Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar:  Language Learning Through Immersion (Sic Semper, Malinowski and the Tropical Beach...) What does it feel like to live as an insect inside a glass jar? The praying mantis was removed from its environment suddenly, and plopped into a clean, bright glass vessel, along with other things that … Continue reading Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

The Place That Is Our Home

In 1978, Remmy Ongala left his home in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (not far from the city of Bukavu) for Tanzania.  He boarded a boat across Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma, Tanzania's main port city on the great lake.  From Kigoma, he then traveled by train to Dar es Salaam to eventually become one … Continue reading The Place That Is Our Home

Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

This blog is about why ethnographer Erving Goffman’s observation of stigma are important not just to ex-cons, but also to professors like me on foreign exchange programs. Goffman, as many sociologists and anthropologists know, observed the maneuvers of the marginalized and stigmatized in society, and then wrote about how they thought about their disability. He … Continue reading Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

Learning Foreign Languages

       I was reminded of the importance of foreign language learning twice in the last week or so.  This morning I read a commentary in the New York Times about how poorly Americans do at foreign languages.  Several of the authors remind us that Americans have long done poorly at foreign language learning, and that … Continue reading Learning Foreign Languages