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Resources and Reference Materials

What's the demand for Arabic Teachers?
How do I help my school choose a new language to teach?
Teaching a second language to K-5
How do I recruit critical needs language teachers?
Karen Language?
Arabic Proficiency Test
Chinese Language Immersion Programs
Does your institution offer scholarships for college tuition?
Is there a test or a program leading to certification as an interpreter?
Best book to teach Arabic for English speakers for the first time in High school
Information on bilingualism and simultaneous interpreters
Translator's Rates
Teacher educator looking for information on Arabic certification in New York City and State
Story on the opportunities for college students to learn Arabic
Can you direct me to specific grant web sites that offer monies for instructional support?
Could you recommend some program or method for distance or self study of Arabic?
Where can I find summer language programs in Spain designed for high school-aged students?
What are my career options in the linguistics field?
Telling a School Board of the need to begin teaching languages like Arabic
Language instruction in Bengali
Where can I find telephonic language interpretation?
Materials for teaching Tibetan?
Does CAL have resources on Chinese language teaching and learning?
How teachers are certified in the U.S. to teach Chinese

Is there any data proving that kids who have long sequences of L2 instruction do, in fact, learn to learn?
Translation and Interpretation Programs
Self vs. Class Foreign Language Instruction?
What are the most common languages spoken in America?
Where can I find materials for learning Mongolian?
Is there a national database of secondary schools that teach Chinese?
Is there a standard test for proficiency in Chinese?
Where can I find resources for Uduk?
Help! Translators needed for our court case!
Where can I find a translator for a 1910 journal written in Yiddish?
Where can I find grant money to start a foreign language program?
Where could one find a comprehensive Hindi textbook?
Where can I find a Dinka/English dictionary?
How can I find out which languages are spoken where?
As an independent school teacher, how can I find money to "refresh" my Arabic Skills?
Do other states besides NJ have a mandated foreign language requirement in the elementary schools?

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What's the Demand for Arabic Teachers?

Dear Dora,

I have a question for you. My daughter is graduating from the university this spring with a major in English and political science. She is now thinking of going into education. She has two years of Arabic at the college level; 10 credits. She has become quite interested in the language. Do you know what opportunities there are to teach Arabic in schools – information that I could pass on to her? It is something that I know she would like to pursue. Her college has just added a third year of Arabic education, and she would further her studies in Arabic if she thought there were schools in the country that are looking for Arabic teachers.

Sincerely,

Paul

Dear Paul,

You ask a very good question. I'm assuming your daughter is thinking about becoming a school teacher so my comments will be directed towards that population.

Arabic language programs are being established in K-12, and as far as we can determine, the need for competent Arabic language teachers will grow. There a couple of challenges, however. One, which I'm sure you will understand, is that the public school systems are required under NCLB to hire "fully qualified" teachers, i.e., trained and certified. Well, there aren't that many places in the country where (a) the state recognizes Arabic as a core language to be taught which means there are no praxis tests to take, and (b) even where there is recognition, the opportunities for training in Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) are few. There are states where one can get certified in Arabic language teaching, but they aren't many. Some certify their teachers in World Languages. In order to get around this requirement, many school districts and states are going an alternative route. E.g., they require the person who is already certified in another subject to take the Oral Proficiency Interview as well as the written form of it as administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). If the person passes it at the level the district or state determines, then that person will be given licensure to teach the language and is pretty much considered "certified." This has created some serious problems, because many of these teachers have never taught Arabic before and just because they speak the language doesn't make them qualified to teach it. However, in states where the language is recognized, and certification is available (which I think Wisconsin is on its way to doing), there is often reciprocity.

Second, there is the challenge of what consitutes having taken enough of a language. This is in no way to denigrate the language teaching at Wisconsin or anywhere else, but what constitutes a year of language or two year of language is not a good measure, and so schools doing the hiring are going to want to know a whole lot more about a person's proficiency and knowledge. She will need to have more documentation than the number of courses she has taken. That often means taking one of a few tests available that will certify her level of proficiency. By all means she should take the third year of Arabic.

I am going to suggest a few things that she might want to look into. In addition to taking a third year of Arabic, I would suggest that she begin planning to apply to the State Department's program for overseas summer study. This has become a fairly competitive program, but it's worth applying to. Nothing is as valuable as overseas language study. If she doesn't get into the State Department program, there are many opportunities for summer study at some pretty credible institutions overseas. Popular destinations are Morocco, Tunis, Cairo, and Jordan, as well as Beirut.

In the absence of overseas language study, she should also investigate summer intensive language courses. If I'm not mistaken, Wisconsin has one as does Michigan (Ann Arbor). Middlebury is another venue. These experiences will be valuable in terms of increasing her language skills. They can also determine whether she really wants to stick with this language or not! Some of these programs have scholarship aid available, so they should not be discounted because they may be too expensive.

So…will your daughter be able to find a job as an Arabic language teacher? I would say the chances are good, especially if she comes with other qualifications. Often, the school will be looking for someone who can teach two languages, or a language and a subject. However, as a second language learner, she will need to ensure that her language skills are comparable (not necessarily equal!) to a native language speaker.

I want to point out that there has been a project through the Wisconsin Department of Instruction for Arabic and Chinese. I will forward the announcement to you in the next e-mail. If your daughter wants to get credits for certification, Concordia is offering such a program. She may want to contact them and see if there are some courses that she can take while she's still in undergraduate school. The person to talk to is Donna Clementi (clementi@cord.edu).

I hope this answers some of your questions. If you have more specific ones, please do not hesitate to ask.

With best wishes,.
Dora Johnson


How do I help my school choose a new language to teach?

Dear Dora:

I had contacted you before and found your response to be helpful. I am clerking a committee for my school regarding the addition of a non-Western language. The process thus far has been a lot of work, but also very rewarding for all of the committee members. We have looked closely at every possible option from Urdu, Hindi, and Farsi to Korean and Swahili. Of course, as you may have imagined Chinese and Arabic are really the two final contenders. We are waiting for the results form some surveys before we make our final decision. My question now is related to research on foreign language learning. I am a Spanish teacher and know that the earlier one starts learning a language the better, but I need the research to show to the committee members. Do you know where I could find some? Is there any research that focuses on Non-western languages specifically? Namely Arabic and Chinese. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
David

Dear David:
My apologies for not having written to you sooner. It has been a particularly busy month!
I am not sure that there is any research that would point directly to learning Chinese and Arabic in early childhood. The research so far has focused on the more commonly taught languages although there are a few snippets here and there that may be used as examples. So whatever we can provide you with is general research that confirms that starting to learn a language earlier gives one a legup. The process is pretty much the same linguistically and cognitively. Whereas it is true that perhaps Chinese and Arabic are not considered "easy" languages to learn, the approach(es) used in teaching children is what should be taken into consideration. There are some videos now of example of how children have mastered Chinese at a fairly early age.

However, the two persons who can best answer your question specifically are Nancy Rhodes and Ingrid Pufahl in our Foreign Language Education Division since they deal with early FL education a lot. One of them will respond to you with the resources that you may need to bring to your committee. Perhaps they can also provide you with a couple of contacts in schools who may be helpful to you in forming your argument for teaching these two languages. Both staff members are out this week, but I'm sure that they will respond to you as soon as they return next week.

With best wishes for the New Year.
Dora Johnson

Reply from Ingrid Pufahl

Dear David:
Thank you for your email, which was forwarded by Dora Johnson. Unfortunately, we do not have any research that would show, specifically, that starting Chinese earlier leads to higher proficiency. Having said that, you may want to look at our web site, specifically the Benefits of Early Language Learning, http://www.cal.org/earlylang/benefits/index.html and the annotated bibliographies listed.

Another helpful link may be http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/november/learningExpectations.html which lists the number of hours needed to achieve proficiency in a variety of languages.

However, these are in reference to experienced and motivated adult learners. The College Board, too, has very convincing data that students who study a foreign language longer do significantly better on the corresponding AP test (but again, I don’t think they have Chinese data yet).

However, I will look into research being done overseas, where many countries have switched to mandatory language learning in the early primary grades. If there is anything else, I may help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards,
Ingrid Pufahl
Foreign Language Education Division
Center for Applied Linguistics


Teaching a second language in grades K-5

Dear Dora,
I'm a relatively new Specialist for LOTE in our district. I have years of experience teaching at high school but know almost nothing about the early years of language instruction. Where could I find examples of successful programs, curriculum, teacher requirements, and other pertinent facts and figures relating to teaching a second language in grades K-5? Any sources or information would be appreciated.
Sincerely,
Janet

Dear Janet,
The people who can answer your questions are Nancy Rhodes and Ingrid Pufahl of our staff. One of them will send you resources to consult. I have also copied the National Capital Language Resource Center with my answer. The staff there also has accumulated a wealth of information that may be of use to you.
Best regards.
Dora Johnson

Dear Janet:
Your email about K-5 foreign language instruction was forwarded to me. Probably your first resource should be our Web site on preK-8 foreign language learning, www.cal.org/earlylang . It contains a wide range of resources, including links to program development, curricula, several teachers' Web site with excellent information, in particular Kathy Siddons' site (look under teaching resources/materials & curricula), and a link to a searchable database of programs. Your next step should probably be to sign up for Nandu, our listserv, which has over 700 members, most of whom are Spanish teachers. To look at what is being discussed, you can check out the archives (there is a link from the box on the left to http://caltalk.cal.org/read/?forum=nandu ). To sign up, send an email to: Nandu-request@caltalk.cal.org With the text: Subscribe yourlastname yourfirstname You will receive a request for confirmation, which contains a really long email (lots of numbers and letters, ending in caltalk.cal.org) Send an email to that address (no message, no subject line) and you'll be subscribed and ready to post messages. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Kind regards, Ingrid Dear Janet: Dora Johnson forwarded your message to us. NCLRC has developed a summer institute aimed at teaching learning strategies to young language learners. You can see the description of that institute and download the handout here: http://www.nclrc.org/profdev/nclrc_inst_pres/summer_inst.html#learning_strat_5cs We have also developed an Elementary Immersion Learning Strategies Guide, which is online or can be ordered in print form. You can see it here: http://www.nclrc.org/eils/index.html Hope these resources are helpful to you.
Sincerely,
Jill Robbins

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How do I recruit critical needs language teachers?

Dear Dora:

I am in Frederick, MD and am working to create an all-girls public charter school (7th-12th) which will focus on providing instruction in Critical Needs Foreign Languages: Arabic, Chinese and Russian. The school system is questioning whether I will be able to locate teachers for these classes. Can you please advise as to whether you have a pool of candidates that would be available for August 2009 to teach year one classes for our school? Please inform me if you have any suggestions as to ways for me to begin to recruit these teachers.
School Planner

Dear School Planner:

What a wonderful idea, starting a charter school that focuses on instruction in critical needs foreign languages. I can best answer your questions about Arabic, and will need to refer you to others for Chinese and Russian.

The school system is right to query whether you will be able to find qualified teachers to teach these languages easily. However, that does not mean you can't find them. For Russian, I suggest that you might want to contact the American Councils on International Education/American Council of Teachers of Russian. In addition to providing resources for Russian, this organization also has a program with the U.S. State Department where Arabic and Chinese language teachers come to the U.S. for one year to teach. They are put through some reasonably intensive training before they are sent out to the schools. Their salaries and modest living expenses are paid by the program, so that is an option for getting teachers.

It will probably be a little more difficult to find a “qualified” Arabic teacher stateside, but it's not impossible. The National Capital Language Resource Center through its Arabic K-12 network can put out an announcement and I think you will get applications from native speakers as well as near-native or proficient speakers of Arabic. We will be glad to work with you on helping you identify teachers.

As for Chinese, another good bet is to go through Han Ban, which is the Chinese agency that is sending Chinese teachers abroad to teach Chinese. Many of the programs that are being set up now are being done through this agency. Han Ban also provides support. However, again the person who knows the most about this program and can be the most helpful is Shuhan Wang at the Asia Society. [Note: Dr. Wang suggests that anyone interested in Chinese programs should order the Asia Society’s handbook, Creating a Chinese Language Program in Your School: An Introductory Guide. http://www.askasia.org/chinese/startaprogram.htm. This URL provides a sampling of what the handbook contains.]

The problem you are going to encounter, and that's a nationwide problem, is if you are insistent on certified teachers. They are far and few in between, and unless you are willing to offer them the security of full time work and tenure, it's going to be hard to lure them from wherever they are to Frederick, MD. Various approaches are being tried now to resolve this problem, one of them being summer institute training for teachers. In the case of the Middle East Institute, for example, teachers can get credit for the training in Arabic. Many of the programs that are being funded by STARTalk also provide credit for the teachers. They have been offered in Minnesota, California, Kentucky, among others. So, if a teacher is certified in something else, then that teacher can take these trainings and begin the process of becoming either certified or qualified to teach one of these languages, if they meet the requirements of the state. My sense is that charter schools are not quite as insistent on certification as they are on wanting qualified candidates who they know can teach well.

It's not impossible to find teachers, but it will take some careful planning and organizing.

Dora Johnson
Program Associate
Center for Applied Linguistics

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Karen Language?

Every so often the Dear Dora column offers answers from other staff, and sometimes the information may be complementary to the work of foreign language teaching. This is one I thought was worth passing on. The answer comes from Colleen Mahar-Piersma at CAL who is on the staff of the Cultural Orientation Resource Center (CORCenter).

Dear Dora,
I was asked a question today about if anyone at CAL knew anything about the Karen language? Two of my students recently had a student enroll who is literate in that language, but they don't have anyone who can communicate with him/translate etc. due to the scarcity of resources and lack of knowledge base in that language. I did look up some information on Wikipedia, but other than that I know nothing about the language. Wonder if you might be able to help out?
A Teacher

Dear Teacher of Karen-Speaking Students:
First, I recommend looking at the Cultural Orientation Resource Center's Culture Profile entitled "Refugees from Burma" (http://www.cal.org/co/pdffiles/refugeesfromburma.pdf - available for free download or purchase from the CALStore). The Karen language is discussed on pages 36-39.

Second, for more information on (or in) the Karen language, I recommend the Drum Publications Web site, at http://www.drumpublications.org. Their publications page includes the following text:
• English - Sgaw Karen Student Dictionary (PDF version which can be used off line)
• Karen - English Dictionary (PDF version which can be used off line) Newly revised edition March 2008

Drum Publications has been generous with downloading print versions of its publications, but you do need to ask for permission. They've also established the following on-line interpreter services (given the time difference, this wouldn't be the first choice, however). To help meet the needs of the recently resettled Karen and Burmese refugees from Thailand to third countries, the Drum Publication Group has established an on-line interpreter service using the free PC to PC communication service of Skype. A Drum interpreter will usually be available on-line from 10:00am to 4:00pm local time in Thailand, Monday to Friday (except local holidays). To arrange an appointment outside these times, please contact Drum via email. They also make their services available through Skype.

Third, if the students have been resettled by a resettlement agency (rather than if they're secondary migrants who have moved there on their own), the resettlement agency should have someone who can communicate with them (that may be a volunteer, or someone else from the Karen community).

Best wishes,
Colleen Mahar-Piersma
Cultural Orientation Resource Center

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Arabic proficiency test

Hi Dora,
I got your name from Marty Abbot who mentioned that you would be a great contact person. My school board, the Greater Essex Board in Windsor, Ontario, is in need of an Arabic proficiency test, for reading, writing and speaking in Arabic, so that we can have an idea of the Arabic skills of our teacher candidates. The classes they will be teaching are Primary classes in Arabic and English. Do you know of any reliable tests that we could purchase for this purpose? Any leads would be appreciated. Please call or email, my contact information below. Thanks!
Ina

Dear Ina:
For reasons of certification and verification, most school systems have been using the ACTFL assessments for oral and writing proficiency. They do have their costs, but they use trained and certified testers. In my opinion, the peace of mind is worth the cost! I'm hoping eventually we'll have something along the lines of a Praxis that will be for Arabic teachers, but we aren't there yet! For information on what that entails, you need to contact Language Testing International. www.languagetesting.com
Best wishes,
Dora

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Chinese-language immersion programs

Hi, Dora!
I was looking at CAL's website directory of Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Programs in the U.S. and was interested in finding a list of the Chinese language immersion programs in the U.S. It turned up only two. That seemed like a low number... Do you know of any one else who might be collecting info about Chinese language immersion programs, especially at the K-5 level? THANKS! (I'm most interested in getting a number and their locations and contact info if available)
Peggy

Dear Peggy:
I'm sure there are more Chinese immersion programs, but perhaps not 2-way programs. Have you looked at our other directory of programs of foreign language programs, e.g. http://www.cal.org/resources/immersion/

In addition, you may also want to talk to the Asia Society in New York. Asia Society has been doing an extensive survey of Chinese programs and Chinese language teaching. the person to contact is Shuhan Wang. http://www.asiasociety.org/
Dora

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Does your institution offer scholarships for college tuition?

Dear Dora:
I am a high school senior. I will be needing help paying for my college tuition. I was wondering if your institution had any special scholarships such as: If I take 4 years of a certain language, your institution will help pay for my college tuition. Does your institution offer any thing like this?
A.B.

Dear A.B.:
Unfortunately, we are not a granting institution so would not be able to help you.
However, there are a number of plans in the works through the federal government that are going to be able to help students who are willing to take a language over several years with the intent of becoming fluent in that language. What I would suggest is that as you are applying to colleges, that you ask the question as to whether they are involved in any of the programs that are being planned or are available through the National Security Language Initiative. The new legislation allows for loans and forgiveness on those loans depending on how advanced your language skills become. The same applies I believe for math and science majors.

So don't be shy -- pursue the options. Much will depend on the school you go to, but it certainly is worth asking the question. You will need to look at schools that are offering courses in what we call the less commonly taught languages or the critical languages. At the moment, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu and the Central Asian languages are on the list, but the list could expand to include others eventually.

Good luck in your search. It's good to know that you are interested in pursuing a foreign language.
Sincerely,
Dora Johnson

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Is there a test or a program leading to certification as an interpreter?

Dear Dora:
I am a Youth Programs Administrator.  One program we administer is the Title IB Youth Workforce Investment program.  A requirement of the program is to provide training leading to a certificate for youth and eventually employment in a specific field.  We have a youth who has worked very hard in Spanish and wants to be an interpreter.  There are opportunities with the state for employment as an interpreter.  I do not know if there is a test or a program leading to certification as an interpreter.  Please let me know as soon as possible.  Thank you for your assistance.
Sincerely,

Diedre

Dear Diedre:
I don't know of any tests that one can take to become a certified interpreter, other than those connected with the U.S. State Department and I don't think your student would quite fit that profile!  There are schools that train people to become interpreters and then give them a certificate. I don't know if there is such a place in Alaska.

What might be an option is for your student is to take the American Translators Association exam. If he passes that exam, that will allow him to state that he has passed that exam and in many ways legitimizes his work. You will need to contact the ATA to see what needs to be done to take the exam. The Web site is http://www.atanet.org/. They may also be able to answer some of your questions re interpreting.

One other option might is for your student to take the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) test. It's nationally recognized. It costs something like $150, and it's administered over the phone, so there would not be need for travel. The interviewer will then determine the level of proficiency of your student. Based on that, the person could offer his services to various organizations and institutions and he'd have a certificate that says that his language abilities are sufficient to at least do some translation and interpretation. In a way, if he can afford taking that test, it may tell him how much more work he has to do to reach a level where he can work as an interpreter.  The Web site for Language Testing International is http://www.languagetesting.com/
Best Wishes,
Dora Johnson

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Best book to teach Arabic for English speakers for the first time in High school

Dear Dora:
I know a lot about your proficiency and your professionalism, therefore I need your suggestion and advice. What would be the best book to teach Arabic for English speakers for the first time in High school? Thank you so much in advance,
Amale

Dear Amale:
If you are looking for textbooks, the two most popular for high school students, even though they weren't directly written for them, are the Al-Kitaab series that are available through Georgetown University Press (www.press.georgetown.edu/arabic.html) and Ahlan wa Sahlan published by Yale University Press (www.yale.edu/yup). Both series are sensible and written by experienced teachers. Inshallah, some day we will have enough funds to develop materials directly for high school students. There may be some coming out of some of the programs, but at the moment, these are the two that are in use. With best wishes.
Dora

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Information on bilingualism and simultaneous interpreters

Dear Dora:
I am a professional simultaneous interpreter from Arabic to English and vice versa, and am currently working on a thesis for a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics on the topic of bilingualism and simultaneous interpreters. I still have not found a specific claim. I kindly ask you for any recommendation, information, reference, or research that may be of help. Thank you in advance.
Rana

Dear Rana:
It seems to me you have picked a topic for your thesis for which there are no answers -- at least anything that's based on research that we know of. From your e-mail, I'm guessing that you are interested in finding out whether a bilingual person would make a better simultaneous interpreter than a monolingual person who becomes "bilingual" by learning a second language. We don't know -- at least not that I know of any research. Simultaneous interpretation is a skill -- some people get very good at it, and some don't. As far as anyone can tell, it doesn't matter whether one grows up bilingual or not. It might make the first steps a bit easier but as the levels of proficiency go up, it's anyone's guess. The Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) just finished its standards and benchmarks on levels of what constitute a simultaneous interpreter at different levels. Sometime soon, they can be obtained from www.govtilr.org. It might be a good thing for you to contact the testing committee of the ILR. They might be able to give you some leads and some background information that the committee that was working on these levels accumulated over the last six or seven years. However, I suggest that you might want to be a bit more specific in describing what it is you are looking for. Good luck.
Dora

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Translator's Rates

Editor’s note: This month’s Ask Dora column is an exchange of emails regarding expectations from translators, including translation rates.

Marhaba all, I hope you all are doing well and enjoying whatever left from your summer vacation. I am emailing to request some feedback on translation issues. I was asked by my school district to give an estimate on translating a few letters/ home language survey type of documents from English into Arabic.

1) They want to know how long it takes to translate one page? (I know that it depends mainly on the content and the length of the page--- but just on average.)

2) What is the rate per hour? I personally haven't done much translation work lately so I don't know the rate nowadays. Any suggestions or feedback that you could provide on this topic would be very appreciated.
Salam,
Ikram

Hello Ikram and everyone,
I hope you're all doing well. Regarding the translation's rate, I am not sure if it is the same rate everywhere but here in California they charge between $20-$30 per page not per hour (this rate was 5 years ago) because it is hard to set a time for one page to be translated, it depends on the translator's fluency and the content as you said. For example, it takes me one half hour to translate one full page (excluding typing because I am slow in typing Arabic. I think it is better for you to charge per standard paper (30-40 lines) not per hour.
I hope this was helpful.
Salam,
Zeina

Dear Ikram:
To either charge by the line or the page is unprofessional and no one should ask you to do that. The going rate these days for what we term the less commonly taught languages (and that includes Arabic) is 25 cents/word. This is for general text -- not technical text which is more costly. School forms, etc., would be acceptable as general text. This price also includes the translator agreeing to make changes after reviews and perhaps even some formatting, but whatever you do, do not include the price of translation with turning out camera ready copy. You should provide finished copy. Camera ready is someone else's job and if you are asked to do that, you should charge something like $25/hour at minimum.

Regarding time, I'd go with Zeina's advice. It depends on how difficult or easy the text is. Normally, translators will take about an hour for 350 words of general text--and that's with experienced word processing. That's about one page double-spaced.

Translation is a painstaking and precise skill. There is a general attitude on the part of administrators and other program people (e.g., district supervisors, central office administrators, health professionals) that all one has to do is speak the language to be a translator. Nothing is further than the truth. This myth is unfair to the speaker of the language and it is unfair to the people who will receive the service. If you do decide to take on the task, please insist that there should be someone who can review and even do some back translating of what you have translated. Consensus is an important part of the process, so a discussion with the reviewer and the client should also be included in taking on the task.

I suggest that anyone interested in translation go to the Web site of the American Translators Association, www.atanet.org. There is a very nice booklet that can be downloaded on issues regarding translation entitled Translation: Getting it Right. As-salam aleykum.
Dora

Marhaba Dora,
Thank you so much for your helpful response. …You mentioned that the rate is 25 cents/word. Do we count the English words that we are translating or the Arabic finished products? Also, do you consider numbers as words?

Ikram
As-salam aleykum. It's the language into which you are translating that you charge for, in this case Arabic. Numbers are a bit messy -- and my sense is that once you've charged for them the first time, I wouldn't count them again.
Dora

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Teacher educator looking for information on Arabic certification in New York City and State

Dora,
I am a teacher educator in New York City and am writing a program to provide initial Arabic certification in New York. In order to submit the proposal I need information about other available programs and I have been looking in a variety of places with no luck. At our state website I get Arabic language program information of which there are many, and little information as to whether there are education components. I wonder if you would have a resource that would help me find this information as we would like to get this program through the college and available for interested students.
Thank you.

JD

Dear JD:
You may have to swim a bit upstream and do some phone calling/e-mailing in order to get what you're looking for. To my knowledge, the only two programs that have established teacher training programs for Arabic are DePaul University and the University of Michigan. Both are absolutely new and I'm not sure that they have any documentation to offer you. DePaul is going to gear up this summer with initial funding from STARTALK which is part of the National Security Language Initiative Program. There are other places that are planning to institute teacher training programs. Michigan State University is deeply involved in a K-16 program for Arabic (NSEP flagship), and is also going to be working with their School of Education to put into place a certification program. I also have been told that Brigham Young University is working with another university to institute a certification program, but I have no idea where that is in terms of implementation. Finally, the California Foreign Language Project is also developing a program through Cal State Long Beach. The head of the Arabic flagship program at the University of Maryland College Park is also in the planning stages of putting together a TAFL MA and is talking to the school of education to coordinate it with the idea of it being a certifying program.

Some other states have developed alternate means of certification. Maryland, for example, uses teachers already certified in a subject and if they pass the OPI at the superior level, they are then given provisional permission to teach Arabic and that seems to go on forever. I don't know whether NCLB will ultimately cut that short, but the Department of Education is under such pressure to certify teachers of critical languages that it's likely to look the other way regarding the "fully qualified" clause. Virginia is actually certifying its teachers if they have taken a requisite number of courses and it doesn't matter where one has taken the courses. Minneapolis certified its only Arabic teacher and may be on its way to certifying others, but that was done through the portfolio system. And I understand that Concordia College is now going to coordinate something through the Concordia Language Villages for teacher training and possible certification. Other systems such as Delaware have been certifying teachers under their World Languages program. And I also heard via the grapevine that New Jersey is considering a certification program. And there is a Web site for the foreign language educators that may lead to some answers about NJ.

No doubt there are others. If you need to talk to someone who has thought through what Arabic language teachers need to have in order to fit the qualified picture, the person to talk to is Dr. Mahdi Alosh. He is formerly from Ohio State University but has moved to the US Military Academy at West Point. He and two other experts have a chapter in a volume on Arabic language teaching that outlines what they see as basic requirements for a qualified Arabic instructor. It's a book worth getting. Wahba, Kassem M., Taha, Zeina A., and Liz England, eds. Handbook for Arabic Language Teaching Professionals in the 21st Century. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006. Order from Amazon.

You may also want to take a look at the STARTALK programs that are posted on the National Foreign Language Center's site, http://www.nflc.org. There are quite a number that are offering teacher training programs and the idea is that they will eventually lead to certification -- at least that's what the intent is. It is wonderful to hear that NY is investigating certification because I think if it happens, Arabic programs will proliferate quickly. Hopefully, you are in touch with Debby Almontasser who is heading up the new Khalil Gibran International School scheduled to open this fall.

And please keep us posted on the progress of your efforts.

Best wishes.
Dora

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Story on the opportunities for college students to learn Arabic

Dear Dora,
I’m working on a story about the breadth and depth of opportunities for college students to learn Arabic (Modern Standard and colloquial). Thank you!
Best regards,

Sierra

Dear Sierra:
There are no final figures for the availability of Arabic language study at the postsecondary level at the moment. The Modern Language Association is the group that collects that information, and they are in the process of updating their survey which they do every five years. So you will get a bit of a hedge from them because they do not want to sound authoritative when they don't have final figures, but I think that if you talk to David Goldberg he will give you a fairly good picture of the reports they're getting.

The other group you need to talk to is the American Association of Teachers of Arabic. The president of AATA is Karen Ryding at Georgetown University. You can reach her at rydingk@georgetown.edu. I'm sorry I don't have the phone number. She will also tell you that they are getting reports about the huge (for Arabic!) increases in offerings and that the classes that already exist are doubling, tripling and quadrupling. Dr. Ryding will probably refer you to the AATA Web site that has a listing of schools that offer Arabic (www.wm.edu/aata), but I know that that list needs to be updated also. The breadth of Arabic being offered at the moment is quite wide, I would say. Wherever a college (both 4-year and community) or university has been able to hire someone to teach, they have been doing it from all we can understand. Most teach Modern Standard Arabic, and I would dare say that probably very few teach colloquial Arabic unless they are teaching it to students who have achieved a fairly high proficiency in MSA. E.g., Georgetown and Michigan are two institutions I know that follow that process. I have seen announcements about teaching a regional variant of Arabic, but I personally would want to see how it is being presented.

The general consensus is that if one is to teach Arabic in a formal situation, one teaches MSA. It used to be that "dialects " were absolutely no-no's in the MSA class, but that is changing and there is some consensus building that says that when the occasion warrants it, a "dialect " is fine to use. In fact, there is one textbook published through the Language Resource Center at Cornell University that does combine both MSA and Levantine Arabic. There are textbooks that focus on dialects. Georgetown University Press is one of them. You might want to contact them and see who is ordering their dialect volumes. And I believe there are some British publishers that are also producing dictionaries, grammars and textbooks that focus on dialects. That says there's a demand for them but that information is also hard to find. Of course, the biggest Arabic language school is at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. At last report, I heard they had something like 2,500 students going through language training and some 300 teachers! It's not postsecondary but there will be a ripple effect from that effort that will show up in the universities. And the Department of Defense has also funded two graduate level flagships (Georgetown and the University of Maryland) that are supposed to produce high level proficiency Arabic speakers. And at the undergraduate level, there are two universities that are also focusing on high level skills, Michigan State University and the University of Texas, Austin. MSU has a K-16 program that they are developing with the Dearborn schools in an effort to create an articulated program.

As for depth, I don't know if anyone can even begin to answer that question. The general trend is that most students take a year of the language but there is a significant drop in the second year and by the time students reach their third year of language training, the numbers are quite small. I suspect that most respectable Arabic language programs provide 1st and 2nd year programs and will provide a 3rd and even 4th year if there is a demand for them. And there are reasons for the lack of depth. Institutions generally don't hire instructors on a full-time basis, so they are often dependent on someone being in the area who might be able to teach the language. In one case that I know, the coaching is done via distance learning. And there are not many well-trained teachers who are able to teach Arabic as a foreign language. However, I think that Dr. Ryding will be able to provide you with better answer than I. I am copying her with this response, in the event that I am providing you with wrong information!

If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Dora Johnson

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Can you direct me to specific grant web sites that offer monies for instructional support?

Hi Dora,
I am a teacher in central Pennsylvania. Our school is trying to locate funding in the form of grants to support an instructor of Arabic in an attempt to institute a critical language program in our district. Can you direct me to specific grant web sites that offer monies for instructional support? Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated! thanks,
Sara

Dear Sara:
This is the most difficult of the questions we get, because there are no good answers to it!
Since you are a public school district, the best thing to do is to apply for a FLAP (Foreign Language Assistance Grant). Last year the notice for application came out in May with a closing date of June 30. I'd suggest that you go to www.ed.gov/programs/flap/2006-293b.pdf to take a look at the grant application. And then I suggest that you call Rebecca Richy at the U.S. Department of Education: 202-245-7133, e-mail: rebecca.richey@ed.gov and have a conversation with her about what she advises.

Last year, most of the FLAP grants that were funded were for Chinese and there were only 5 that included Arabic, so your chances of getting an Arabic program funded is quite high if you get a good program together. You may need to get going fairly soon since the district bureaucracies can also create problems sometimes!

If you have a teacher identified already, and would be willing to take the chance, I'd suggest that a good thing is for the person to apply to go to one or more of the summer institutes that are being offered across the country this year for Arabic teachers. They are being advertised as the STARTALK institutes and can be accessed through the National Foreign Language Center Web site, http://www.nflc.org . Most of them are offering scholarships so the cost to the person would be pretty minimal. The National Capital Language Resource Center, for example, is offering two that might be useful. The URL is http://nclrc.org/profdev/nclrc_inst_pres/summer_inst.html

If you also want to see abstracts of the programs that did get funded for the 2006 fiscal year, go to http://www.languagepolicy.org/grants/FLAP/2006_FLAP_grantees.html

If we can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.

I do hope you can do this. We need to spread the teaching of Arabic even more widely and this is the time to do it!
Best wishes,
Dora

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Where can I find summer language programs in Spain designed for high school-aged students?

Dora,
I wonder if you can help me with something. My daughter, a HS junior, has been studying Spanish for 3 years. Her (private) school was offering a live-in summer language program in Spain, and she was really keen on going. However, 24 people applied for only 14 spots. She didn't make the cut-off, and she's been bummed-out ever since. I told her I'd try to arrange something for her over there somehow. Surely there are other summer language programs in Spain designed for high school-aged students that she could apply for? Are you or anyone you work with familiar with such programs? And/or could you tell us how to find info on what might be the "best" ones (in terms of quality, cost, participant feedback, etc.) Thanks very much for any info you can pass along. And keep up the great work!
All the best,
Joan

Dear Joan:
There are a lot of them actually and it seems to me that a good place to start would be to contact the Spanish Embassy's cultural office. They have a whole list from what I gather. You can then do some research via the Internet and see what might be a good fit. I know it makes mothers nervous to send their kids off into the wilderness without any ostensible oversight, but from what I can gather, these programs go to some lengths to keep track of the kids. The issue is, of course, that European teenagers have a lot more leeway than ours do in many ways. But I haven't heard any horror stories lately. There are also a bunch of organizations that organize these things from here, like the Study Abroad group, http://www.studyabroad.com/. I just did a Google search and the Choate School has a 6-week program, http://www.crhsummerabroad.org/spaintop.htm. Depends for how long she wants to go.
Hope to see you soon,
Dora

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Could you recommend some program or method for distance or self study of Arabic?

Dear Dora,
Greetings,Our son and daughter "did" Arabic camp this summer. Their strong interest continues. We have books on Arabic language, history, and culture. At times they even look at flash cards while we ride in the car. Our local high school is very open to having them study Arabic here. This is a town of only 800 people so you can imagine that it is not a subject that they are set up to teach. We are asking you to recommend some program or method that we could use for a distance or self study. They could start this upcoming semester if we can set it up in time. Thank you for your consideration and for your work on the Language Villages,
Bryce

Dear Bryce:
Thank you for this wonderful e-mail! How encouraging it is that the school is willing to entertain Arabic language study. The two main distance learning courses that we know of that may be of use are those run by the Arab Academy in Cairo and Arabic Without Walls. The Web site for the Academy is http://www.arabacademy.com . Arabic Without Walls should be accessed through http://uccllt.ucdavis.edu/ under distance learning or http://arabicwithoutwalls.ucdavis.edu/aww/info.html. It's based on the Brustad and Al-Batal textbooks published by Georgetown University Press.

I do hope your children will go back to the Concordia Language Villages Arabic camp. http://clvweb.cord.edu/prweb/arabic/default.asp I don't know if you know that they are going to offer a 4-week credit bearing course this summer and it promises to be good. The government is also funding two-week (and possibly 4-week) immersion experiences in various sites around the country. This program is known as STARTALK. The sites have not been chosen as of this date, but the National Foreign Language Center expects to have plans in place by the end of January.

Finally, for additional books, etc., a good source is http://www.Noorart.com . It's the largest Arabic language book distributor in the U.S. I don't know if they will send you books for review to see if they suit your children or not, but you can try. The other source that I know of is the International Book Centre (yes, Centre!). The Web site is http://www.ibcbooks.com/flash.html. With best wishes.
Dora Johnson

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What are my career options in the linguistics field?

Dear Dora,
I've been thinking about going back to school for an advanced degree in linguistics and I was wondering what my career options would be, besides teaching. Would you be able to answer my questions about a potential career in the field? I'm curious about the different branches of linguistics I could study and, as I said, career options. If it matters, I was a Spanish major and an anthropology minor, but my favorite classes in both disciplines were the ones based in linguistics. I have varying knowledge of Spanish, French, and German. Thank you so much for your time. If you think someone else could better assist me, or know of another resource that you think would be helpful to me, I'd appreciate any information you have to offer.
Laura

Dear Laura,
Thank you for your e-mail. It's difficult to say whether you can make a living using linguistics outside of teaching since most linguists end up doing that. However, that is not necessarily the case. I haven't been in a classroom in years! There are lots of options. The difference usually is, unless you're a theoretical researcher, you will most likely end up in a hybrid situation.

It seems to me that you might want to look at the following digest from CAL http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/cal00001.html and the brochure that the Linguistic Society of America has developed on linguistics and the various options. http://www.lsadc.org/info/ling-faqs-whymajor.cfm It's interesting to me that corporations, for example, are now hiring anthropologists to help them with a lot of the places where they stub their toes, particularly when they find themselves in foreign countries. Once you've read these, and your questions become more specific, I'd be glad to either try to answer them or to refer you to someone who can answer them better than I.
Yours,
Dora

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Where can I find materials for learning Mongolian?

Dear Dora,
I have been trying to find resources for learning Mongolian. I am an ESL teacher and I have been working with my Mongolian students (after hours) to soak up whatever I can. Do you have any good basic materials to assist me in my quest? I hope to go to Mongolia in a few months to teach.

Hello!
Check the database of the Language Materials Project: www.lmp.ucla.edu for a couple of the newer publications. Then contact Schoenhof's Foreign Books in Cambridge, MA www.schoenhofs.com. The latter has a fairly extensive list of available textbooks and dictionaries. The descriptions will give you a bit of an idea as to whether the textbook meets your needs or not.
Dora

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Is there a national database of secondary schools that teach Chinese?

Dear Dora,
I was wondering if you know of a national database of secondary schools that teach Chinese. Thank you.

If there is such a database, the Chinese Language Association of Elementary-Secondary Schools (CLASS) http://www.classk12.org/ will have it. If nothing else, they certainly can send you a list.

Also another source for information about Chinese language teaching programs is this site: http://www.carla.umn.edu/lctl/ that is housed on the Web site of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA).

So, let me use this update as a request. If there are additional pieces of information on questions that we answer that you think might be useful for the readers of the newsletter, please do not hesitate to send them to us

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Where can I find resources for Uduk?

Dear Dora,
Our church is sponsoring a family from Sudan. The family speaks Uduk and we are trying to find materials to assist us in our communications with them. Can you suggest a resource that could help us help them learn English? For example, do you know of a resource with which we can translate?

Hello!
The Uduk are only about 20,000 people, and from what I can figure out they've pretty much all been shoved across the border. I'm assuming that you have been told that if the family you are hosting has been educated at all, they have been educated in Arabic, and that probably the men do read and write it to some extent. Their variety of spoken Arabic is not necessarily easily understood by other Arabic speakers, but they can - with a little bit of effort - communicate by using a mixture of dialect and Modern Standard Arabic. So, if there is an Arabic speaking family or person in your community, you may want to call on them for some help.

I do not know of any Uduk resources. Ethnologue indicates that there are Bible passages available which means that probably someone did some work on the language at some point. You might want to try the Summer Institute of Linguistics: http://www.sil.org/ .You may also want to try a couple of the libraries that have extensive African language collections such as Northwestern and Boston University.

You might also want to try Gregory Finnegan at gregory_finnegan@harvard.edu, a librarian at Harvard connected to the Africana libraries association. He could send out an e-mail requesting information, and I don't know if you've ever dealt with special collection librarians - if it exists, they'll find it!

The other places that could conceivably have some information are the United Bible Societies in England (I think in London!) and the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS). SOAS has a spectacular library and since the Brits were so involved in the Sudan, it's highly possible that any work that was done on the language might have been deposited there.

Finally, you may also want to check out http://www.cal.org/co/ - a cultural orientation web site that CAL maintains for the U.S. State Department. It has a lot of resources that may give you some other places to contact. Good luck.
Dora

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Help! Translators needed for our court case!

Dear Dora,
I am a legal assistant with a law firm in the District of Columbia. We have recently taken on a pro bono political asylum case concerning three men from Togo. They speak a dialect of their native country, as well as fluent French; however, they do not speak English.

We are in need of a translator (French/English) who can help with interpretation during the arduous job of filling out the applications required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as during any interviews with both the INS and our attorneys.

We have an attorney who speaks French, but we are in need of an interpreter during those times when the attorney must focus on the case at hand, and not just straight translation.

After doing some research, I notice that you include both George Washington University and Georgetown University in your organization. Can you recommend any students of French, or French students of English (probably graduate level), who would be willing to assist us? I deeply appreciate your assistance in this matter and thank you in advance.

Hello!
I don't think you are going to want to hire a student to do your translation for you. You run the risk of serious liability and since these people's lives depend on your firm, I think you may want to ensure the fact that you are using a fully trained interpreter who can be held accountable for his⁄her work.

Let me suggest some venues: The D.C. courts have interpreters on their list and since they are contract workers, it seems to me that they should be able to provide you with a list of approved interpreters. The Georgetown Law Center, I believe, also does immigration ⁄ asylum work, and I would no doubt think that they also have a list of people who they depend on for help.

The last name I had for the Maryland Court system's Court Information Officer was Sally Rankin. That office is in Annapolis. The phone number is 410/260-1488. E-mail: sally.rankin@courts.state.md.us. They also have energetically been collecting names of people to use as interpreters. Another possibility is to contact Mareijke van der Heide who heads up the U.S. Courts translation and interpretation program. Her phone number is 202-502-1585. Finally, there are the private firms. Since these are competitive, we don't necessarily recommend one over another, but will provide a name if necessary. If none of these works out, please don't hesitate to contact me and we'll give it another try.
Dora

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Where can I find a translator for a 1910 journal written in Yiddish?

Dear Dora,
I saw your name in the Washington Post the other day. I was wondering if you had a referral for a friend looking for a Yiddish translator. She has her grandfather's 1910 journal of arriving in the US and would like to be able to read it. Do you know anyone who might be interested? She'll pay but hopefully [not an arm and a leg]. Where can I refer her?

Hello!
I don't know anyone right off hand. However, I would do one of two things or both...I'd call the YIVO Institute in New York. It's the premiere place that keeps track of Yiddish⁄Eastern European Jewish history and the web site is http://yivoinstitute.org/. There is also a Greater Washington Yiddish group. Your friend could probably get to them via the Jewish Community Center on 16th Street NW. I also looked up the Yiddish group, the Web site is http://www.derbay.org/ and there is a contact person listed on the Web site. No doubt, there is some soul who would give his or her eyeteeth to translate something Yiddish. Endangered though it is, thanks to a dedicated group of people, it seems to be seeing a bit of a revival.
Dora

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Where can I find grant money to start a foreign language program?

Dear Dora,
I am trying to find grant money to implement a foreign language program in an elementary school in Somerville, Massachusetts. It is our goal to teach French to K-6 students as part of the fundamental curriculum. Can you guide me toward specific grants that would be available for the next school year for this purpose?

Hello!
Much will depend whether your school is a public school or not. For a good start, you need to go to the Joint National Committee on Languages Web site: http://www.languagepolicy.org and go to the Grants icon and follow the steps from there.

Sometimes you can get a foundation to take an interest in the project, although you will need to prove to them that you are able to continue it after the life of the grant. There are usually foundations that are state-based, i.e., they give only to groups within a particular state, or sometimes even area. I suggest you start with your friendly reference librarian and look for the names of the foundations. You will then have to sort and see what kinds of things they're interested in, i.e. their guidelines. It's a lot of hard work, but I would probably think that this is not a bad time to approach a foundation with a good plan to implement a foreign language elementary school program. Good luck!
Dora

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Where could one find a comprehensive Hindi textbook?

Dear Dora,
Do you (or does anyone) have a list of textbooks designed for learning beginning Hindi? The stuff available in bookstores doesn't appear to have been written with humans in mind.

Hello!
Authors of textbooks really do think they are writing them for humans! I think the problem is that our learning styles are so different and hence our needs for certain kinds of textbooks. I'm not quite sure what books you were looking at that weren't satisfactory, and it depends on what kind of proficiency you are interested in developing -- reading, writing, speaking, listening.

For example, the volume with one cassette published by Routledge (T.J. Bhatia, Colloquial Hindi) is pretty readable and not terribly complicated to use. But it won't help you read the language easily, while Usha Jain's Introduction to Hindi Grammar will give you an introduction to both speaking and reading.

Much depends on what you're looking for. Materials developed in India tend to be quite old fashioned -- one suspects the influence of learning English via Latin plus a good background in Sanskrit may have had some influence on how language teaching is approached!

There aren't a large number of textbooks on the market but there are a reasonable number. One good source is Schoenhof's Foreign Books- http://www.schoenhofs.com/. Another place to look at descriptions of textbooks, grammars, readers, and dictionaries is the Language Materials Project at UCLA http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/.

If, however, you are interested in getting someone's recommendation, you might want to contact Professor Franklin Southworth or Professor Vijay Gambhir at the University of Pennsylvania's South Asia Regional Program through the UPA's main university number or go to the directory of less commonly taught languages programs at http://carla.acad.umn.edu/lctl.
Dora

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Where can I find a Dinka/English dictionary?

Dear Dora,
Please help. I have been getting nothing but run-around information for the Dinka ⁄ English dictionary that I'm sure has been printed somewhere. I am teaching refugees from Sudan who only write and speak English and Dinka. However, their English is limited and I am attempting to get them ready for a GED test in Michigan. A dictionary of Dinka⁄English-English⁄Dinka would be a tremendous help, to say the least. Has there been such a book written? I certainly hope so. If so, could you e-mail me ASAP to let me know how I can get my hands on it. Or if there are further pieces of teaching tools for the Dinka language, I could use those too.

The young men that I am currently working with have been in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area for only three and one half weeks. I am pressed to make much progress in a very short time. Please help if you can by sending me a book of Dink⁄English language or letting me know where I can order one from or whatever other help you can deliver via e-mail I would be eternally grateful. Thank you or referrals or suggestions. I have had nothing but roadblocks or "I can't help you," as answers.

Hello!
I'm assuming you're referring to the Arturo Nebel Dinka dictionary. This was originally published in 1936 and reprinted in 1954. Heaven only knows whether any more copies exist other than in libraries. The only other one I know of I've never seen - it was published by the Sudan United Mission in the 1940s. My sense is that it was in mimeographed form but I can't tell you one way or the other.

There are copies at Northwestern (Chicago) and at the U of California, Berkeley libraries. The only way you are going to get them is through interlibrary loan so you may need to go down to your public library and see if there is any way they can speed up borrowing it and then you'll have to photocopy it and hope that you don't break the binding in the process! Or if you have a friend in Chicago, they can go to the library and photocopy the book.

The 1936 edition exists on microfilm at the Library of Congress. The number is PL 8131/N4. I believe you can also order it that way, but then you'd need a microfilm reader -- I don't know if your library has one or not. Certainly, the archives of a library would. If you have any pull with your congress person you might try his⁄her office and ask if they could use the office privileges to get hold of the microfilm as quickly as possible.

Otherwise, the only other thing I can think of is for you is to write to the Verona Fathers who republished the book (in Italy!) and ask if there is some way they can contact their home "office" and see if there are any other copies.
COMBONI MISSIONARIES of the HEART of JESUS (M.C.C.J.)
Verona Fathers
8108 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45255-3194

Additional note: Since writing this person, I have discovered that the Nebel dictionary was reprinted in 1979. It can be purchased from Schoenhof's Foreign Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts. http://www.schoenhofs.com
Dora

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How can I find out which languages are spoken where?

Dear Dora,
I am working with Social and Rehabilitation Services for the state of Kansas as the Limited English Proficiency Access Coordinator. We are in the process of finding translator and interpreter services for LEP persons here and have a need for some information I am hoping you will be able to help me with. Do you know where I can get information about which languages are spoken in which countries? For example, I want to be able to look at a map of Vietnam and have the languages spoken in that country listed there. Or if someone gives us the name of his or her native language, is there a way we can refer to something that can tell us which geographic area that person comes from? Thank you in advance for any information you may be able to provide.

Hello,
The best resource I know that will tell you what languages are spoken in what countries is Ethnologue, published by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now known as SIL International). The entire set is 3 volumes, but you mostly need the first one although it's nice to have the index especially when people give you a name of a language that you've never heard of before and you have no idea what country they're from. There are some maps in the print version (and I'm assuming the CD ROM). However, unless you are willing to spend several hundred dollars on a linguistic atlas, there are no easily one-stop shop maps available for each country. And I'm not really sure whether they're all that useful anyway for your purposes.

The books can be ordered from the SIL International Academic Bookstore, 7500 Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, TX 75236-5699. E-mail: academic_books@sil.org.

However, SIL has made life easy for everyone. You can actually search it on the WWW. Go to http://www.sil.org/ for more information about the online version, the CD ROM and the print version.

For more information on other states and organizations that have been setting up translation and interpretation services, you may want to access the archives of an electronic mailing list called ncihc-list@diversityrx.org. Even though its focus is primarily health, there has been a lot of information that I have found useful on what is happening with the setting up and training of translation and interpretation services around the country. You can find out more about it by visiting the website: http://diversityrx.org/ Good luck.
Dora

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Is there a standard test for proficiency in Chinese?

Dear Dora,
I'm a 2 year student of Chinese--including one year study abroad in China. I've been thinking about going into translating. Is there a standard test that's more or less internationally recognized that would give me an idea of my level of proficiency? I assume that I'd want to present the results of such a test to any potential employer whether they be Chinese or American.

Hello!
I don't know if the American Translators Association (www.atanet.org) has devised an accreditation test in Chinese. My guess is that it has not. However, you need to contact them directly. If they don't offer the test, they may be able to provide you with a source that can help you. The last e-mail address for general inquiries I have is maggie@ata.net --the person is Maggie Row. If that doesn't work, the phone number is 703/683-6100. Address: 225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 590 Alexandria, VA 22314.

Although many people successfully set up shop, and often there is no need to pass any particular test (at least in this country as of this date), becoming a good translator takes some training. You may want to check two schools that do offer this type of training. One is the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the other is the Monterey Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California. Finally, you may also want to contact the Chinese Language Teachers Association. They do have a fairly complete Web site. The headquarters are at the University of Hawaii even though Ohio State hosts the Web site. This is the contact info: Chinese Language Teachers Association, Center for Chinese Studies, Moore Hall #416, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: (808) 956-2692. Executive Director, Prof. Cynthia Ning, Email: cyndy@hawaii.edu. Good luck in your search.
Dora

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As an independent school teacher, how can I find money to "refresh" my Arabic Skills?

Dear Dora,
I am a French and Spanish teacher at an independent school. I also speak fluent "street" Arabic due to being married to a Lebanese and having lived in the Middle East. My department chair wants me to teach a semester of Arabic in our upper school. The only problem is that my formal training in Arabic dates way back and I need a refresher on the alphabet (I can read slowly but don't remember all of the letters) and basic grammar. If I were in a public school I could get grant money to pay for my study. Is there anything similar for independent school teachers? My school is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Thanks for your help!

Hello!
I don't know of any funds for this sort of thing. You might be able to get the diocese to pay a little bit of money towards bringing you up to speed, but the problem is where you would go to get the training? Enrolling in a slow semester course would not work very well. You could write Middlebury College and ask them if there are ways that you can apply for scholarships to take the intensive course there in the summer.

There are two other things you could do. You could sign up with the Arab Academy and take their online course. I don't think it's terribly expensive. It operates out of Cairo, at http://www.arabacademy.com/. In fact, you might be able to sign everybody in your class up for this online course and that way you would only have to stay one or two steps ahead of your students!

The other thing you could do is to get the Al-Batal/Burstad books from Georgetown University called Alif Baa or Mahdi Alosh's textbook from Yale entitled Ahlan wa Sahlan. Both these books also are quite usable with high school students.

And you could also contact us directly at the National Capital Language Resource Center if you're interested in being on our K-12 Arabic Language Teachers Network. http://www.arabick12.org/.Thanks for writing,
Dora

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Do other states besides NJ have a mandated foreign language requirement in the elementary schools?

Dear Dora,
I am wondering if any states besides New Jersey have a mandated foreign language requirement in the elementary schools. Thanks for your assistance.

Hello
There is no way of knowing where these are being implemented or not, but they're on the books! Arizona (by 1998-99 schools yard, all elementary schools were required to offer foreign language instructions in grades 5 through 8).

  • Arkansas (foreign languages are to be part of the core curriculum)
  • Louisiana (foreign language is required in grades 4 thorugh 8)
  • Montana (By 1999, all elementary schools must have offered a foreign language program)
  • North Carolina (All elementary schools are required to offer foreign languages. This, I believe, is threatened somewhat.)
  • New Jersey -- you know
  • Oklahoma (All districts must implement a program of at least one language other than English at the elementary school level.)
  • Wyoming (has some sort of FL mandate for elementary grades, but I'm not sure exactly what).

There were state initiatives in Delaware (mostly through magnet schools); Florida (pre-K - 5, through magnet or dual language programs); Hawaii (grades 3-6, voluntary).

-Source: ERIC Review. K-12 Foreign language Education. Washington, DC: ERIC, U.S. Department of Education, 1998. p. 45. With additions provided by Nancy Rhodes. Thanks for writing,
Dora

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What are the most common languages spoken in America?

Dear Dora,
What are the most commonly spoken foreign languages in America after English and Spanish? Thanks.

Hello!
According to the Census 2000, the ten most frequently spoken languages at home other than English and Spanish are:

  • Chinese 2 million
  • French 1.6 million
  • German 1.4 million
  • Tagalog 1.2 million
  • Vietnamese 1 million
  • Italian 1 million
  • Korean 900,000
  • Russian 700,000
  • Polish 700,000
  • Arabic 600,000

-Source: U.S. Census bureau, Census 2000 Summary file 3. The report is titled Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000.
Dora

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Self vs. Class Foreign Language Instruction?

Dear Dora,
Is there any literature out there that analyzes the effectiveness of self-study methods for second language acquisition? I'm particularly interested in a comparative analysis of the different methods employed in self-study materials, including software (like Rosetta Stone or Berlitz), audio-based instruction (like Pimsleur), and textbooks. Thanks!

Hello!
If what you are looking for is comparing the efficacy of self-instructional courseware to classroom instruction, I'm not quite sure there are studies that do exactly that. There has been extensive work done looking at self-instruction through the lense of psycholinguistic approaches, "psycholinguistic" very broadly defined! SLA is very interested in this subject and I believe there is a credible body of research on it. And I suggest that you might want to contact Joan Rubin who is a walking encyclopedia on the various aspects of autonomous learning. You can reach her via her website, http://www.workingnet.com/joanrubin/ccm.html. She may be able to point you to some seminal work that will answer some of your questions.
Dora

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Translation and Interpretation Programs

Dear Dora,
Do you have any information about certificate programs or MA programs for Interpretation/Translation (especially those that have courses during the summer). Thanks for any information you can give me.

Hello!
The best place to get information about translation and interpretation programs is through the American Translator Association. They have publications that list programs. Here's the URL: http://www.atanet.org/bin/view.pl/13761.html/
Dora

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Is there any data proving that kids who have long sequences of L2 instruction do, in fact, learn to learn?

Dear Dora,
As we language folks try to beat back the assaults the NCLB is making on resources that support our programs, we are asked to show data 'proving' that kids who have long sequences of L2 instruction do, in fact, learn to learn, thus doing better in the state tests that satisfy NCLB. I know about the studies done in Canada on immersion. But is there something from the US? And something more recent than the Canadian studies? Thanks!

Hello!
The most informed person on this topic is Mimi Met at the National Foreign Language Center. I would suggest you write to her and I'm sure she'll provide you with an eloquent argument. I'm not sure there is hard and fast data because the Department of Education has never really been interested enough in foreign language learning to fund this sort of "evidence-based" research. But there are reasonably good studies that can back up the argument.

You may also want to look at Met's edited volume on Critical Issues in Early Second Language Learning. Scott Foresman 1998 and Helena Curtain and Carol Ann Dahlberg's work on Languages and Children: Making the Match. New languages for Young Learners, Grades K-8. Pearson 2004. I think there is enough data in these two volumes to provide you with arguments.
Dora

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Does CAL have resources on Chinese language teaching and learning?
How teachers are certified in the U.S. to teach Chinese?

Dear Dora,
Does CAL have resources on Chinese language teaching and learning? I also need to know how teachers are certified in the U.S. to teach Chinese. Arkansas need to develop a Praxis test to certify teachers to teach Chinese in primary and secondary schools. This is new territory for us. Any information that you can share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so very much,
Ellen Treadway, Arkansas Department of Education Foreign Language Specialist

Dear Ellen,
CAL has some general resources, but not specifically focused on Chinese. The only Chinese specific resource we have is the Chinese Proficiency Test which won't quite serve as a Praxis test. Certification, as you know, is determined by the state. If Arkansas is going to add Chinese to its menu of foreign language offerings, you may want to enter into discussion with the the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools, http://www.class12.org . They have just developed teacher standards which are in the process of being finalized. The Executive Director is Yu-Lan Lin. She'll be able to provide you with whatever resources there are and options for beginning the certification process and probably put you in touch with other states that are addressing this issue. As you know, this process is going to be quite the challenge in the light of the President's language initiative so you are not alone! There is a fair amount of concerted energy being devoted to Chinese and Dr. Lin will probably be able to fill you in. If you are unable to reach her, try reaching Shuhan Wang in the Delaware Department of Education. She has been involved in a survey if K-12 Chinese language teaching/learning in the U.S. through the Asia Society. Do keep us informed of any progress. This kind of news is always good to disseminate!
Dora

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Materials for teaching Tibetan?

Dear Dora,
While searching for information on methodology of heritage language teaching, I came to your website. I would like to know more on the possibility of applying for funding/grants for developing curriculum and instructional materials for Tibetan heritage language classes run by the Tibetan communities in North America. There are over 30 Tibetan communities in North America, and each community runs heritage language classes on weekends without any developed common curriculum and instructional materials for the teachers and students to use. Most of the teachers are volunteers and lack training in pedagogic content. I am intending to run an intensive heritage language teacher training program to develop common curriculum and instructional resources collaboratively by the teachers. This will greatly enhance the quality of the language programs and thus promote maintenance of Tibetan language among youth and for future generations. Tibetans are afraid of losing their language due to politics.Thank you for your help!
Tibetan Advocate

Dear Tibetan Advocate,
It sounds as if you are looking both for resources as well as sources for funding. For resources, you might want to start with the Web site of the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages. This is only a beginning, but at least it will get you plugged into the Alliance's work. The contact people are also on the Web site, so you can begin asking them questions. The URL is http://www.cal.org/heritage/programs/.

As for funding, I'm afraid this is a much more difficult problem!  Sources for funding for heritage languages tend to be few and far in between. If you are considering doing an institute for teachers, you may want to contact the National Endowment for Humanities, www.neh.gov. Before you try writing anything, however, I would suggest that you talk to the program officer in charge. They are very helpful and will be able to tell you whether you stand a chance of being funded and if so, often provide you with guidance on writing the proposal. They won't write it for you, but will tell you what fits the guidelines and what doesn’t.

The other option is for you to begin contacting the Tibetan language programs in the U.S. You can find those programs mostly on the Less Commonly Taught Languages page on the website of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), http://carla.acad.umn.edu/lctl. I think that the staff in the departments will be helpful. Tibetan is one of our least commonly taught languages and its importance is growing, so there may be some funds available that we are not aware of for teacher training. Materials have been developed for its study, but they may need adapting to heritage language speakers as well as weekend schools.

The same departments should also be able to put you in touch with the East Asian National Resource Centers. These centers all have outreach coordinators, and part of their work is to work with teachers, particularly in the K-12 pipeline. There may be an interest to coordinate amongst themselves and provide a teacher training institute for the teachers you have in mind.

Finally, and this is more difficult than it looks, I'd suggest that you investigate the foundations that have an interest in China/Tibet and contact one of the program officers in the foundation and speak to them about the need for this training. Sometimes if the request grabs the imagination of the officer, they may be able to provide you with some seed money to at least get started. You do need, however, to make sure you have facts, figures, and a reasonably compelling argument to make.

All this takes time, and one will need to be patient. However, I presume that is something Tibetans have gotten pretty good at! Best wishes,
Dora

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Where can I find telephonic language interpretation?

Dear Dora,
I am writing from the United Nations Refugee Agency, hoping someone at your organization can help me or point me in the right direction.�I need to find someone to translate from Tamil to English during a phone call with a Sri Lankan asylum seeker.�I have been very unsuccessful so far in finding an interpreter. I realize that this is an unusual request, but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
UN Staff

Dear UN Staff,
Have you contacted Language Line Services? www.languageline.com. They are probably the most successful group that does telephonic language interpretation. I would be surprised that they wouldn't be able to provide you with a Tamil speaker.

Another possible source is to contact the South Asia Language Resource Center at http://salrc.uchicago.edu/ .  On the contact page, you will find addresses and phone numbers for the director there.  He will be able to put you in touch with Tamil speakers.Good Luck!
Dora

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Language instruction in Bengali

Dear Dora,
I am searching for language instruction in Bengali in the Portland, Oregon area. Can you tell me which local University has a Bengali curriculum? Thank you,
Bengali student

Dear Bengali Student,
To my knowledge, there are no courses in Bengali offered in the Portland area. However, it is possible that there may be someone around who might be able to help you. I suggest you contact the South Asia Language Resource Center at http://salrc.uchicago.edu/ . They may know someone in the Portland area. Also I believe that there is an effort underway to create Web-based materials for the study of Bengali. The director of SALRC will know about them.

The other group to contact just in case a Bengali speaker/teacher has come to the staff's attention is the Center for Applied Language Studies at Portland State. http://casls.uoregon.edu/home.php. Sorry we can't be of more help. Hope one of these contacts works out.
Dora

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Telling a School Board of the need to begin teaching languages like Arabic

Dear Dora,
I just read a presentation given by you in 2002, Communicative literacy development in Arabic K-12: What works. I am a nursing student at South Dakota State University. For my Community Health Nursing final project, I would like to address to the Sioux Falls Public School District the issue of minimal foreign language offerings in the middle schools.

It's been encouraging to see that other states are looking into adding Arabic, Chinese, and Russian to their curricula. I'm wondering if you have any advice or resources to recommend as I research and prepare a presentation to educate the Sioux Falls School Board of the need to begin teaching languages like Arabic. Any advice you have would be helpful!

The National Capital Language Resource Center website has been helpful, but there is so much information to navigate through.Thank you!

Hello!
Congratulations on your effort. Educating school districts probably is the most effective way to begin the process of raising awareness. Whether they will act on it is another question, but perhaps with pressure from the parents...

Unfortunately the school level that you picked is a waste land in terms of foreign language. In general, middle schools tend to get ignored anyway, despite the fact that educators know that this is where we lose most of our kids. Most of the foreign language programs that are being instituted, particularly those focusing on the less commonly taught languages, are at the high school level. The exception has been the recent FLAP (Foreign Language Assistance Program) grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education. ED had some priorities in its announcement for the grants that focused on Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and Russian, so some school systems have come up with world languages programs for FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School). But these are submitted proposals. They are still being reviewed and probably nobody will hear anything until well into August.

I'm assuming in your research you came across the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI). ED was supposed to get something like 14 million dollars to allocate to language programs, but it was not authorized by Congress, so the bulk of the work has been left up to the Department of Defense and the State Department. The State Department has started what seems to be a fairly popular program of providing venues for students to go overseas to study in the summer. Again, this is focused on high school students. It also allocated funds to Concordia Language Villages to start an Arabic Language Village, which got its start this summer. This is the only place that I know of that actually caters to kids from 8-18 and thus catches the middle school kids, but it is a summer program only.  It is also interesting that of the Secretary's recent proposed priorities announcements (Federal Register, August 7, 2006), one of them continues to be focused on language.

The Department of Defense through its National Security Education Program (NSEP) has funded (so far) three K-16 flagship programs. The oldest one is being coordinated through the University of Oregon's Center for Second Language Studies (http://casls.uoregon.edu ), and is focused on Chinese. Another Chinese program was just funded through Ohio State University's East Asian Language Resource Center (http://nealrc.osu.edu ) and an Arabic one is about to get up and running through Michigan State University's Center for Language Education and Research (http://clear.msu.edu ). You can also get to these and all the other LRCs through http://nflrc.msu.edu.

In addition, the Department of Defense is also funding summer institutes. They funded one this past summer at Howard University here in DC, and are supposed to fund some K-12 ones for next summer for Chinese and Arabic.

That doesn't mean everything is a waste land!  New Jersey's department of Education received a grant last year to work with 8th graders (at least assess their progress) and you can view the announcement at http://www.state.nj.us/njded/news/2006/0714ie.htm .  New Jersey is one of the states that takes its foreign languages very seriously. I suspect there is some of the same being done in Delaware, where a member of the Asia Society has been involved in a rather extensive project undertaken by the society that has surveyed Chinese language programs across the U.S. The report is available on the Asia Society's Web site, http://www.askasia.org/chinese/ . There are a couple of middle schools in Dearborn, MI that have Arabic programs that CLEAR at Michigan State (mentioned above) might be able to tell you about, and of course there is the most successful FL program in the country that's been going on for over 25 years, and that's the Glastonbury school district.  Their website is http://www.foreignlanguage.org/ .  The American School Board Journal published an interesting article online on foreign languages you can read at www.asbj.com/current/research.html.

I have this sneaking suspicion that you are also asking for advice and guidance. Unfortunately, this may be something that you may want to talk to some other people about. One person who comes to mind is Martha (Marty) Abbott at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). She has some good ideas and ACTFL is promoting the effort to increase the teaching/learning of foreign languages in the schools. I would also suggest that you try to contact Professor G. Richard Tucker at Carnegie Mellon University. He and colleagues and graduate students have been working with a small school district outside Pittsburgh on developing an articulated foreign language program. Admittedly it's Spanish, but I think the pieces that go with instituting a solid program that has a long life is very important. There are some summaries of that effort, including a Digest that we produced here at CAL (www.cal.org/resource/digest/digest_pdfs/0103-Tucker.pdf).

I'm sure you have a million more questions. I'll be glad to answer them, but will stop at this point. Please keep us in the loop with your efforts. Best of Luck,
Dora

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