The Year in Review, 2022-23

Dear BLC Community

It has been a year full of exciting changes within the BLC, with a new Associate Director, an Advisory Board, and new programming, while we have also worked to upgrade our facilities and their management and also continued to provide opportunities for engagement and enrichment for everyone in our community. With this Year in Review, we wanted to highlight some of this creative energy.

BLC Open House

The year began with our annual Fall Open House. This year we celebrated Rick Kern’s tenure as faculty director of the BLC as he stepped down and we welcomed Emily Hellmich into our community as the new BLC Associate Director. 

For those of you who missed it, you can read these Parting Thoughts from Rick Kern as well as these Memories of the 2022 Open House, which include the memorable poem written by BLC poet laureate Claire Kramsch, part of which is reproduced below:
He knows that we have not forgotten him  
and that he will always be welcome…  
in whatever language… 
in B-4-0 Dwinelle.
(Claire Kramsch, 5 September 2022)

BLC Event Series

Thanks to upgrades in B-4 completed last summer, we have been able to offer most of our events in hybrid format, with both in person and zoom audiences and presentations. We hope that this flexibility has successfully supported everyone’s access to and participation in these events.

Over the year, the BLC lecture series has contributed diverse disciplinary perspectives, including sociolinguistics, raciolinguistics, applied linguistics, and linguistic anthropology, to critical dialogues that have focused on how competence has been racialized (Jonathan Rosa); how to rewrite narratives of racial, linguistic, and cultural deficiency (Aurora Tsai); how the concept of assemblage reconfigures what counts as language and how social, spatial, and material worlds interact (Alastair Pennycook); how a critical sociolinguistics literacy curriculum can elevate home language students’ voices and agency (Claudia Holguín Mendoza); and how to examine, question, and interrupt practices where language creates situations of inequity from the perspective of applied linguistic anthropological framework (Netta Avineri and Patricia Baquedano-López). We wish to thank all of our featured speakers for generously sharing their research.

We have also continued to support explorations of the use of film in the world languages classroom. The 2022 BLC Summer Film Fellows Amir Effat (Spanish), Cristina Farronato (Italian), Nataliia Goshylyk (Ukrainian), Nora Melnikova (Hindi), Giuliana Perco (Italian), Karen Llagas (Filipino), Minsook Kim (Korean) presented their learning goals and sample activities from lesson plans designed using film clips in Lumière (the Berkeley Language Center Library of Film & Clips). Spring semester, Mark Kaiser and Maya Sidhu presented a workshop on the visual language of film. We look forward to this continued work as we welcome the 2023 BLC Summer Film Fellows. Many thanks to Emily Hellmich for having obtained funding from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to support this year’s cohort.

BLC Fellows

The BLC sponsored six Berkeley Language Center Fellows this year. These projects have engaged with significant issues of social justice in world languages education today including teaching the use of gender neutral language; teaching language varieties that have historically been marginalized; and challenging preconceived representations of otherness. They have also taken up gaps that continue to exist in the field, such as how to connect classroom language learning with communities and how to support language use in non-academic contexts.

In the fall, Amel Belguith, Lecturer in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures Department, developed a course to teach North African Arabic, with an emphasis on Moroccan Arabic and Natalya Nielsen, GSR in Scandinavian, presented modules designed to help students think critically about race, indigeneity, belonging, and identity in a Nordic context. 

In the spring, Chi Leung Chan, Lecturer in East Asian Languages & Cultures, developed learning materials to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for health communication contexts in Mandarin and Cantonese; Simo Cocco, GSR in Italian Studies, shared a design for an instructor guide to support the incorporation of gender neutral Italian in the classroom; Semyon Leonenko, GSR in Slavic Languages & Literatures, focused on supporting the development of conversational skills in Russian through the use of YouTube interviews; and Ahmad Rashid Salim, GSR in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures department, unpacked the historical displacement of the Kabuli dialect of Persian and its impact in academia.

Congratulations to all for your work that already has had and will continue to have a significant impact in language and culture classrooms at UC Berkeley and beyond!

The Year in Review, 2022-23

Conference: Visibilizing Raciolinguistic Ideologies across Cultures, Languages, and Systems

The Language as Social Justice Working Group, supported by the Berkeley Language Center and funded by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, organized a free online conference in April. Speakers and attendees from around the world gathered to visibilize raciolinguistic ideologies.

Many thanks to the conference organizers Gabriella Licata, Emily Hellmich, and Kimberly Vinall.

Visiting Scholars

The BLC welcomed Visiting Scholars Volodymyr Goshylyk (Ukraine) and Liping Zhang (China) and said goodbye to Visiting Scholar Hongjing Liao (China). Thank you to all for being a part of the BLC community and for sharing your research and perspectives.

Undergraduate Programming

We have continued to develop undergraduate programming in order to foster a broader community of language and culture learners and enthusiasts while also promoting the many ways to engage with language and culture study here at UC Berkeley. In the fall, we offered a panel designed to offer participants information about different opportunities to financially support study / work abroad. Additionally, we offered a colloquium, featuring an undergraduate and alumni panel, to address the question Why study languages / cultures at UC Berkeley?.

Words in Action

In April, we celebrated linguistic and cultural diversity at UC Berkeley through the multilingual student performance Words in Action, organized and directed by Annamaria Bellezza. This year included scenes, songs, and poems in 20 different languages!

The Year in Review, 2022-23
The Year in Review, 2022-23

Exploring the Boundaries of Translation Contest

The BLC and the Found in Translation (FIT) working group sponsored the second annual Exploring the boundaries of translation contest. Winners included Anna Reck, whose German word was Waldeinsamkeit, Angeli Lohner, whose Spanish word was empalagar, Aurelia Widjaja, whose Korean word was han, and DJ Fernandez, whose Tagalog word was hiraya. You can read more about why they considered these words to be untranslatable here.

Berkeley World Language Project (BWLP)

Contributed by BWLP Co-Directors Nancy Salsig and Donald Doehla 

We are happy to be back on campus and in-person after two years of online programming!

This year, our programming consisted of two 5-day professional development workshop series for teachers of World Languages.  Participants created communication-based lessons and units of instruction, using strategies for developing linguistic proficiency in supportive settings. The lessons they created were CA WL Standards & Framework-aligned, using culturally authentic resources to promote active student engagement.

The workshops offered in 2022-23 were:

Strand A: Planning the Journey – Daily & Weekly Lesson Sequences

Strand B: A New Hope! – Designing Thematic Units

We also continued to support local schools and districts in our service area, including the Hayward Unified School district.  Our interactive workshops focused on the new California World Languages Standards and Framework.

We are proud of the BWLP Team, made up of teacher-leaders who have dedicated themselves to presenting excellent workshops to meet the needs of our participants. One of our teacher-leaders, Angela L. Martinez, received the California World Language Project Teacher Leader Award at the CLTA conference in March.  Angela is well-deserving of such recognition, so we applaud her achievements, and appreciate her dedication to her students and our profession.

We are currently planning our interactive workshops for 2023-2024!  For more information check our website at

2023-25 BLC Advisory Board

We are very grateful for the many contributions of the members of the BLC Advisory, which include:

1. Laura Sterponi (Chair of the Advisory Board, BSE)
2. Rick Kern (Chair, Department of French)
3. Justin Davidson (Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese)
4. Lihua Zhang (Senior Lecturer, East Asian Languages and Cultures)
5. Nikolaus Euba (Senior lecturer, language program coordinator, Department of German)
6. Martha Saavedra (Associate Director, Center for African Studies)
7. Linda von Hoene (Grad Division, Asst. Dean for Professional Development)
8. Natalya Nielsen (Graduate student, Department of Scandinavian)


The Year in Review, 2022-23

In honor of his commitment to language and culture teaching and learning, Daniel Hoffmann was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award, Berkeley’s most prestigious award for sustained excellence in teaching. Congratulations again Daniel!

For more news, check out the German Student Cabaret, Dutch 1 Video Projects, and the development of Professional Pathways in the French Department,

The Year in Review, 2022-23

And a special note of acknowledgement to the entire BLC team of Orlando, Arely, John, Keith, and Elle for all of their work in the planning and production of events, from publicity to microphone placement to website updates, and for maintaining our facilities and programs. Thank you!

Looking forward, we are already in the planning stages for next year. If you have any ideas or suggestions feel free to contact us. In the meantime, we thank you for being part of this remarkable community and we wish you all a sunny and fun summer!

Best, The BLC