The UW-Madison’s Languages initiative is a grass-roots project that aims to raise awareness of the linguistic diversity of our campus and local communities; recognize and communicate the value of multilingualism for individuals, communities, and societies; promote understanding of language as a key aspect of diversity; recognize and address linguistic prejudice and discrimination; and promote a more inclusive campus climate in which language is recognized as a key aspect of identity that contributes to the diversity of our campus community.
Following broad campus input, three broad areas of focus were identified as priorities:
1. Raising awareness of the value of bi/multilingualism, of the many languages represented by the UW-Madison campus community, and of Wisconsin as a multilingual state.
Fall 2021 update:
We are working on a communications campaign using interviews conducted in 2020-21 by the Undergraduate Research Scholar, Maria Gleason, with members of the campus community on the role of language(s) in their teaching, studies or other work on campus, and on the different ways that language(s) intersects with their personal, academic and other professional identities. The interviews will form the basis for a new communications campaign, to be launched in 2021-22, tentatively called Our Campus, Our Languages. We will be in touch with more information about this campaign, including ways to be involved.
2. Engaging in initiatives to integrate language(s) into campus-wide diversity and inclusion efforts, with an emphasis on the need to recognize and address linguistic prejudice and discrimination in all forms, and to ensure equity and access in all university activities for minoritized groups, Deaf and hard of hearing students and staff, and bi/multilingual students and staff.
Fall 2021 update:
Working with a group of linguistics from UW-Madison and other institutions that meet regularly throughout the year for shared readings and discussion of possible new forms of outreach related to language ideologies and linguistic discrimination, we are working on the following projects:
- a survey, aimed at undergraduates, on the languages they speak/use and on their attitudes toward language variation and standardized language varieties
- materials to be used to raise awareness of and combat linguistic prejudice and discrimination and a website to anchor these resources
3. Advocating for increased visibility and support for Indigenous languages
Fall 2021 update:
Enwejig Indigenous Language Advocates are committed to this area of focus through work that honors Indigenous knowledge systems by raising awareness of the importance of Indigenous languages at UW-Madison and beyond. Find out more. Visit the Enwejig webpage.
In April 2021, members of Enwejig Indigenous Advocates gave a presentation called “Indigenous Languages of Wisconsin: Reclaiming Past, Present, and Future.” The presentation provides a brief overview of the Indigenous languages of Wisconsin in both historical and current context, focusing on their reclamation and revitalization by the Native Nations of the state, and illustrated with examples of community-based language revitalization strategies. Monica Macaulay, Brian McInnes, and Omar Polar also discuss their work as part of Enwejig. View the recording.
All members of the UW-Madison community are welcome to join in our collective work!
If you are interested in participating in a meeting in a language other than English, please call Cultural Linguistic Services:
Español/Spanish: (608) 265-0838 Hmoob/Hmong: (608) 263-2217 བོད་ཡིག/Tibetan: (608) 890-2545 中文/Chinese: (608) 890-2628 नेपाली/Nepali: (608) 262-7521
Dianna Murphy, Director, Language Institute
Subscribe to our email list
If you would like to receive updates about this project, please follow these steps:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Within a minute or two, you’ll receive an email that includes steps to confirm your membership.
- Log into your UW-Madison G Suite account, not your personal Google account, to complete the steps provided in the membership email.
Project documents and meeting reports
- Rationale for the initiative
- Report from September 30, 2020 planning meeting
- Report from December 2, 2020 planning meeting
Center for East Asian Studies
Center for South Asia
Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
Cultural Linguistic Services
Department of African Cultural Studies
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Department of English
Department of French and Italian
Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Division of Continuing Studies Language Program
International Studies Major
Institute for Regional and International Studies – National Resource Center
Second Language Acquisition PhD Program
Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes
The Writing Center