Greetings from the Director


Greetings from the Director      ***Listen to Rick Kern speak about language learning on KQED Forum.***


Welcome to the Berkeley Language Center!

UC Berkeley is an international leader in language and culture education and research. Some 60 modern and ancient languages are taught on campus, Berkeley students enroll in 200 Education Abroad programs each year, and the Linguistics Department works actively with California Indian tribe members to teach their languages in their own communities. Our number one goal at the BLC is to encourage and support the learning and teaching of languages on the Berkeley campus and beyond.

Through our lecture series, workshops, reading groups, travel grants, and library we provide language instructors with opportunities to learn about new developments in the fields of applied linguistics, language pedagogy, and second language acquisition. Through the BLC Fellows program we support research by language lecturers and graduate students. We offer assistance to instructors wishing to create innovative language learning materials, we provide faculty and students with state-of-the-art learning facilities and equipment, and we maintain a library and media archive of materials for language teaching and research. The BLC Library of Foreign Language Film Clips, developed by Associate Director Mark Kaiser, serves all UC campuses as well as some 50 other universities in the U.S., a handful of local high schools, as well as a few universities in Asia and Europe.

Given its broad mission, the BLC does not espouse any universal approach to language teaching, but rather promotes a wide range of approaches to language study. People have many different purposes in learning languages and, moreover, each language department has its particular goals and its own unique culture of teaching. The role of the BLC is therefore not to centralize or homogenize language teaching efforts across campus, but rather to offer services and resources that will help teachers and departments provide the best possible language instruction to their students.

Outreach is another important part of the BLC’s mission. The Berkeley World Language Project, co-directed by Don Doehla and Nancy Salsig and housed at the BLC, provides professional development programs for language teachers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano Counties. The BLC blog Found in Translation has readers in over 100 countries. We disseminate recordings of the BLC Lecture Series on this website and we keep our many email list subscribers informed of calls for papers, conferences, news items, and events (please contact Victoria Williams at if you would like to be added to our email list).

In 2011, the BLC’s Audio Archive of Linguistic Field Recordings and the Survey of California and Other Indigenous Languages merged their databases and are now accessible through the portal site California Language Archive. Finally, we periodically sponsor events that bring together language teachers and administrators from K-12 schools, community colleges, California State Universities, and UC campuses to discuss issues related to the teaching of languages and cultures.

I encourage you to explore the many resources available on our website, and invite you to participate in our BLC activities.

Rick Kern
Director, Berkeley Language Center