TLC Presents...



Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Arabic in Modern Western Aramaic

Saturday, September 30, 2023
12:10pm - 1:10pm
Location: 1 Spring Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, SPR-403/Zoom

Modern Western Aramaic is presently spoken in two villages in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as a small but growing diaspora. All its speakers are bilingual in Arabic, and its phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon bear the hallmarks of this longstanding contact situation. These characteristics distinguish Modern Western Aramaic from all other surviving Aramaic languages, most of which evolved to their present forms in a similarly bilingual situation with Iranian languages such as Kurdish and Persian. Scholars have characterized these hallmarks as “corrupt”, “deep”, and even so numerous as to be “pointless to list”, but the degree of their influence has never truly been quantified. While no scholar has yet understated the degree of Arabic influence upon Modern Western Aramaic, evidence suggests that prior scholarship may have overstated it.

Presenter: Charles G. Häberl
Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL)


Introduction to Theory and Research in Heritage Languages: A Critical Overview

Friday, September 23, 2022
1:30pm - 3:30pm
Location: Rutgers Academic Building, 15 Seminary Pl, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, AB-5190 and ZOOM

This lecture is designed to provide graduate students and other early career researchers in fields such as second language acquisition, theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, sociology and anthropology of language, and psycholinguistics with a foundation in theories surrounding the acquisition of heritage languages. The goals of this presentation are twofold: to present the three theories that have been influential to heritage language acquisition research, and to highlight how these theories pave the way forward for research on this topic. This presentation is oriented towards students in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, but is relevant for attendees in any of the fields addressed above.

Presenter: Patrick Thane, Ph.D. candidate
Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition
Department of Spanish and Portuguese


Workshop Flyer

Dictionary of Latin American Identities: Applications for the Spanish, Portuguese, and French Classroom

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
10:00am - 11:00am
Location: Rutgers Academic Building, 15 Seminary Pl, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, AB-5190

What is the term “Latinx”? Is it a race? An ethnicity? A gender? A sexual orientation? This overview starts with one of the most debated terms in the United States to tease out the multiple communities and histories it represents. The presentational portion will give an introductory overview of key concepts of race in Latin America. Then, the differences of gender identity and sexual orientation will be discussed. Race, gender, and sexual orientation interact with one another to deeply influence how we see ourselves and one another. Ethnicity is also influenced, and notions of one’s culture change in the context of immigration to the United States or descending from immigrants. These factors are registered on multiple aspects of language that we consciously or unconsciously use, such as grammatical gender, vocabulary, and pronouns. Meditating on the single term “Latinx” reveals how power shapes the language skills students need to communicate in a highly globalized, multicultural United States as well as abroad. The methods portion will include sample activities to illustrate how to incorporate discussions of these sensitive but important issues into classes from Spanish 101 to graduate coursework in literature and linguistics. Dictionary of Latin American Identities, by cataloguing a wealth of terms that are new to many English speakers, reveals new facets of communication, connections, communities, cultures, and comparisons. “Latinxs” are the largest US minority, but the term is but one of many labels people have adopted, adapted, and eluded for centuries.

Presenter: John Thomas Maddox IV

John Maddox Portrait updated

John Thomas Maddox IV is Associate Professor of Spanish and African American Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He specializes in literature, language, and culture of the African Diaspora, particularly in the Hispanic Caribbean and Brazil. His Books include Challenging the Black Atlantic: The New World Novels of Zapata Olivella and Gonçalves (Bucknell UP, 2020), Dictionary of Latin American Identities (coauthored with Thomas Stephens, U of Florida P, 2021), and Fractal Families in New Millennium Narrative by Afro-Puerto Rican Women (U of Wales P, 2022). He is AATSP Teacher of the year 2021.

Sociolinguistics through Mixed Media

Wednesday, November 30, 2022
3:30pm - 4:30pm
Location: Rutgers Academic Building, 15 Seminary Pl, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, AB-5190

This presentation focuses on language acquisition and student engagement via sociolinguistics (dialects, vocabulary, culture, speech patterns, and rhythms). I will show how teaching via “Products, Practices, and Perspectives” of people brings language to life and into focus. Teachers should consider how authentic and fictional material sources can motivate students to realize their L2 potential. Using available technology, students can interact with bilingual people worldwide in real-time. Real-life scenarios can supplant simulations to connect students to people beyond the immediate classroom.

Presenter: John Allen

thumbnail IMG 0664 004As I approach my 25th year as an educator, I am as excited now as when I first began. I have had the honor of teaching students from Kindergarten through the university level. In addition to co-teaching the "Methods in Spanish Language Teaching,” I teach a course titled "Principles of Leadership" here at Rutgers University in the Rutgers Cooperative Extension program, New Brunswick. Furthermore, I designed, developed, and taught another world language course, "Spanish for the Agriculture Workforce.”

Critical Thinking in the World Language Classroom

February 23, 4:00-5:00pm ET (Virtual Event)
Rosanne Zeppieri

Educators agree that students must become critical thinkers in order to become true learners. There are strategies that teachers can use to encourage learners to speculate, criticize, and form conclusions about knowledge they already have as well as information they will acquire in the future. Therefore, teachers need to ask probing questions as well as devise tasks and activities that encourage learners to brainstorm, compare and contrast ideas, make connections, and support ideas with evidence.

What Motivates Students To Continue Studying A Language At The University Level?

December 8, 4:30-5:00pm ET (Virtual Event)
Amy Bustin, PH.D.

This talk will discuss students’ motivation to enroll in language courses and to continue language study past any language requirement for their undergraduate major. As many language departments face enrollment concerns nationwide, an empirical study was conducted to examine the relationship between motivational factors, both internal (e.g., an intrinsic desire or passion for learning) or external (e.g., imposed by others) and course enrollment. The study examined students enrolled in three course levels: a) the first required language class b) the last required language class, and c) the first elective course. Seven motivational categories were examined: Integrative, Instrumental, Intrinsic, Ideal self, Ought-to self, Wish for language proficiency, and Political context. Results at all levels showed that Wish for language proficiency was the principal motivator while factors stemming from external motivations were less important. Students in the elective course displayed more intrinsic motivation and reported enjoying the challenge of language learning. In this talk, I present the quantitative and qualitative results of this research (N = 149), with an emphasis on sharing participants’ perspectives and insights into their motivational processes. The discussion will highlight ways of promoting and maintaining motivation in language courses such as the use of carefully designed proficiency assessments, task-based instruction, and service-learning opportunities.

Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive Teaching

November 10, 4:00-5:00pm
Dena Novak

Schools and universities serve diverse student populations, and educators likewise need to utilize instructional strategies that are designed with learner diversity in mind. Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an instructional framework which focuses on creating flexible and inclusive learning environments, is one such strategy. Building on the social model of disability, UDL views learner variability as the rule rather than the exception, and focuses on the learning environment as both the location of learning barriers and the key means of learner support. Instructional strategies in UDL emphasize providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. Moreover, UDL frames “access” to learning as the baseline and aims to create learning environments that actively empower learners. This workshop will provide an overview of the need for greater UDL adoption in education, introduce attendees to the core principles of the framework, and provide guidance on how to operationalize UDL as an instructional strategy and mindset. Through interactive discussion and scenario-based activities, we will work through ways in which UDL can be used to reconceptualize support for diverse learner needs in the classroom and shift classrooms toward more inclusive approaches to learning and teaching.

Diving Deeper: Designing Thematic Units for Today's World Language Learners

October 23, 9:00-12:00pm (Virtual Event)
Doug Crouse

When purposefully conceived, thematic units offer a thought-provoking means of engaging students and developing their intercultural communicative competence. With so many tech tools at our disposal, the possibilities for broadening our students' horizons and deepening their understanding have never been greater.