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Finding language at Berkeley

Written By: daveski on April 15, 2011 2 Comments

I’m working on a project right now for the Berkeley Language Center called “Languages at Berkeley”. It’s an effort to put a comprehensive list of the languages that are being taught at UC Berkeley on one page, and to link from that page to introductions to each language. The basic idea is to give visitors a taste of the sights and sounds of the language, and to point them to other resources on campus. Pretty basic. But it’s amazing to me that such a compilation doesn’t exist yet. Or…does it?

Feeling in the dark about what information and resources are out there for those of us at Berkeley interested in studying and working with languages (in the plural) and language (the general phenomenon) in all its dimensions isn’t something that only I have felt. In my years at Berkeley, I’ve frequently heard friends mention a class, a professor, even a research center that offers some opportunity that nobody else had heard about—and which might have changed our academic trajectories if we had found out earlier. Why…is that?

The answer to that question is the stuff of another post, I guess. But in the meantime, I thought I’d start brainstorming/googlestorming a list of some of the places, programs, and resources I wish I’d known about when I arrived here—Where can you find language at Berkeley?

I’m just going to get this started and we can fill it in as we go. And by “we”, I mean you, dear reader. So if you notice something that should be here, please add a comment and I’ll add it to the post!

  • First of all, I’m still pretty excited by the Applied Language Studies minor that started up a few years ago out of the College of Letters & Science. I wish this had been there when I was an undergrad starting out in mechanical engineering, wondering how to make language part of my career. If you’re an undergrad and wondering the same thing, this is for you–be sure to check out the course listings there for relevant classes in the Anthropology, English, French, German, Japanese, Linguistics, Psychology and Spanish departments & programs.
  • Want to see another cool course description and reading list to give you ideas about what to study and who to talk to at Berkeley? The materials for the multi-disciplinary seminar in 2004, “Language Ecology“, are still online.
  • Of course, if you’re thinking languages, the courses offered out of the Linguistics Department come immediately to mind. In addition to these, recently I’ve been noticing a lecture series there on Monday afternoons covering all kinds of topics. Just upstairs in Dwinelle Hall is the Rhetoric Department, which also sponsors frequent lectures and events.
  • And speaking of regular research-oriented events on language, I’ve also noticed quite a few lectures happening upstairs in Tolman Hall at the Graduate School of Education. There are several language-related working groups at the Townsend Center for the Humanities; I’ve been to some great events through the Linguistic Anthropology Working Group. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the BLC’s own Lecture Series, with workshops and papers presented several times a semester.
  • Sometimes, in order to find out what’s going on, you just have to do some digging and look at some calendars, even pay attention to the flyers pasted all over Sproul, Dwinelle, Wheeler, and the rest of campus. The campuswide Events Calendar is a great resource; a while back, Youki also compiled all these other calendar links that might help you out (scroll down below the FIT calendar).
  • Are you interested in writing in another language at Cal? Of course, you’re welcome to join us here in FIT; if you have a leaning toward poetry, you can submit a piece to Vagabond, the multilingual poetry journal written and edited by students. Contact the editors at vagabondstudentjournal AT gmail.

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2 Responses to “Finding language at Berkeley”

  1. Jane Hammons on: 23 April 2011 at 7:58 am

    College Writing Programs has a couple of things that might be of interest:

    College Writing 121: Issues in Teaching English Internationally

    and our lecture series Berkeley Writers at Work

  2. daveski on: 26 April 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Cool, thanks Jane. I’m hoping we can add some of these resources to the main page here: http://blc.berkeley.edu/index.php/wiki/Languages_at_Berkeley%3A_Welcome/

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