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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on February 7, 2014 No Comment

I have long been following Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing on studying French, and, for me, he has described both my own experience of language learning and the transformations I want my students to feel in the classroom with an acute accuracy and uncanny emotional sensitivity.

In this recent post, which shares a title with our [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on January 9, 2014 2 Comments

I’m really one for translanguaging. By whatever name — and Suresh Canagarajah today at the MLA Convention in Chicago certainly went through the various names — it is an intriguing subject study, and one that gives a lot of food for thought about how to bring translingual practices into the classroom.

Among all my literature colleagues, [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on January 21, 2013 1 Comment

I said kaddish for the first time this past Saturday. It was to mourn a dear aunt who recently passed away. Growing up, my parents and siblings would stay at her place when we visited Israel, and we experienced her kindness and generosity in countless ways. My aunt spoke little or no English. We used [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on October 20, 2011 3 Comments
La Seconde Guerre mondiale vue par un lycéen qui apprenait le français (et qui l’enseigne aujourd’hui)

J’ai grandi dans une famille juive. J’ai passé mes trois dernières années de lycée dans une banlieue de Chicago à majorité juive. Il n’y avait pas moyen, donc, d’ignorer le Shoah. On en parlait. À la télé, on passait un téléfilm avec le Capitaine Spock en vedette et qui s’appelait “Never Forget.” Et, [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on September 10, 2011 No Comment
History and Memory in Foreign Language Study: Your Stories

Today, we are attending the Berkeley Language Center’s conference on History and Memory in Foreign Language Study.

So, we’re asking you some questions:

How have you brought history into your foreign language classroom? Have you taught a language where you felt that a national memory or a historical period was off limits? Have you encountered [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on June 15, 2011 No Comment
Adventures in Hindi Reality TV: Ratan ka Rishta (Part II)

As I tune in to tonight’s episode (14, but who’s counting?), Ratan is saying things about the different suitors, in what appears to be a slightly mocking tone. Her current target is Abhinav Sharma, the tallest of the bunch, a New Delhi software developer with a gaunt face and smoothed hair. The [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on June 15, 2011 2 Comments
TV ain’t always easy: Ratan ka Rishta (Part I)

I am spending the summer in India with my wife and her family.  While I generally find it hard to forgo watching television, my desire to vegetate in front of frivolous entertainment has been severely challenged by the predominant share of programming allotted to films and serials in Hindi, a language I have not [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on May 4, 2011 1 Comment
Of Bin Laden, Empathy, and Translation

As a U.S. citizen, I have had one reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden.  However, as a student of literature, I have found little to say about this symbolic victory in the “War on Terror” except, perhaps, that it is extremely distracting from the research papers I should [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on February 18, 2011 2 Comments
Is Common Good?

The language education community here at Berkeley rejoiced to learn this past Tuesday, February 15th, “that more than half a million dollars will be allotted to numerous foreign language courses beginning in 2011-12[.]”

Having thrown my lot in with French, I especially found reason to take heart at the announcement that [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on October 27, 2010 3 Comments
Will Allen Iverson learn Turkish?

While many of us here in the Bay Area are amped up for Game 1 of the World Series, myself, I am more excited about the start of the NBA season, and my favorite team, the Wizards, opening night match-up with the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Seraphin, a native of French Guyana, must be [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on October 20, 2010 1 Comment
The Persistence of Solaar

In Stephen Jay Gould’s (1992) enlightening collection of popular science essays, Bully for Brontosaurus, he traces the evolution of a simile through school science textbooks from the 19th century on.  He wonders how it happened that the “dawn horse,” eohippus, became linked in size to the fox terrier, despite such a reference being [...]

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Written By: Jonathan Haddad on April 26, 2010 1 Comment
When Tajik just doesn’t cut it

This article in the Washington Post raises an important dilemma facing a new generation of American spies:  How to speak Farsi like a native when University Persian studies programs are built around antiquated notions of academic scholarship:

Fewer than a dozen universities grant degrees in Persian, said Pardis Minuchehr, a [...]

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