March 23, 2016

SIU to host 44th annual Foreign Language Day

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – There are plenty of reasons to learn a foreign language: travel, business, diplomacy, for example. All the reasons, whatever they are, come back to understanding someone from a different place better and more directly, to learn about a culture more from the inside than merely as a spectator. 

Students who attend Foreign Language Day at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are encouraged to get inside the culture as well as the language by participating in competition and activities in the largest event of its kind in the region. The 44th annual Foreign Language Day is March 31 in the Student Center with activities beginning at 9 a.m., concluding with an awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m. 

Media Advisory

Photographers, reporters and camera crews are welcome at Foreign Language Day 2016. Cultural presentations will take place throughout the morning as well as Scholar Bowl competition and dramatic interpretations by high school students. Contact Pamela J. Walker, Foreign Language Day coordinator and senior lecturer in American Sign Language, at 618/536-5571 or for more information.

“Foreign language study is important as it gives on the opportunity to consider a culture and a language different from one’s own,” Pamela J. Walker, Foreign Language Day coordinator and senior lecturer in American Sign Language, said. “That consideration is crucial to a liberal arts education. Also, it’s pretty difficult to study another language. I think that provides some exercise in humility that’s good for the soul, as well as really good exercise for the brain!” 

Foreign Language Day has evolved over the years SIU has hosted it, but at the heart of it remain cultural presentations meant to encourage continued study, and the Scholar Bowl competition for foreign language students. New this year is the opportunity for dramatic interpretations. Students may memorize a poem or literary passage in American Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Latin or Spanish to recite or perform with small props. 

Students also have the chance to compete in a t-shirt design contest, to learn the art of origami, or to have their names written in Arabic, Chinese, International Phonetic Alphabet, Japanese, Korean and Russian alphabets. 

“We want the high school students to see that we think learning is fun – and important, worth a day of celebrating,” Walker said. “Also, of course, we hope the event will be a good recruiting tool.” 

Pre-registered schools that intend to have students in dramatic interpretation or Scholar Bowl competition include:

Belleville West High School

Carbondale Community High School

Carterville High School

Collinsville High School

Du Quoin High School

Edwards County High School

Effingham High School

Frankfort Community High School

Marion High School

Massac County High School

Nashville Community High School

Paris Cooperative High School

Red Bud High School

Saint Anthony High School (Effingham)

Sparta High School

Windsor Junior & Senior High School