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Language and History through Silent Film in the Foreign Language Classroom

Silent cinema represents a useful tool for foreign language instruction precisely because of its lack of verbalized dialogue. Cinematic silence can be used to demonstrate the connections between visual and verbal meaning, provide unique material for a variety of writing projects and in-class exercises, and facilitate discussion about the function of language in genre and…

Every Object Tells a Story: Searching for Finnishness among Bay Area Finns

Immigrant homes often display artifacts of cultural, historic, and ethnic importance. I have looked into the meaningful objects that Bay Area Finns of different generations and age groups hold dear to their hearts. The owners find nostalgic connections with these objects as they keep negotiating and recreating their Finnishness. This talk discusses the many fragilities…

The Parrot’s Two Feet: Teaching French in Contact with Arabic

How can the language classroom account for the ecologies of language that generate bilingual and multilingual practices, attitudes, and cultural products? Using texts and media that incorporate French and Arabic, this project develops lesson plans to engage students in the critical appraisal of the values, agencies, and registers that shape language use in francophone cultures. …

Teaching Intertextuality and Recontextualization through Music

Sensing the opportunity to provide a pedagogical model for the use of music in foreign language teaching, I have created activities that uncover and highlight themes of intertextuality, recontextualization, recognizability, and (re)appropriation through close readings of songs and other cultural texts to which they are linked. My activities are designed to show students how texts…

Language and culture in documentaries by Italian women filmmakers

In spring 2009, a 25-minute documentary, Il corpo delle donne (The Body of Women), composed of images selected from 400 hours of television programs, exerted an unexpected impact on an Italian public which over the years had become uncomplainingly accustomed to seeing women made objects of the most explicit forms of degradation, humiliation, and misogyny.…

Teaching Japanese Pragmatic Competence Using Film Clips

In all 1st- through 3rd-year Japanese courses at UC Berkeley, students are expected to write several skits over the course of the semester. Each skit is submitted to the instructor for corrections, after which students perform the skit in class. Students appear to enjoy these oral quizzes. While checking 3rd-year Japanese students’ scripts, I have…

Russian Phonetics: Sound and Meaning in Russian Avant-Garde Poetry

A website curriculum for teaching Russian phonetics and avant-garde literary culture. Website address: https://sites.google.com/a/fulbrightmail.org/russian-phonetics-through-avant-garde-poetry/ The idea for this project emerged from of my experience teaching Russian at Berkeley and my own budding dissertation work on Russian avant-garde poetry. As a graduate student instructor of Russian—and a student in the throes of research—I became increasingly convinced…

Creating Classroom Audio Material from Bulgarian Radio

Bulgarian is a less commonly taught language with fewer than 9 million speakers worldwide, and consequently, though there is an excellent textbook and reference grammar available, listening materials are in short supply. In the semesters I spent as a GSI for Bulgarian, I sought ways to incorporate authentic aural material into the course to give…

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