The Modern Linguist
Department Update

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

World Languages & Cultures Department Update

Angeles AllerHappy Fall!

Hello, bonjour, hola, guten Tag, nǐ hǎo, konnichiwa, shalom, مرحبا , Γεια σας, jambo, and welcome to the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year at the Whitworth World Languages & Cultures Department!

It was Charlemagne who said, "To know two languages is to possess a second soul." There is a German proverb that says, "Je mehr Sprachen du kanst, desto mehr Mensch du bist," (the more languages you know, the more you are a human being.) A Czech proverb says the same as the German, in almost the same words.

So what is it about language acquisition that can make us more human, or even provide us with another soul? (We have instructors in the department who have three, four, or even more souls, at this rate of counting.)

Language is so powerful that it shapes our reality. Studies have shown that even matters that lie as deep as our implicit preferences, prejudices, likes and dislikes are shaped by the language we express them in; it's as if we asked a friend her favorite flavor of ice cream in Arabic, then turned around and asked again in Swahili and got a completely different answer. Go further, then: the language that shapes our very brains is rooted in culture, in music and prayer, in food and dress, in government and business. How can you absorb language, with its idioms and proverbs and expressions, without absorbing that history, that culture, that other soul?

Go further still. Language creates culture, and culture also shapes and creates language. What would the English language be without Shakespeare or the King James Bible or text-speak? These words affect our soul, but they don't exist in the same way, or in the same context, in Spanish or Japanese. What works shaped those languages? What poetry, what revolutions, what societal structures? Come into our department and find out.

And then leave us. Go abroad – go all over the world, to China and Tanzania and France and Germany and Turkey. Speak the languages you've learned. Immerse yourself in everyday life with the people you meet. Make lifelong connections. Pray in cathedrals; chat with new friends on Facebook; see art in its proper home.

And tell us, Whitworthians – how many souls do you possess now?

Jenny Brown, Chair, World Languages & Cultures

Eye on Alumni

Gabriella Auer, '09, Elementary Education Major, Spanish and Theology Minors

Gabriella AuerHello, Fellow Whitworthians!

I am so thankful for the education I was able to receive at Whitworth – it has greatly helped me in my current profession. I have been teaching since 2009 and have loved it. Teaching is my calling and I am so passionate about it. I began teaching first grade at Milpitas Christian School, in San Jose, Calif.; I moved to teach outdoor science at Mission Springs Outdoor Education, near Santa Cruz, Calif. This past year I have been living in Grand Junction, Colo., teaching first grade at Dual Immersion Academy, a Spanish/English dual-language school.

I recently accepted a position teaching kindergarten at Harris Bilingual, in Fort Collins, Colo., and am excited to start a new position in a new place! It has been amazing how much Spanish I have learned since working at a dual-language school, and I am looking forward to learning (and teaching) even more as I start a new position. Language acquisition at a young age is incredible, as the little ones are able to pick it up so much easier than if they were older. It will be incredible to teach kindergarteners English and Spanish, in hopes of preparing them to be bilingual for life.

I am so glad I had passionate and kind professors who taught me Spanish at Whitworth. Having learned Spanish in high school, I was able to practice it when our school would build homes in Mexico every year. Throughout my years at Whitworth, I was able to continue learning Spanish, and since college, I have been able to use it with friends and colleagues. I am so grateful for my time at Whitworth!

A View from Abroad
"The Underbelly of Immigration"
Niko Aberle, '15, Spanish and Peace Studies Double-Major

Niko AberleBelow is a Whitworth Central America Study & Service Program (CASP) blog post from Jan. 24, 2014. At the end of the post I write, "For us, we're still interpreting and thinking about this experience," and I can say that is as true for me today as it was nine months ago. So much has happened in the time between that experience and now that I have hardly had time to actively process these reflections. The issue of immigration is in the nation's thoughts now, and I hope this humanizes the situation. (Photo: Xela, Guatemala)

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you ask, the dreams of many Guatemalan children are to reach the United States. Of course, in my own cynical thoughts about the U.S., I would like to tell these children that the U.S. is not what it's cracked up to be. And that "American" Dream? Let's just say it enslaves at least as many as the people who achieve it. And even if they do achieve it, are they happier than the Guatemalans I have met on my trip? Are they happier than my host family in Costa Rica? I'm not sure about that. But then again, my privilege is showing. The amount of poverty in the U.S. pales in comparison to the poverty in Guatemala. These kids have every right to want a better life.

Again, with Cambio Interno [an outreach ministry in Xela], we went to the "Casa de la Inmigración," which receives children who were caught by immigration authorities in Mexico. These kids come in on a bus paid for by the Mexican government. These kids have essentially just been incarcerated. Their dreams have been dashed. The goal of the home, which is run by the Guatemalan government, is to provide a comfortable place and a good image of their own country. They are given a meal, a talk and a bed for the night. Their parents or relatives are notified and have at most 72 hours to pick up their children.

For the 50-some children who came off that bus last night, what I imagine to be an abrupt vision of gringos met their eyes. Their dreams of reaching the United States had been shot, but for some reason, there were these U.S. citizens helping move their Spiderman backpacks and Nike drawstrings into the building. What a confusing situation for these kids. And maybe not even decipherable. Especially for the young children. One kid was six. Of the 50 children, two were girls.

Our role was simple: to observe and to think. We also prepared hygiene bags that they give to the kids: soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste. A few of us helped serve the dinner of chicken, sauce and rice. I tried a bit of the plantain drink they offered the kids. In hindsight, it was quite tasty.

For us, we're still interpreting and thinking about this experience. Our vision of immigration was amplified last night. No longer is this just a question of Mexican immigrants. It's not a question of numbers of immigrants or work visas. These are real human lives, Guatemalan children we saw yesterday. They want to go to the place that I freely come from, return to, leave with haste, love deeply and criticize often.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

DELE Exam for Spanish Majors
Exam date: Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014
Registration date: by Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014
Levels we offer: We will offer exams for levels B1, B2 and C1

Seventy 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 again next year.

Scholarship, Grant and Fellowship Information for Language Students
Check out information on scholarships, grants and fellowships posted on the WLC bulletin boards.
Deadlines coming up in November:

  • Critical Languages Scholarship (CLS) Program application for summer 2015
  • Davies-Jackson Scholarship for graduating seniors

Employers Seeking Foreign Language Speakers

  • Spokane County, FLSmidth Material Handling, Peace Corps, Mt. Spokane High School, GEICO Insurance, Center for Justice (as needed), World Relief (as needed),
  • Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)

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: Monday 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)

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.

WLC is on Facebook!

Scripture of the Month

English: 2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Arabic: 1:7 ﺍﻟﺜﺎﻧﻴﺔ ﺗﻴﻤﻮﺛﺎﻭﺱ

إن الله لم يعطنا روح الفشل، بل روح القوة والمحبة والنصح.

Chinese: 提 摩 太 後 書 1:7
因为神赐给我们,不是胆怯的心, 乃是刚强、仁爱、谨守的心。

French: Marc 1 :7
Dieu nous a donné un Esprit qui, loin de faire de nous des lâches, nous rend forts, aimants et réfléchis.

German: 2. Timotheus 1.7
Denn Gott hat uns nicht gegeben den Geist der Furcht, sondern der Kraft und der Liebe und der Besonnenheit.

οὐ γὰρ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς πνεῦμα δειλίας, ἀλλὰ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀγάπης καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ.

Japanese: 2 テモテ 1:7

Spanish: 2 Timoteo 1:7
Pues Dios no nos ha dado un espíritu de timidez, sino de poder, de amor y de dominio propio.

Swahili: 2 Timotheo 1:7
Kwa maana Mungu hakutupa Roho wa kutufanya tuwe waoga, bali alitupa Roho wa kutujalia nguvu, upendo na nidhamu.

Vol. 21 Issue 1 Oct. 2014

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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