The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

Faculty Spotlight

Harumi Norasakkunkit, Japanese

Harumi NorasakkunkitWould you like to take a fun language class?

Learning Japanese is not only about learning a language. Japan has a rich culture of many interesting icons such as samurai, Japanese martial arts, sumo (Japanese wrestling), origami (paper-folding art), taiko (Japanese drum), calligraphy, tea ceremony, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), karaoke (singing) and more!

In my Japanese classes, I introduce these aspects of Japanese culture as much as I can. My goal is to create a fun and friendly environment for foreign-language learning by conversing with classmates, playing games, singing songs, watching videos and acting.

My hobbies are traveling (I have been to Canada, New Zealand, Hawaii, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China), singing and cooking. I am native Japanese, having grown up on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, near its capital, Sapporo. Given that it snows all winter there, I should be used to the cold weather, but my favorite vacations spots are tropical islands!

Harumi NorasakkunkitI have been living in the states for 10 years (seven years in Minnesota and three years in Spokane), and I have experienced that learning a different language is not easy. When I see how quickly my two-year-old son learns English and Japanese, I am amazed. He just copies whatever he hears and builds up sentences without thinking. Even though the sentences sometimes do not make sense, he is not shy to say all kinds of words, phrases and sentences aloud. I want my students to be just as unafraid of speaking Japanese in their classes, no matter how little Japanese they think they may know. Since I have a master's degree in art, I also try to create visual aids to keep things fun and interesting in class.

Spokane is a sister city of Nishinomiya, Japan, so we get many exchange students from that area of Japan. There is also a Japan Women's College branch in Spokane called Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, which is an extension of its main campus in Nishinomiya. I try to take advantage of the Japanese presence in Spokane by inviting Japanese students from MFWI to my classes. I also have a language exchange session every semester so students can practice Japanese conversations with native Japanese speakers their own age, with the hope that this will motivate students to refine their Japanese language skills into the future. I, too, was and continue to be motivated to improve my English language skills after my first exposure to real native English speakers when I was a foreign exchange student in Canada. I am a fun, easygoing instructor and I love to interact with students. I welcome any potential student who might be interested in learning Japanese to join my classes and learn the Japanese language and culture in a fun classroom environment.

Eye on Alumni

Lauren Davies, '13, Spanish and Communication Studies Double Major

Lauren DaviesI fell in love with Costa Rica during my semester abroad at the Whitworth Costa Rica Center (CRC) in spring 2011. After graduating from Whitworth in 2013, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to Costa Rica as a program assistant at the CRC. One of the most rewarding parts of working at the CRC was the free English classes that we offered our neighbors every Wednesday night. Not only did we have the chance to give back to the community where we lived, we also created relationships and friendships with our neighbors and their kids.

When the CRC closure was announced, I knew that I wasn't ready to leave Costa Rica. In order to stay, I had to find a job and a place to live, and God answered both of those needs. Thanks to a grant I received from the Krista Foundation, I was able to get my TESOL certification and was offered a job as an English teacher at Wizard Language Institute in San José. My housing need was answered when one of my students from the Wednesday-night English class at the CRC asked me if I wanted to live with her and her family. Isn't it great how God answers prayer?

Lauren DaviesI began working at Wizard in August 2014, and have loved every moment of my experience. Wizard is one of the largest language institutes in the world, and its Costa Rica campus has been a huge success. My students are all adults and range in professions from factory workers to business executives. Since starting my position at Wizard, I have begun taking Portuguese classes, have been interviewed for the Costa Rican equivalent of the U.S. news program Good Morning America, have recorded my voice for a Wizard television commercial, and will soon be featured on the Wizard Costa Rica website.

Every day is different and brings a new adventure. Sometimes it's a fun adventure, like hiking through the cloud forest above my house. Other days the adventure is more frustrating, like being stuck for two hours on a bus during rush hour on my way home from work. During the last year and a half of adventures, though, I have had the opportunity to meet countless people, visit several countries, and stretch myself to do things I never thought I could. I encourage any Whitworth students who are thinking about living abroad after graduation to take the leap of faith and know that God will take care of you every step of the journey.

A View from Abroad

Madeline Harris, '15, Spanish and Sociology Double Major

Lizzie WilliamsOn arrival in Costa Rica, I remember walking through the crowd just after customs. My eyes darted in several directions, trying to find my name written on a piece of paper. I recognized the people holding the paper from a picture I had seen a few months prior, and so I took one of the deepest breaths of my life, walked over with a shaky false composure, smiled and said hello.

We immediately started getting to know each other, but I think it took a month or two to think of them as family. There was something about the way the four sisters, their families, and their parents all built their homes and their lives in this town that made me fall in love, and enabled my soul to build its home in the green and orange house where La Suiza and San Pablo run into each other. By the end of four-and-a-half months, I had become a daughter, a sister, an auntie, and a cousin. Although I am not a family member in the traditional sense, this extended family took me in anyway and I learned a new kind of grace, one whose existence I had stopped believing in.

I guess what I am saying is that from the outside it was just a semester in Costa Rica with International Student Exchange Programs. I arrived in a plane hovering over the blackness of a place I knew nothing about, with my blood heavy like lead in my veins. However, although I departed in the light of a morning like any other, this time I flew away from a place that had become home. I wept as a million red roofs just like the one I had lived in disappeared from my view. As I flew, mountains turned to ocean, ocean to dry land, Spanish turned to English, and the looks on people's faces turned colder.

There are a million socio-political issues I could write about regarding my time in Costa Rica - I could tell you how feminism and LGBT rights are making strides in a nation where religion and machista politics overlap and always have. I could tell you how prejudice alongside systems of inequality disadvantage immigrants. I could tell you how Black Caribbean Costa Ricans are excluded from popular conceptualizations of national identity. I could talk about this "macro" stuff the way that, as an undergraduate sociology student with youthful angst, I always do, but that wouldn't get at what I really learned when I was there.

Instead, what I really learned was how to be alive. Joy, grace, hope, acceptance and love: I brought these five souvenirs back with me in my pocket the day that I hugged my new extended family good-bye. As I come rushing back into life in the U.S., I realize that these are the reasons to keep living life with all that we have; they are our most powerful weapons against centuries of brokenness. So I carry them with me every day, knowing that the four-and-a-half months I spent breathing in a new kind of air have changed everything in me.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

DELE Exam: Spring 2015
Mark your calendars for the DELE (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) examination, to be held at Whitworth on Friday, May 22. We are offering the exam at the B1, B2 and C1 levels. Registration materials and fees are due to Ángeles Aller by Monday, April 6. 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.

Note: The World Languages & Cultures Department requires that students completing Spanish or French majors take one of two standardized language proficiency exams as a part of the SN/FR major requirements (DELE for SN majors, or OPI for either SN or FR majors). This requirement applies to students that entered Whitworth under the 2013 catalog or after. (Students can consult the top portion of their academic evaluation to find out if this applies to them). Students should consult with their advisor to discern which option is best for them given their vocational and career trajectory. For example, students going into education are required by the state to take the Oral and Written OPI. These students would therefore take the OPI rather than the DELE.

Class of 2015
Mark your calendars for the annual World Languages & Cultures Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 16, from 9:30-11 a.m. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on Commencement Weekend. More information will be forthcoming, along with invitations to send to your family members.

See Yourself in Print!
The travel section of the University of California, Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal is currently looking for submissions! If you've traveled the world and have seen amazing sights, or even if you've traveled outside of your hometown, write about it, and get your writing published in our journal! We want to hear about your adventures, your discoveries, the people you've met, anything and everything you may have experienced while traveling. The deadline for submissions is March 20, 2015. Please go here for more information on how to submit your writing, and here to see travel writing we have already published. We look forward to reading your submissions.

Scholarship, Grant, Fellowship and Volunteer Information for Language Students

  • HBPA Foundation (Hispanic Business/Professional Association) for up to $2,000. Deadline March 31
  • Seattle-Nantes Dollars for Scholars scholarship for up to $1,000. Deadline April 15
  • Ameson Year in China. Free housing, airfare, Chinese languages lessons and get paid. Check out
  • Benjamin Franklin travel grant for up to $1,500. Deadline mid-March
  • WAFLT student scholarships. Six $500 scholarships available. Deadline April 15
  • ISEP/STA travel scholarship drawing for $500. Deadline Aug. 1
  • Volunteer with América Solidaria

Also, be sure to check out information on scholarships, grants and fellowships posted on the WLC bulletin boards.

Tutoring: All Levels – FREE; Walk-Ins Are Always Welcome!
Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

  • French: Every Sunday and Thursday, 8-9 p.m., in Westminster 113
  • German: Wednesday afternoons, 4:30-5:30 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)
  • Spanish: Five nights a week: Sun./Tues./Thurs. from 7-9 p.m.; Mon./Wed. from 7-8 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)

Scripture of the Month

English: Romans 12:12:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Arabic: 12:12 رسالة رومية - الأصحاح
كونوا فرحين بالرجاء، صابرين في الضيق، مواظبين على الصلاة،

Chinese: 罗马书 12:12

French: Romains 12:12
--- l'espérance: qu'elle soit votre joie; ---l'épreuve: qu'elle vous trouve pleins d'endurance; ---la prière: qu'elle soutienne votre persévérance /p>

German: Römer 12.12
Seid fröhlich in Hoffnung, geduldig in Trübsal, beharrlich im Gebet.

Greek: Ρωμαίους 12:12
τῇ ἐλπίδι χαίροντες, τῇ θλίψει ὑπομένοντες, τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτεροῦντες.

Japanese: ロマン 12:12

Spanish: Romanos 12:12
Gocémonos en la esperanza, soportemos el sufrimiento, seamos constantes en la oración.

Swahili: Warumi 12:12
Muwe na furaha katika tumaini lenu, na katika dhiki muwe na subira. Ombeni wakati wote.

Vol. 21 Issue 4 March 2015

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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