Announcing the 12th Annual SLAT Roundtable

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in professional development | SLAT - (Comments Off on Announcing the 12th Annual SLAT Roundtable)

On March 1—2, The 12th Annual Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Roundtable will be held at the University of Arizona. This event will feature Dr. Julie A. Belz from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) as the keynote speaker, who will deliver a presentation entitled “Re-conceptualizing Intercultural Communicative Competence in Foreign Language Education“. As the plenary speaker, Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton of The University of Arizona will present “Voice Onset Timing, Social Networks, and Perceptual Dialectology in Tucson, Arizona“. This event will be a great opportunity to hear about a variety of topics related to language learning and teaching, from both faculty and graduate students. Click here to view a flyer about the event.

The Modern Languages Building of The University of Arizona, in the South Wing of the 3rd floor

Friday, March 1, 2013, from 5–6:45 PM
• Keynote Speaker (in Room 311)
• hors d’oeuvres

Saturday, March 2, 2013, from 8:30 AM–5:00 PM
• Plenary Speaker (in Room 304 from 1–1:50 PM)
• Presentations, Panels, and Workshops

If you plan on attending, please register here.

For questions or comments about the SLAT Roundtable, feel free to contact Mohammed Tamimi, the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Student Association (SLATSA) president, or Linda Lemus, the SLATSA vice president. Click here to view their e-mail addresses in the attached flyer. You can also visit the SLAT Roundtable website here.

This roundtable is sponsored by The Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL), The Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Program, and The Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) of the University of Arizona.

Hypermedia Annotations in Second Language Learning

January 21st, 2013 | Posted by jtparry in cercll project | cercll staff | culture | resources - (Comments Off on Hypermedia Annotations in Second Language Learning)

Within the sphere of second language teaching, technology has been rapidly growing and being implemented as a tool for motivation and efficiency in the hands of capable teachers. Among the countless online tools available, hypermedia annotations have been shown to be helpful for improving vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Annotations, or glosses, are usually short definitions or explanations that accompany a text. These usually have appeared in the margins of books, within text, or at the bottom of the page. Hypermedia comes from the combination of hypertext (information given through links, as you would find on the internet) and multimedia. Thus hypermedia annotations are a computer form of traditional glosses, with clickable links.

There are several advantages to hypermedia glosses. They are quick and efficient, and allow readers to focus on comprehending a text or learning words more deeply. In a number of studies, students have commented on the enjoyability and usability of glosses—so they are also a good way to enhance motivation. Several students have also shown their affinity for L1 glosses over L2 glosses, particularly at lower proficiency levels. Possible disadvantages to glosses include that they may make students expend too little effort, not engage in deep learning, or simplify the meaning of words and passages. Although it would intuitively seem clear that glosses are effective, this issue is actually controversial within SLA studies. There are too many results to present generalizations, and an astounding amount of variables in past studies on hypermedia glosses.

CERCLL is currently developing texts with hypermedia annotations for Arabic, German, Turkish, and Portuguese using TIARA (The Interactive Annotated Reading Application) software, which was developed by the ARCLITE (Advanced Research in Curriculum for Language Instruction and Technology in Education) lab at BYU. This project is directed by Dr. Chantelle Warner, and more details about the project can be found here. This tool allows users to access a text and display all glosses or choose between text, image, audio, and video glosses on an interactive page. In addition, the glosses promote intercultural competence since they serve to explain words and phrases that are important to cultural understanding. Here is a screenshot of the application:

An example of an image annotation on TIARA

The current project with hypermedia annotations is an extension of a past CERCLL project, directed by Robert Ariew, which used different software to create materials for Arabic and Italian (click each language to view the resources).

This tool offers many possibilities, for either the classroom or individual language study. There are a number of other tools for hypermedia glosses, which present their own strengths and weaknesses. One free tool for hypermedia creation online is This site allows you to download free software to create your own hypermedia glosses, and it is definitely worth checking out!

Teaching Heritage Languages and Cultures: Hispanic Heritage Month

October 5th, 2012 | Posted by jtparry in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Teaching Heritage Languages and Cultures: Hispanic Heritage Month)

Within the sphere of foreign language teaching in the United States, there are many heritage language learners. The term ‘heritage language learner’ is difficult to define in second language acquisition (SLA). Here is one definition, from The Center for Applied Linguistics (retrieved from

A heritage language learner is a person studying a language who has some proficiency in or a cultural connection to that language through family, community, or country of origin. Heritage language learners have widely diverse levels of proficiency in the language (in terms of oral proficiency and literacy) and of connections to the language and culture. They are different in many ways from students studying the language as a foreign language.

Since these learners can differ from foreign language learners in their motivations, language proficiency, and levels of cultural understanding, a growing body of research is dedicated to becoming familiar with these learners and their needs. A recent presentation by Olga Kagan, during CERCLL’s Intercultural Competence Conference in January, 2012, highlighted the issues of intercultural competence for heritage language learners. Here is the video of this presentation (which is available along with other CERCLL videos on YouTube):

The paper by Olga Kagan on this topic will also be coming out soon along with the proceedings for ICC 2012.

There are also several efforts to adjust curriculum to this group of learners. This is more clear-cut in programs which have the resources to create separate programs for this, such as the Spanish for Heritage Learners Program at the University of Arizona. This program provides a place for heritage learners of Spanish to flourish in their linguistic and cultural knowledge, and become better aware and proud of their Hispanic heritage. One strong advantage to this separate program for heritage learners is that these students are tested in their language abilities and then given individualized instruction in any of six courses. This program is also very large, with about 600 students per semester. For more information, go to this program’s website at, or download a brochure about it at

This issue is especially relevant right now since this month, from September 15–October 15, is Hispanic Heritage Month. This month has been designated as a time to honor the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans, and to recognize their contributions to the US. This month-long commemoration started as a week under President Johnson, until it was expanded into a month and put into law during the time of President Reagan. For more information, here is a site dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month:

Chinese Culture Festival in Tucson

September 21st, 2012 | Posted by jtparry in culture | mandarin chinese - (Comments Off on Chinese Culture Festival in Tucson)

There will be a Chinese Culture Festival in various parts of Tucson from September 22–30, which is free of charge. This festival, presented by The Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, will include a variety of events that are targeted to promote knowledge and appreciation of China’s culture and language. These events will no doubt be a great opportunity for learning about China’s rich culture and long history. For your convenience, here is the breakdown of festival events for each day (more information can be found in the brochures for each event, which are available at

  • Chinese Health Day (Saturday, September 22, from 8 a.m.–12 p.m): This event will feature Martial Arts and Tai Chi masters from Shaolin, information about Chinese medicine, instruction on cooking Chinese dishes, complimentary zoo entrance, and more. Location: DeMeester Performance Center, Reid Park, Tucson, AZ 85716

  • Lecture I: Chinese Martial Arts (Sunday, September 23, from 3 p.m.–5 p.m.): This event will feature a lecture on the history and development of Chinese Martial Arts by Masters Junmin Zhao and Junjie Feng from Shaolin, China, and a live demonstration of traditional Chinese weaponry. Location: UA Student Union, Ballroom South, 3rd floor

  • Lecture II: Traditional Chinese Music (Tuesday, September 25, from 11a.m.–12 p.m.): This event will feature a lecture on ancient Confucius ceremony music and Lu-Nan traditional instrumental music by guest lecturer Professor Huiqing Cheng, visiting from Shandong University of Arts. Location: UA Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Rd., Tucson, AZ 85721

  • Lecture III: Chinese Cinema & Director Wu Tianming (Wednesday, September 26, from 3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.): This event will feature a lecture on the Chinese movie director Wu Tianming and his films, with Professor and Scholar Tan Ye from the University of South Carolina. There will also be a free screening of the award-winning film “King of Masks” by Director Wu Tianming. Location: UA Student Union, Ballroom South, 3rd floor

  • Chinese Moon Festival Poetry Concert (Thursday, September 27, from 7 p.m.–9 p.m.): This event will feature Chinese vocal and instrumental music, and a lecture on ancient Chinese poems of the Tang & Song Dynasties by UA Professors Brigitta Lee and Dian Li. Location: UA Poetry Center, College of Humanities, 1508 E. Helen Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721

  • Lecture IV: Recent Efforts in the Search for Remote Human Ancestors in China (Friday, September 28, from 12 p.m.–2 p.m.): The event will feature a lecture on Chinese Archaeology, outlining recent efforts in the search for ancient human ancestors in China, by Professor Xing Gao, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Location: UA Student Union, Kiva Room, 2nd floor

  • Chinese Language Day (Saturday, September 29, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.): This event will allow Tucson elementary, middle-high school, and college students to test their knowledge of Chinese during the Chinese Language Proficiency Competition; there will also be a chance to make traditional moon cakes, play Chinese games, and more. Location: Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 West River Road, Tucson, AZ 85704

  • Moon Festival Concert (Sunday, September 30, from 7 p.m.–9 p.m.): This event will include Chinese traditional music, folk songs, and choral masterworks. Location: UA Crowder Hall, 1017 N. Olive Rd., Tucson, AZ 85721


The Confucius Institute has been a cosponsor of CERCLL’s 2012 and 2014 Intercultural Competence Conferences. The institute is committed to enhancing knowledge and appreciation of Chinese culture and language. Here is the mission statement for The Confucius Institute, taken from their website:

The Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona’s mission is to support the Hanban’s strategic plan by combining local characteristics, innovative methods, and an integrative approach to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation of Chinese language and cultural heritages. We aim to provide comprehensive training to Chinese language and culture teachers in general and disciplinary-specific English and pedagogies. Our institute’s focus is on Chinese medicine, Chinese martial arts, Chinese music and Chinese performance arts in our education and outreach programs. CIUA will produce leaders who will in turn facilitate cultural and scientific exchanges between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

More information is available at the institute’s website, found here:


Language and Culture Kits from CERCLL and World of Words

May 16th, 2012 | Posted by Sasha Kuchuk in cercll project | culture | resources - (Comments Off on Language and Culture Kits from CERCLL and World of Words)

CERCLL’s project “Bringing Global Cultures and World Languages into K-8 Classrooms“, directed by Dr. Kathy Short and developed in collaboration with Worlds of Words – the International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature at the University of Arizona, keeps growing and welcomes its newest addition – a Language and Culture Kit for the Russian language and culture.

This project was originally designed to introduce K-8 students to less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and cultures to create an interest in foreign language study and to make students more comfortable with exploring a range of world languages and global cultures.

Because children’s and adolescents’ literature is a resource that is particularly effective in engaging students in exploring diverse global perspectives and languages, this project develops book kits which include fiction and nonfiction literature about a particular country or region written in English and in the relevant LCTL along with tape recordings and some other language and cultural resources. These book kits are more commonly known as “Language and Culture Kits”. Each Kit comes with a manual along with lists of language resources and literature. An example of such manual, which includes the resources for Korean/South Korea and Arabic/Middle East, can be found on the project’s website, and some sections of the manual are also available for download on WoW website.

Currently, the list of Kits includes:

Arabic-Speaking Countries and Cultures Kit
Chinese Language and Culture Kit
Japanese Language and Culture Kit
Korean Language and Culture Kit
Portuguese/Brazil Language and Culture Kit
Spanish/Mexico Language and Culture Kit
American Indians of the Southwest Language and Culture Kit
Russian Language and Culture Kit

All Language and Culture Kits are stored and can be checked out at the World of Words:

World of Words
University of Arizona College of Education
Language, Reading and Culture
1430 East Second Street
Tucson, AZ 85721
Phone/Fax – 520.621.9340