After I studied abroad in Italy for a year (2011 – 2012), I became fascinated with languages. Traveling Europe, I began to see how multilingual people were constantly in the process of learning and mastering other languages. This is incredibly different than the American mentality of monolingualism.
It follows the old joke:
What do you call someone that speaks three languages?
What do you call someone that speaks two languages?
What do you call someone that speaks one language?
And of course, as most polyglots know, as soon as you get far enough in your second language, you want to learn more and more languages. I guess I am no different:
Which language(s) are you learning – why those?
I am in the process of learning Japanese as I have applied to go through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program. I am hoping to be able to survive, hold a decent conversation with Japanese people, and immerse myself once I go over to Japan. I’ve loved Japan since I was young watching Sailor Moon and DragonBall Z.
I studied Italian for two semesters before I left to live in Italy for 11 months where I studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence through the CSU International Programs. Much of my knowledge of Italian vocabulary focuses on art terms or cooking terms. While Italian is on the backburner, I do love to read Italian memes and watch videos on Italian cooking taught by old Italian cooks.
During my Master’s program, I was considering where I wanted to go abroad. While I was in Italy, the Arab Spring brought a lot of people from different countries to Italy so I met many Arabic people that I thought were very friendly. During my second to last semester in grad school, I decided to take Arabic 101. Man! What a difficult language! But I love the way Arabic looks and its potential for beautiful calligraphy. I am definitely interested in visiting either Morocco, Egypt or Jordan someday.
The great thing about teaching is that your students constantly surprise you!
They Say, I Say- Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
This book is a well-written, boiled down approach to academic writing using the metaphor of “joining the conversation.” I still use many of their chapters in my English composition classes including the Naysayer chapter as well as the templates for introducing direct quotes from authors. The templates alone are worth the money– these signal phrases are chunks of language that are highly frequent in academic writing and are invaluable to the aspiring native and non-native speaker of English that wishes to improve their academic writing skills.
Norton Field Guide to Writing with Handbook –
I used this book for my students at the university level for Freshman composition. The text is multimodal and includes etexts and related videos. The addition of the handbook is also invaluable as many native speakers struggle with grammatical problems although their meaning and organization is on point. This is a very strong textbook for composition and it breaks down a variety of different rhetorical modes for students in an easy to understand manner.
Looking at Rhetorical Situation through the lens of pop culture by examining Beyonce’s Superbowl performance and Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy Performance.
Writing a Literacy Narrative
This includes the basics of a narrative and slam poetry video examples.
Duolingo – This is a great app for learning vocabulary and for practicing sentences. You can “level up” in the target language and compete against your classmates for the most points. The class link is here: https://www.duolingo.com/o/yzazhk
Memrise – There are many English courses available for students. Memrise has students associate words or images with vocabulary to help students remember vocabulary. http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/english/?q=intermediate