Celebrate International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. It has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Read more on the website of the UNESCO.

  • Stanford Language Center hosted an event to celebrate International Mother Language Day in February 2018. Here is a write-up from the Stanford Daily. https://www.stanforddaily.com/2018/02/23/center-hosts-events-celebrating-language-diversity/
  • Lead with Languages

    Lead with Languages is a campaign started by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

    WHO WE ARE: With language skills growing in importance in the job market, yet fewer than 1 in 10 Americans able to speak a second language, Lead with Languages is a national campaign aimed at making language proficiency a national priority.

    WHAT WE DO: We seek to raise awareness across the U.S. and motivate people to take action around the rapidly rising importance of language skills to a wide array of careers—and to our nation’s economy, national security and international standing.

    WHY WE DO IT: Our ultimate goal is to create a new generation of Americans competent in other languages and cultures and fully equipped to compete and succeed in a global economy.

    Find out more at leadwithlanguages.org

    Michigan launches Seal of Biliteracy Program

    By Brian McVicar bmcvicar@mlive.com

    Graduating high school seniors could have the opportunity this spring to earn a Seal of Biliteracy from the state of Michigan designating their ability to speak and write two languages.
    The Michigan Department of Education is launching the program this year. High school graduates who can demonstrate an “intermediate/high” proficiency in two languages, through an approved assessment, will be eligible to earn the seal.

    Read the full story at Michigan Live

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    “A man who does not know a foreign language is ignorant of his own.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)
    [Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.]

    Nelson Mandela

    “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

    Experts, Educators Say Benefits of Bilingualism Are Brushed Aside in U.S. Schools

    Here is a story on the June event held by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on “The link between foreign languages and US national security”.
    by Terry West, The Washington Diplomat, September 29, 2017

    Read the post: http://www.washdiplomat.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16041:experts-educators-say-benefits-of-bilingualism-are-brushed-aside-in-us-schools&catid=1562&Itemid=428

    You can also watch the full video at the site of the CFR

    Lead with languages

    The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) launched an important campaign that focuses on raising awareness about the importance of learning another language besides English for American society. “Lead with Languages”, which was launched in late February.

    It is “is a multi-year campaign aimed at reversing the nation’s language skills gap and making language learning a national priority. The campaign seeks to build awareness across the U.S. about the growing importance of language skills to a wide array of careers – and to our nation’s economy, national security and international standing – with the ultimate goal of supporting a new generation of Americans competent in other languages and cultures and equipped to compete and succeed in a global economy.”

    Read the press release

    A journey to the East and back

    Here is a brief story about Morgan Alexander Jones, MBA ’15 of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at College University, who learned Chinese early on in his life, and is now the COO of US-China Strong.

    “One of the basic ways to start understanding Chinese culture is to learn the Chinese language.”
    Go to story

    On Capitol Hill for Language Advocacy Day

    On Thursday, February 16th, more than 150 language experts from across the U.S. will descend on Capitol Hill to lobby for languages.

    Dr. William P. Rivers, the Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL-NCLIS), the organization that hosts Language Advocacy Day, shares why he and hundreds of others believe that foreign languages need advocacy and how any concerned citizen can advocate for languages in their community.

    Read the interview:

    Learning Mandarin – a view from the UK


    “How Mandarin can unlock our children’s potential in an increasingly connected world”

    by Mark Herbert, The Telegraph, January 10, 2017

    An essay about the value of learning another language in general and Mandarin in particular. Mr. Herbert provides background information on the “Excellence in Mandarin Programme”, which was started in the UK in September 2016. The goal of the program is to educate 5,000 students by the year 2020 to become fluent in Mandarin.

    Learning a foreign language revealed a world I never knew existed

    Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, Lauren Collins never needed to speak a foreign language outside of high school Spanish classes. It wasn’t until she met her French-speaking husband and moved to Switzerland that she felt the need to become bilingual. She offers her humble opinion on the value of learning a new language.

    PBS NewsHours, December 7, 2016

    More than words

    Princeton general-education proposal would require all students — even those already proficient in a foreign language — to study a language other than English. Most of the shrinking number of institutions with requirements let students test out of them.
    by Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, November 2, 2016

    Go to article

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