Archive for the 'Foreign Language Instruction' Category

Jan 05 2008

Arabic Lessons

Learning Arabic has been like that: moments of elation alternating with grim, soul-churning despair. The language is not so much hard as it is vast, with dozens of ways to form the plural and words that vary from region to region, town to town. With every sign of progress it seems to deepen beneath you like a coastal shelf.

For anyone who knows only European languages, to wade into Arabic is to discover an endlessly strange and yet oddly ordered lexical universe. Some words have definitions that go on for pages and seem to encompass all possible meanings; others are outlandishly precise.

One of the pleasures of learning Arabic is hearing long-familiar words in their natural context, shorn of the poisonous ideological garb they often bear in this country. Once you begin to do that, American attitudes toward the language itself, along with all things Arab and Muslim, can begin to seem jarringly hostile and suspicious.

Although enrollments in postsecondary Arabic study more than doubled from 2002 to 2006, the attrition rate is high, and the number of students who persist and become truly proficient – much harder to measure – is very small. The government and military are still struggling to find the translators they need.

“Don’t worry,” one of my teachers told me half-jokingly. “Arabic is only hard for the first 10 years. After that it gets easier.”

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Nov 28 2006

Syrian Arabic Language Course

Today, I added a link to a free online Syrian Arabic Course to the Linguistic Solutions – Links page, under “Arabic.”

Syrian Colloquial Arabic, a Functional Course is a 400-page illustrated and fully indexed textbook, accompanied by 180 minutes of authentic recorded conversations.

It deals with modern colloquial Arabic as it is spoken in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, with an emphasis on practical, everyday language useful to the foreign resident.

Use it for:

* self-study,
* with a teacher
* or in a class.

The downloadable book leads you through a variety of real-life situations, and the language necessary to deal with them — directing a taxi, negotiating for a hotel room, haggling with the greengrocer, speaking on the telephone, and so on.

While written Arabic is generally Modern Standard Arabic, an ability to read road and shop signs, Arabic numbers, restaurant menus and bills, and to write your name and telephone number is a valuable skill for the Arabic speaker.

The book is fully transliterated and can be used without learning to read Arabic, but we do recommend making the extra effort as this will help you if you go on to study Modern Standard Arabic.

With comprehensive vocabulary lists and full index, Syrian Colloquial Arabic is designed to be a handy reference even after you have finished the course!

PDF files of the book are now available for downloading
Sound files are now available for listening through streaming and in downloadable MP3 files.

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Nov 26 2006

LibraryThing Author: Christopher P. Hurtado / churtado

Christopher P. Hurtado is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

See churtado’s profile page.

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Nov 16 2006

Learn Surah Al-Fatihah, Al Fatiha

Learn to recite Surah Al-Fatihah off by heart and learn the meaning.

Surah Al-Fatihah, “The Opening”, is the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an. It’s seven verses are a prayer for God’s guidance and stress the lordship and mercy of God. This chapter has a special role in traditional daily prayers, being recited at the start of each unit of prayer (rak’ah).

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Nov 13 2006

On-line Foreign Language Instruction Flashcards

I’ve recently created a free FlashcardExchange account. FlashcardExchange is “the world’s largest flashcard library.” I’ve made flashcards for BYU’s Egyptian Arabic 101 (by Parkinson) and UVSC’s Chinese 1010 (Chinese Odyssey by Xueying Wang, Li-chuang Chi, and Liping Feng). With a free FlashcardExchange account, you can create unlimited flahscards, share your flahscards with friends and students, study on-line (no account required), and play memory. With a lifetime premium membership (for a one-time $19.95 fee) you can print flashcards in multiple formats, export flahscards to Word or Excel, study with Leitner flash cards, and create flahscards with images. See : Christopher Hurtado for all the flashcards I’ve made.

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Nov 13 2006

Foreign Language Instruction Links

The Linguistic Solutions – Links page has links to foreign language instruction resources for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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Nov 13 2006

Translation, Interpretation, Foreign Langauge Instruction, and Cross-cultural Training Resources

The Linguistic Solutions – Resources page has links to translation, interpretation, foreign langauge instruction, and cross-cultural training resources.

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May 30 2006

Immigrants Make English a Priority

As Congress weighs a Senate measure to make English the national or common language of the United States, many of the immigrants the legislation would affect say they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The need to learn English” is what Colombian immigrants Claudia Lopez and Christian Echeverry say drives them to attend night classes twice a week at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, near Azalea Park. They do so even though they have to bring their two daughters because they can’t afford baby-sitting.

They know that speaking English can open doors. And despite concerns from immigrant advocates who see the language measures as divisive, some newcomers, such as Lopez and Echeverry, echo advocates of the proposed legislation who say the U.S. is within its rights to decide what language to call its own.

It’s one reason English classes are in high demand in Orlando, where the immigrant population has surged as more Mexicans, Colombians, Venezuelans and Dominicans discover Central Florida’s strong job market.

Whenever free courses are offered, community groups say, waiting lists quickly soar from dozens to hundreds.

“One sees more opportunities with English,” Lopez, 33, said in Spanish. “You can connect to other people and get better jobs. I personally think that Americans become exasperated when we don’t understand what they say. I get frustrated, too.”

The immigration-reform bill passed Thursday by the Senate included a provision declaring English the official national language, sending immigrants such as Lopez the message that they should learn English if they want to live in this country.

In Senate votes on May 18, an amendment made English “the national language.” Another called it “the common and unifying language” of the United States. Both proposals stated that government should not be expected to provide services in any other language, unless specified by law, as in bilingual ballots and bilingual education.

But the language measures, some critics say, do not address a real problem.

“The vote was a waste of time. English is the de facto language of government and business in this country,” said Kenya Dworkin y Mendez, a Hispanic-studies professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “The officialization of the language is simply a rhetorical exercise. . . . Hispanic immigrants are learning and becoming English monolinguals faster than previous generations of immigrants.”

Numbers show that Hispanics — now the majority of the U.S. immigrant population — are not only learning English, but also are losing their language in the process.

A 2002 national survey by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 60 percent of all Hispanics either are bilingual or speak mostly English. Moreover, 59 percent of first-generation immigrants eventually become bilingual or even prefer English. By the second generation of U.S.-born Hispanics, only 3 percent prefer Spanish.

“It’s happening with all immigrants,” said Eduardo Blanchet, director of Berlitz Language Center in south Orlando. “Nowadays, the U.S. government is desperate to find people who speak Arab, Farsi or Chinese, and the same government knows that the pressure on immigrants to assimilate has led many to forget their languages.”

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May 30 2006

Pinal County Program Taps Migrants to Teach

Anticipating a desperate need for teachers in Pinal County, Central Arizona College and Arizona State University have forged a partnership that will funnel legal immigrants with international teaching experience, particularly from Latin American countries, into classrooms in the fast-growing county.

Students in districts such as Coolidge, Florence and the city of Maricopa will directly benefit from the Pinal Post-Baccalaureate Partnership, which also looks to diversify Pinal County’s teaching staff to better reflect the area’s growing Hispanic population.

“This program is a way of recruiting some people who are traditionally underemployed, bringing them to the county where we have need and giving the schools some qualified bodies,” said Ray Polvani, a consultant with Central Arizona College who helped brainstorm the idea for the program about a year ago.

Approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and in partnership with the Mexican Consul General’s Office, the program will recruit specific students, ones living in the U.S. legally and who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution but aren’t certified to teach in Arizona.

The 2 1/2-year postgraduate program will earn the student a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a provisional endorsement in English as a second language.

Program administrators are specifically looking for Latin American immigrants who were teachers before coming to the U.S. The program, a first of its kind in Arizona, will fast track the students through the certification and master’s degree process in addition to offering a mentorship program.

In exchange, the students must commit to at least a three-year stay at a school in a Pinal County school district.


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May 29 2006

Help is a Call Away, Ctizens Taught

Newcomers to Canada don’t always know how to reach emergency services or what to expect when police, fire or ambulance personnel show up at their door.

Some come from countries where the police are perceived as corrupt or oppressive.

That’s why Halton police have initiated a unique diversity program called Emergency Services Information to New Canadians (ESINC). The goals include building positive relations and increasing trust of all emergency services.

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics go to English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classes and give presentations about who they are, how they operate, how to use the 911 service, and what to expect. They also distribute a package of material on crime, fire and accident prevention.

The program involves a partnership with Halton Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the fire departments of all four municipalities in the region, the Halton Multicultural Council, and the federally-funded Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program.

ESINC will be officially announced tomorrow but has been operating since the beginning of the year.


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Apr 29 2005

Government Takes Steps in Making Antigua-Barbuda a Multilingual Society

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has moved closer towards implementing its educational policy of making the entire nation multilingual.

During his official visit to the Republic of Cuba, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer requested assistance from the Cuban government in the provision of tutors in the area of Spanish, the second official language of the Caribbean.

The country’s leader also expressed the government’s interest in short courses in Spanish, including the possibility of teaching that language on radio and television.

The Cuban government expressed their acceptance to collaborate in the teaching of Spanish Language both for primary education and for professors. To this end, a Cuban expert will shortly visit Antigua and Barbuda to carry out preliminary diagnosis and establish a plan of action.

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Apr 28 2005

Steeped in Learning, Immersed in Mandarin

Franchesca Venneri draws a picture of a little fish on the easel. David Trieu draws a toothy shark underneath. Then teacher Shen Yin, writes the Chinese characters for the two fish next to the drawings.

“Xiao yu,” she says, pointing the fish. “Xiao yu,” her students repeat.

“Sha yu” she says, pointing to David’s shark. “Sha yu” is the response.
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Shen tells them in Mandarin Chinese that sharks eat little fish. To help them remember the words, she has David, 6, chase Franchesca, also 6, around the classroom, to the squeals of their classmates.

So goes the morning at the Mandarin immersion program at Woodstock Elementary School in Southeast, one of only a handful of Chinese-language immersion programs in U.S. public schools. Shen lao shi (teacher Shen), as students call her, is the lead Mandarin teacher. From Beijing, she taught English at the college level before coming to the United States with her husband in 1989.

Like any good kindergarten teacher, Shen uses role-playing, familiar objects and games to teach her students language, math and social studies. She teaches kindergarten in the morning and second grade in the afternoon. Two other Mandarin-speaking teachers split the other four grades.

The kindergartners start from Day One speaking Mandarin. If a child says something in English, Shen repeats it in Mandarin. Shen prefers teaching in grade school to college.

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Apr 28 2005

Mike Hagan of Houston, Texas Wins a Copy of Vacation Spanish

Mike Hagan, V.P. of Marketing, YMCA of Greater Houston, won an autographed copy of Vacation Spanish at this morning’s AMA Houston Hispanic Marketing SIG event: “The Case for Hispanic Marketing: A Conversation with Alex Lopez Negrete”

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Apr 27 2005

Police Language Program up for National Award

The Advanced Language Program in Lexington– an effort that aids police officers in providing services to a growing Hispanic population — has been named one of 18 finalists for the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.

The awards, often referred to as the “Oscars” of government, are given by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Lexington program is eligible to win a $100,000 grand prize.

Lexington, like many other cities around the country, has experienced a significant increase in Spanish-speaking residents in recent years. The Advanced Language Program addresses the language barriers and the lack of cultural understanding of new residents for law enforcement officers.

The program involves two key components: language training and cultural immersion.


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Apr 27 2005

Vacation Spanish Blog (Update)

The Vacation Spanish Blog was updated today. The URI is www.vacationspanish.com. New content added today includes:

* Table of Contents
* Acknowledgements
* Excerpt
* Sample Chapter
* Bonus Chapter
* Reviews & Endorsements
* About the Authors
* About the Publishers
* Contact

Please feel free to add your comments.

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