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Languages at UW-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an international leader in foreign language education and research, offering instruction in dozens of modern and ancient languages. The UW-Madison is home to eleven internationally prominent departments of languages and literatures, eleven prestigious area studies centers, intensive summer programs in many less commonly taught languages, and the Russian Flagship Center. Students at UW-Madison can apply to over 200 study abroad programs to every continent of the world except Antarctica.

The UW-Madison Language Institute

Drawing on the wealth of these departments, centers and programs, the Language Institute promotes collaboration for research, education and community outreach in languages, literatures and cultures. Learn more about the Language Institute>

In the News


Language Institute Research Presented in Modern Language Journal Monograph, Goals of Collegiate Learners and the Standards for Foreign Language Learning

Co-authored by Sally Sieloff Magnan, Dianna Murphy, and Narek Sahakyan, the monograph presents a national study about how the language learning goals of college students are reflected in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 1996, 1999, 2006). The first research to examine learner perspectives with regard to the Standards, the study's mixed methods design includes responses from 16,529 students at 11 postsecondary institutions across the United States, with interviews from 200 students at two of these institutions. The monograph details the history of the Standards' framework, with discussion of its limited acceptance and use in postsecondary instruction, and considers what student perceptions tell us about how the Standards might fit with assumptions and characteristics of communicative language teaching and literacy-based approaches to language learning. In this discussion, the monograph examines shortcomings in the Standards framework, as seen through the lens of student perceptions. Learn more >

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Languages Included at "Going Global" Symposium at Oregon High School

High school students and educators of all levels came together to spend a day to discuss--and celebrate--global and world languages education. Organized by teacher Lou Kidschi (Oregon High School) in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the UW-Madison Division of International Studies, the Going Global program brought high school students and teachers from three schools with facilitators from UW-Madison for stimulating small-group discussions and language lessons. Language Institute assistant director Wendy Johnson led a discussion on the value of language study with high school students, who then experienced hour-long language lessons in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Malay, Russian, Swahili, and Zulu. View photos from the day (courtesy of Kerry Hill, Division of International Studies)>

photo (left): Nancy Heingartner, Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia, lists languages spoken by participants.

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Formation of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures Task Force Announced

On October 18, Language Institute director Rob Howell announced the formation of the World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (WLLC) Task Force. The Task Force, chaired by Howell, is charged with exploring options for restructuring among the UW-Madison "Van Hise" departments and programs that teach world languages, linguistics, literatures, and cultures. Please see website for the Task Force for its members, meeting agenda and minutes, select readings, and information about the Task Force's activities.


2013-14 Faculty Lecture Series: Language Matters: Wisconsin and the World

The Language Institute is very pleased to announce its 2013-14 lecture series, Language Matters: Wisconsin and the World, featuring talks by leading UW-Madison faculty whose research explores language from diverse disciplinary perspectives. Lectures are scheduled for 5:00 pm on on the first Monday of the month in the Wisconsin Idea Room, 159 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Learn more >

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University of Wisconsin-Madison Named Among Top Innovative Colleges for Foreign Language Study

The website has named the UW-Madison as #2 in the United States for innovative college foreign language programs. UW-Madison leadership in language education, through the departments of languages, literatures and cultures, study abroad, and the Language Institute, are among the aspects of UW-Madison's language prorams cited by the website. Read more>


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Upcoming Events

Brownbag: Language Learning in ConTEXT
12:00 pm, Monday, April 28
1418 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive

Please join us for the final brownbag discussion in the series Language Learning in ConTEXT, featuring a panel of language students who will talk about their experiences working with literary texts in their language courses. Learn more >

Invited SLA lecture: Changing Frames in Native Speaker and Learner Talk: Moving Toward a Dynamic 'Shared Repetroire'

Dale Koike, University of Texas-Austin
4:00 pm, Wednesday, April 30
254 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive

An invited lecture for the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition. Learn more>


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