BYU’s community of language professors are making their mark in the world of foreign-language studies.
PROVO, Utah (March 3, 2015)—Let’s look at a few numbers: 77 percent of BYU students report that they speak a foreign language. The Center for Language Studies regularly offers courses in more than 60 languages. Each semester, the number of enrollments in BYU second-language classes exceeds 30 percent of the student body, and data indicate that BYU teaches more advanced second-language classes than any other university in the United States.
Behind these statistics we find the college’s language departments and the Center for Language Studies that facilitate BYU’s first-rate language programs.
The college’s language faculty, which excels in teaching and instruction, is also among the most productive team of contributors to Foreign Language Annals, which is the official journal of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and considered one of the top language research journals in the country.
Foreign Language Annals is dedicated to the advancement of the teaching and learning of foreign languages and is published four times per year. Only about 15 percent of submissions are selected for publication in the journal, but BYU faculty research maintains a consistent presence in the journal.
According to Ray Clifford, director of the Center for Language Studies, “this shows that BYU is maintaining its reputation as a leading university when it comes to the teaching of foreign language.”
The editor of Foreign Language Annals, Anne Grundstrom Nerenz, congratulated and thanked the Center for Language Studies and each member of the BYU research team “for the careful, sustained, and thoughtful series of articles that were submitted to Foreign Language Annals this year.” She went on, “These manuscripts have targeted critical issues, consistently advanced our understanding of the teaching and learning of languages, and appealed to journal readers across a range of instructional and professional contexts. This innovative work has consistently been conducted with integrity and the highest attention to detail and has been shared in a concise, articulate and reflective manner.”
Nerenz said judging by the number and quality of manuscripts that were submitted to Foreign Language Annals, it is clear that the BYU team is one of the most productive and influential in the country.
The journal publishes research reporting on foreign-language teaching and learning at all levels of instruction. In addition, Foreign Language Annals publishes articles that advance theoretical discussions in foreign-language education and articles that document the effectiveness of teaching strategies.
“The faculty have always known how to do research,” Clifford said. “The Center has assisted in that research, both from an advisory role, providing suggestions on research design but also financially.” According to Clifford, what the center has contributed is marginal funding. “My experience has been that marginal contributions can have a major impact – and that’s what we’re seeing here – just a little extra support produces many extra opportunities.”
Clifford also noted with a tone of gratitude that these advancements and contributions in language research are possible because of the generosity of donors: “It is with their help that we are able to do more; their contributions make all the difference.”
—Danielle Chelom Leavitt (B.A. Russian ’15)
Kritsana Imvitaya teaches FLANG 330R- Advanced Language and Culture – Thai (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU)