The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

Whitworth World Languages & Cultures Department Update

Bonjour, hola, guten Tag, nǐ hǎo, konnichiwa, Shalom, مرحبا , Γεια σας, jambo!

Welcome to the newly named Whitworth World Languages & Cultures Department! When we decided as a faculty to rename our department, we had a particular goal in mind. We wanted our name to reflect our purpose. Each day, each week, each year, we teach Whitworth students about the diversity of languages and cultures in the world; we help them understand the complexity of everything from history and literature to everyday expressions and gestures that underlie daily interactions in other countries; we help students understand their own culture better through having their worldview changed and shifted; and we send them all over the world with God’s blessing, to create relationships, to do research, to become independent, and to be changed forever.

It’s easy to focus on the “language” part of the equation. And we love teaching language! After all, learning a new language changes your brain in fundamental ways and opens so many doors. As Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” But imagine a small child who got to the age of, say, four or five, when she had mastered most of the grammar of spoken English, and simply said, “That’s it for me, I don’t need to do anything more in life.” Wait, what? What about all the novels out there to read? What about a job as a biologist or a mathematician? What about all the ways you need to deepen your understanding of human beings in order to have meaningful relationships? What about graphic novels, what about the Internet, what about business and government and ethics and the growing Church? Are you really going to stay at the age of four all your life?

This is our job here in the world languages & cultures department. We want to teach you language (just try and stop us!), but we want to do so as a tool to teach you so much more. We want to give you Chinese and Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew, French and Japanese and German and Greek and Swahili, so that you can read novels and the Bible, so you can chat with friends on Facebook and pray in a cathedral, so you can do historical analysis of Latin American countries and do business networking, so you can read scientific papers and do art history. We want to open the world to you in all its richness and depth and difference. So welcome to our department: new name, same mission of mind and heart.

Jennifer Brown,
Department Chair and Associate Professor of French

Eye on Alumni

Hailey Burgess, ’09

Hailey Burgess, ’09 Just over four years ago, I had just graduated from Whitworth, was newly married, and had stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach getting ready to start my master’s degree in French at the University of Illinois, in Chicago. My plan until junior year had actually not involved graduate school at all, but as I write to you, I am about to start my Ph.D. in French at the University of Washington, in Seattle, so obviously I had some people steer me in that direction! This journey has been one that has opened my eyes to the realities of studying and teaching a foreign language in this day and age. Before Chicago, I had never taught, nor had I ever wanted to. It turns out that the saying “never say never” is true. Being a teacher, whether as an adjunct or a teaching assistant, has been one of the most frustrating, exhausting and rewarding things I have ever done. French has always been a part of my life and my identity, but to expose others to it who don’t have the first clue as to why they signed up for French to begin with—and to do it to the best of my ability each day I come to teach—is truly a joy. Finding ways to reach each one of my students has been an invaluable journey, and one in which I have learned much more about the French language and culture than when I started out.

One would think that finding places to use French would be difficult. I have found that even at my retail job at Pottery Barn I come across French-speaking people nearly every week, and sometimes more often. The part of my soul that is passionate about and loves French bubbles over when I speak to a French person (in French, of course!) who is least expecting it. His or her face will, almost always, light up. I truly feel myself when I am with others who share a passion for French, or who have had a similar bilingual experience from a young age. The linguistic “luxuries” I have been afforded due to my eight years at the French American School, in Portland, Ore., are innumerable and something that I treasure. When I speak with someone in French, when I am in France, or when my classroom is buzzing with conversation, I know that the special piece of my soul is being fed and is growing.

In my life, I have also had times when I have somewhat shied away from keeping up with my French or seeking out opportunities to use it. For whatever reason, I almost felt like I wanted nothing to do with it. Those have been the times when I found myself feeling very dry and least fulfilled in all senses of those words. However, such times can be necessary, and have allowed me to truly revel in the rich and fruitful times of learning, sharing and teaching that I have experienced, and that I am quite sure I am on the brink of jumping into again here in Seattle. At times I have been very discouraged and felt very hopeless about the future, but there is always a window or a door you can jump or walk through. Sometimes you just need to dig a little deeper or climb a bit higher to find it!

A View from Abroad

Reflections from Austin VanderWel,’14, Majoring in International Studies, Cross-Cultural Studies, and Spanish

Austin VanderWel,’14“Eres un arcoíris de múltiples colores. Tú, Valparaíso, puerto principal.”

“You are a rainbow of many colors. You, Valparaíso, main port.”  

These lyrics from Víctor Acosta’s song “Joya del Pacífico” undoubtedly represent a strong sense of nostalgia for those who’ve lived in Valparaíso, Chile, the chief port city of a nation that was previously quite isolated from the world. They say that the multicolored houses were originally used to mark where sailors’ families waited for them.  However, I have my doubts about this theory. When I walk home and pass performing street jugglers next to colorful murals or hear the folk music of Violeta Parra covered by modern troubadours in the subway, I get the feeling that Valparaíso is home to those who would paint their houses bright pink with blue trim just out of a love for color.

Valparaíso’s embrace of color, youth and activity makes studying in Chile a trip like no other. Although I spoke some Spanish upon arrival, I’ve found that the challenging Chilean dialect renews the amazement that first fascinated me with the language. Thankfully, this difficulty is eased by time spent with incredibly hospitable (and social) Chilean friends and host-family members.  Among other things, I’ve enjoyed dancing in Valparaíso, sandboarding in Reñaca, and hiking in the Andean foothills.

Time spent with friends has been balanced by taking classes taught in Spanish at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. I’m currently taking five courses: Tourism, Cultural Anthropology, Chilean Culture and Communication, Art and Society of Pre-hispanic Chile, and a fitness class. In addition, I’ve been able to join an intramural rock-climbing group and volunteer with a conversational English night class. Of course, homework and travel have found their way into exchange-student life as well. In the next two weeks I hope to travel to Mendoza, Argentina, on the other side of the Andes.

Finding connections between topics studied at Whitworth University and the reality of Chilean culture has been an enriching surprise. For example, I recently visited La Sebastiana, a former home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, which has been converted into a museum that honors his internationally renowned literature. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the museum, I find it almost more impressive that I’ve heard Neruda’s poetry quoted casually by Chileans! This authentic link to an academic interest reinforces cultural education—a goal of the Whitworth World Languages & Cultures Department—alongside linguistic skills acquired in the classroom. 

As I celebrate two months in Chile, I hope to do more traveling both inside and outside the country. I also look forward to deepening my understanding of what it means to live in another culture and immerse myself in a second language.

Visit Austin’s blog for more about his time in Chile.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Arabic now being offered
A warm welcome to Lobna Saeed, a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Egypt. Lobna is teaching beginning Arabic this academic year. Stop by and say hello!

Take advantage of student rates for memberships to professional organizations!
Students often qualify for a discounted student rate to join professional organizations such as ACTFL, AATF, AATSP and WAFLT. If you are interested, speak to a faculty member in your language.

Fifty-six letters from El Salvador translated this fall!
This fall the Spanish students who work at the front desk served a local church while brushing up on their Spanish skills. Covenant United Methodist Church asked if we could help them by translating letters from children and other congregation members of their sister church in El Salvador. We finished within a few weeks– what an accomplishment! We hope we can serve Covenant United Methodist Church in this way next year.

French Tutoring
All levels – FREE
Every Sunday and Thursday, from 8-9 p.m., in Westminster 113. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities. Walk-ins are always welcome!

Spanish Tutoring
All levels – FREE
Five nights a week: Sun/Tues/Thurs, from 7-9 p.m.; Mon/Wed, from 7-8 p.m., in the library, second floor, Room 208 (across from the Whitworth Composition Commons). Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities. Advance sign-up (available on the door) is recommended. Walk-ins are always welcome!

DELE Exam: Fall 2013
Mark your calendars for the DELE (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) examination, to be held at Whitworth on Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23Please turn in your registration materials and fees to Ángeles Aller by Thursday Oct. 17. See Stacey Moo or Ángeles Aller if you have questions or would like information about future test dates.

Please visit the Seattle Cervantes website for general information about the DELE. You can also download registration documents and take a level-check or practice test.

Whitworth Costa Rica Center
This spring, along with standard general education classes, the Costa Rica Center is offering specific classes in business, history and sociology. Come learn from your favorite professors in a new and culturally rich environment. Trips to Nicaragua, Cuba and around Costa Rica are included! For more information, see Whitworth’s CRC website or contact Rachel Witthuhn, CRC recruiter at or 509.777.4845.

Keep an eye on Glyph, a local global translation services company
Glyph is a global translation services company with an office in Spokane. Glyph provides international language/meaning translations/localization services for the government, companies like Nike, Coke, Amazon, William Sonoma, Microsoft and Starbucks, and over 1,000 free agents worldwide. Looking for an internship or job? Apply from their website!

Scripture of the Month

Proverbs 16:3 
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

16:3 امثال .
خُطَطِكَ كُلُّ فَتَنجَحَ أعمالِكَ، فِي اللهِ عَلَى اتَّكِلْ

箴言 16:3

16:3 משלי
גֹּ֣ל אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ וְ֝יִכֹּ֗נוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ

Proverbes 16:3
Recommande à l'Éternel tes oeuvres, et tes projets réussiront.

Sprüche 16:3
Befiel dem Herrn deine Wege, so wird dein Vorhaben gelingen.


Proverbios 16:3
Pon en manos del Señor todas tus obras, y tus proyectos se cumplirán.

Mithali 16.3:
Mkabidhi Bwana kazi zako, na mawazo yako yatathibitika.

Vol. 20 Issue 1 Oct. 2013

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the world languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

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