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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 and graduating more students who major in a language other than English than any other university in the country.

The UW-Madison is home to internationally prominent departments of languages and literatures, prestigious, federally funded area studies centers, intensive summer programs in many less commonly taught languages, and the federally funded Russian Flagship Program. 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

Wisconsin Youth Learn A Variety of Languages at the Global Youth Summit

Participating high school students at the 2015 Wisconsin Global Youth Summit on February 28 had the chance to take part in demonstration introductory lessons in 17 different languages. Volunteer instructors were recruited and coordinated by Language Institute assistant director Wendy Johnson and offered lessons that covered greetings, songs, counting, dialogs and more in a variety of languages representing the breadth of UW-Madison’s language offerings.

Learn more about the languages offered at the Global Youth Summit>

Read more about the Global Youth Summit on the Division of International Studies Website>

left: David Lukhachi Teaches Global Youth Summit Participants Swahili (photo courtesy of Division of International Studies)

High School Students Study Arabic and Japanese with Support of UW-Madison Students

A Language Institute partnership with public schools in Wisconsin is helping to bring less commonly taught languages to two high schools, East High School (Madison), and Plymouth High School (Plymouth). Students have the opportunity to study Arabic and Japanese in a unique model called facilitated language study, and UW-Madison students at advanced levels in those languages provide crucial conversation practice in weekly tutoring sessions with Skype. Read more on the College of Letters & Science website>

left: East High School students meet with their Japanese tutor via Skype

East High School Students Learn about College-Level Language Study at UW-Madison

46 students and two teachers from Madison's East High School visited Van Hise Hall on Thursday, February 20 to observe language classes, participate in demonstration lessons in less commonly taught languages, and hear about language-related related opportunities. As part of the Language Institute's Experience Languages program, East students visited Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish classes, and took part in demonstration lessons in Hausa, Korean, and Norwegian. They enjoyed a welcome from Luís Madureira, chair of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, heard about study abroad and internship opportunities, and met with current UW-Madison students to talk about language study and life as a college student.

left: Korean instructor Jieun Kim and East High students talk about Korean culture and language

never stop learning

Five Academic Staff Receive Language Institute Professional Development Grants in the Spring Competition

We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the Language Institute Academic Staff Professional Development Grant in the Spring 2015 semester:

Kannikar Elbow, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, 2015 Council on the Teaching of Southeast Asian Languages (COTSEAL) Conference and UC-Berkeley campus visit
Ryan Engel, L&S Learning Support Services, 2015 North American Drupal Convention
Stasie Harrington, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 2015 meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
Choua Lee, Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, 2015 Chicago Language Symposium or Hmong National Development Conference
Takako Nakabubo, Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, 2015 meeting of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ)

Learn more about this new grant program >

School Groups Experience Languages at UW-Madison

Teachers and students from three Wisconsin high schools visited campus this fall as part of the Language Institute’s Experience Languages! Program.  Groups from La Follette High School (Madison), Plymouth High School (Plymouth), and Verona Area High School (Verona) visited Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish classes and learned about campus opportunities that expand on language learning, the International Learning Community and International Internship Program. “Inspiring,” “fun,” “amazing,” and “eye-opening” were among words visiting students used to describe their day on campus. More visits are planned for next semester!

left: Italian instructor Carlo Annelli with visiting high school students.


Passion for Basketball Leads to Scholarship, Campus Position

University of Wisconsin-Madison student Madeline Ruid decided to learn Turkish after watching the Basketball World Cup, held in Istanbul, on T.V.  Little did she know her passion for basketball would eventually lead her to earning a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) and later an ambassador position with the CLS program.

Read more >

language technology

New Language Institute Seminar on Technologies for Language Teaching and Learning

The Language Institute, with the Doctoral Progarm in Second Language Acquisition and L&S Learning Support Services, is piloting a new, yearlong professional development seminar for UW-Madison language instructors on technologies for promoting language learning and supporting language teaching. The format of the seminar is a study group, with assigned readings, guest facilitators and speakers, and discussions of public lectures, workshops and brownbags sponsored by the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) for its 2014-15 series, Technology-Mediated Language Teaching and Learning: Research and Practice. Learn more >


Language Institute Research Presented in 2014 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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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>


Read more>






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Upcoming Events

Brownbag: Homeland Literacy Learning Under Conditions of Brain Drain: A Case Study of Migrants' Left-behind Family Members in Latvia
Kate Vieira, Department of English
12:00 pm, Wednesday, April 22
254 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive

Workshop for instructors: The Case Scenario Critical Reader: Engaging Students Both In and Outside of the Classroom
Blaire Bundy, Division of Information Technology
2:00-4:00 pm, Friday, April 24
250 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive







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