Center for Language Studies Partnership to Expand Language Learning

Partnered with ACTFL, the Center of Language Studies works to promote language learning worldwide.

PROVO, Utah (October 1, 2020)—With more that 60 languages taught on campus, BYU has become a hub for students who want to expand their horizons through furthering their language studies. Students have the opportunity to dive deeper into their mission languages, or to learn a completely new language.

While these classes provide great exposure to new cultures and languages for students on campus, the BYU Center for Language Studies is committed to spreading this love of language beyond BYU to people across the United States and the world.

BYU is partnered with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to promote language learning and “develop… world language resources, and … educate students to be linguistically and culturally prepared to function as world citizens.”

ACFTL and the Center for Language Studies work together to develop new language tests for listening, reading, and writing abilities. The Center for Language Studies also recently donated to ACTFL’s new advocacy effort leadwithlanguages.org. This new website contains resources for students and educators who advocate for language learning, including grant and scholarship opportunities.

The Center for Language Studies assistant director, Rebecca Marks, commented, “In some parts of the U.S., foreign languages are not seen as essential, so funding for teaching them goes down.” She continued, “We are always trying to educate people why [foreign languages are so important]. We want every single student at BYU that served mission to take advanced language classes.”

One of the amazing opportunities provided from this partnership with ACTFL is the BYU Language Certificate, which includes a language proficiency exam offered in 19 languages for BYU students. After students have taken classes focused on grammar, culture, and literature, they can register to take the language certificate exam, which is administered by an official ACTFL proctor. Thanks to generous funding by the Mary Lou Fulton Chair for World Languages, these tests are free to BYU students.

While BYU has done a great deal of work with ACTFL in this great effort, Marks added, “This is an area where we would like to do even more.” The Center for Language Studies is currently working to promote language learning on campus through their Instagram account, @byucenterforlanguagestudies. There, they share experiences and success stories of foreign language learners.

BYU’s involvement in promoting language learning will no doubt prepare students for life-long learning and have lasting effects on students and educators for years to come.

— Molly Ogden Welch (B.A. Communications ’22)