April 12, 2010

SIUC hosts Foreign Language Day on April 15

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students from dozens of area schools will bring their best grasp of foreign languages to the largest Foreign Language Day event in the state on Thursday, April 15, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Media Advisory

Photographers, reporters and camera crews are welcome to cover any of the events at SIUC’s Foreign Language Day, held at the Student Center. Of particular interest may be the cultural events, which take place beginning at 10:10 a.m. An additional special feature this year is the presentation by Sartaz Aziz on Women and Islam.

Thomas Thibeault, director of the College of Liberal Arts New Media Center, an associate professor of German and the event coordinator, said the two main features of Foreign Language Day are the Foreign Language Scholar Bowl and the cultural presentations.

The Scholar Bowl features competitions in French, German, Spanish and Latin with much-coveted trophies going to victorious scholar bowl teams.

The Department of Foreign Languages is heavily involved in Foreign Language Day, Thibeault said, particularly because each scholar bowl session requires a language-proficient judge and moderator.

Cultural presentations are not limited to the languages represented in the Scholar Bowl but cover the array of international cultures represented on campus. Thibeault said the goal of the cultural presentations is creating an emotional attachment to the language for students. Vocabulary lists, verb conjugations and noun declensions are more fun when the reward -- understanding a foreign culture without having to rely on someone else’s translation and description of it -- is in sight.

A special presentation this year is the discussion “Women and Islam,” presented by Sartaz Aziz, a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University East Bay. Aziz will discuss the rights of Muslim women as described in the Quran and how they are observed in practice in some of today’s Muslim societies. Aziz is the co-author of “Twilight Goddess: Spiritual Feminism and Feminine Spirituality” with Thomas F. Cleary. The American Association of University Women at SIUC, International Programs and Services and the SIUC Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures sponsor Aziz’s visit.

The public is welcome at this lecture, and at other events during the day.