French in our colleges and universities.  In the evening, I attended an inspirational dinner meeting of ASFAP, the American Society of the French Academic Palms, at a local French restaurant, Bistrot la Minette.

AATF 2019

The following day, I attended a session on French government initiatives in Professional French, won a prize – a Bastille Day picnic basket — at the exhibitors’ tombola (I never win anything!), and had the honor and privilege of presenting on Strategic Advocacy for French Language and Francophone Culture Education: Session officielle de la Commission sur la DĂ©fense du Français, with Founding Chair, Tennessee Bob Peckham.

All too soon, it was time to head back to Penn Station for the train ride home.

As always, the AATF Congrès annuel is an inspirational event — in terms of both the dedication and professionalism of all the attendees, and of the creativity of the ideas and initiatives discussed in the sessions and in more informal conversations in English and en français.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and to re-connect with colleagues we may only have been able to communicate with by email and/or social media throughout the year.

The Philadelphia setting, with its many French elements, and the venue were perfect. Congratulations to the Award winners. Many thanks to the organizers, and to the AATF President for hosting a luncheon for the Commission Chairs. Special thanks to my co-presenter, Tennessee Bob, and to all of you who attended our session.

À bientôt, à Trois-Rivières!

“Bastille Day, or French Every Day” — Kathy’s newest article — in France-Amerique

“With Bastille Day just around the corner, we should all work together to build on the enthusiasm, keep the momentum going, and encourage the growing interest in French and Franco-American heritage and history. Let’s work to make French language and Francophone culture part of our lives on Bastille Day, and every day!”


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Languages do matter!

Niksen Is the Dutch Lifestyle Concept of Doing Nothing—And You’re About to See It Everywhere

“First there was hygge, the Danish concept that made staying in and getting cozy cool. Then there was lagom, the Swedish mindset of approaching life with an “everything in moderation” mindset. Now there’s another Northern European trend that’s being embraced as a way to combat our increasingly busy and often stressful lives: niksen. The Dutch concept is as simple as, well, doing nothing.”

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Languages do matter!

Kathy’s newest article in the July issue of Language Magazine! :)

So happy to have an article in the July issue of Language Magazine.  🙂

Lang Mag 07-19

“‘Un Coup des Etats-Unis’ Kathy Stein-Smith describes how a global language has infiltrated American life and culture”

Languages do matter!

My article in JLTR –“Rethinking the Role of Foreign Languages in the US: Toward a More Diverse Cultural Identity” 

So happy to receive the print copies of my article, “Rethinking the Role of Foreign Languages in the US: Toward a More Diverse Cultural Identity,” in the May issue of  JLTR: Journal of Language Teaching and Research.

JLTR 05-19

Read the open-access article @

Languages do matter!

Over 15,000 views for my article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” in The Conversation — Thank you, and a call to action!

Over 15,000 views!

I am beyond delighted that so many of you have read my thoughts from the heart on the decreasing opportunity for students to learn another language — a skill demonstrated to have personal, professional, social, and global benefits.

Many thanks to all who have taken the time to read and to comment on my article, “Foreign language classes becoming more scarce,” and special thanks to The Conversation for the opportunity.

Opportunity to learn other languages is an important issue, along with the action steps needed to ensure that all interested students have the opportunity for continued study of another language.

Please continue to let me know your thoughts!  🙂

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Languages do matter!

Kathy Presenting at the ADFL Seminar in Spokane

I was delighted to have had the opportunity today to present at the ADFL (Association of Departments of Foreign Languages) Seminar, Innovative Approaches to Strengthening Language Departments, in Spokane.

It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and to speak with dedicated foreign language educators from across the country, which is so important.  Next steps in advocacy include increased communication and collaboration with language stakeholders in business, in government, and in our communities, especially parents. In addition to working together in support of the availability of foreign language learning for all interested students, it is equally important to support — and to advocate for — the use of other languages in our communities, in the media, and in our society.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from the MLA and the AATF (another AATF Commission on Advocacy member was also a presenter! :)), and to meet so many dedicated foreign language educators from the host institution, Gonzaga University,  from the Pacific Northwest, and from across the country — including my own alma mater.

ADFL 05-24-19 7Special thanks to everyone who took the time to discuss foreign language and French language advocacy during my presentation on “Foreign Language Advocacy: Strengthening and Supporting Foreign Language Learning” at the Innovation Showcase.

In addition to participating as a presenter in the Innovation Showcase, I attended interesting and informative sessions on the importance of data-driven decision making in foreign language departments, and on the MLA bibliography and enrollment survey.

I was especially impressed by the professionalism and dedication of those who create the enrollment survey, an essential source of information on the state of foreign languages and foreign language learning in colleges and universities.  The updates to the language map and the teaching materials intended to bring the MLA bibliography to a new generation of online learners were impressive and well-received by everyone present. I was also able to attend an insightful luncheon conversation/presentation on academic freedom.

The scope and depth of the program were impressive, and the setting for this well-organized and well-attended seminar in the beautiful and hospitable Davenport Grand Hotel was perfect.

Many thanks to the MLA/ADFL for the summer seminar initiative and for this seminar in particular, and special thanks to Dennis Looney and Lydia Tang for inviting me to participate.

Languages do matter!


Over 14,000 views of my article, “Foreign Language Classes Becoming More Scarce,” in The Conversation — Thank you all!!!

“Of all the skills that a person could have in today’s globalized world, few serve individuals – and the larger society – as well as knowing how to speak another language.”

Over 14,000 views — Thank you all!

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Languages do matter!

The ‘Game of Thrones’ language that 1.2M people are learning

“It may look like gibberish, but all the lines spoken in Valyrian — a language split into many dialects and across various regions of the “Game of Thrones” world — are linguistically correct. They were written by linguist David J. Peterson, who has created over 50 fictional languages, mostly for movies and TV shows. He constructed Valyrian like a real language nearly from scratch, complete with grammar and rules. All he had to build upon was a handful of words and sentences that author George R. R. Martin included in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, from which the series is adapted.”

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Languages do matter!