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In the United States, the most widely taught foreign languages are Spanish, French, German, and Italian (Johnson, 1998). However, in recent years there has been a steady increase of offerings in the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), including Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Russian. Their increasing availability reflects both global events and an increase in the number of students who come to school speaking a language other than English.
Finding instructional materials for the LCTLs is frequently a challenge. For the lower grade levels in particular, there are almost no textbooks, grammar books, or dictionaries. However, more resources for the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages have become available in recent years. The aim of this Resource Guide is to provide information about and access to many of these resources.
This Resource Guide lists publications, institutes and programs, Web sites, and listservs related to the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages. The guide concludes with an annotated bibliography of ERIC documents on this topic.This introduction was excerpted from Johnson, D. (1998). Less Commonly Taught Languages. The ERIC Review, 6(1), 36-37.
ERIC/CLL is grateful to Scott McGinnis of the National Foreign Language Center for his valuable assistance in compiling this Resource Guide Online.
Digests are brief overviews of topics in education. ERIC/CLL has prepared many timely digests on topics related to language teaching and learning. The following ERIC/CLL titles are related to the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages.
The ADFL Bulletin is a refereed journal published three times a year by the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, a subsidiary of the Modern Language Association. The ADFL Bulletin prints essays dealing with professional, pedagogical, curricular, and departmental matters.
of African Language Learning and Teaching
JALLT is a refereed journal about the learning and teaching of African languages. It publishes articles, research studies, editorials, reports, book reviews, and professional news and announcements relevant to African languages.
of East Asian Linguistics
JEAL focuses on linguistic issues as they pertain to East Asian languages. Its main goals are to bridge the gap between traditional description and current theoretical research and to encourage research that allows these languages to play a significant role in shaping general linguistic theory.
Language Learning & Technology
Language Learning & Technology is a refereed journal that seeks to disseminate research to foreign and second language educators in the United States and around the world on issues related to technology and language education. See Resources for Instructors and Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages (Vol. 1, No. 2, 1998).
Problems and Language Planning
This international journal publishes articles primarily on political, sociological, and economic aspects of language and language use. Articles deal with language policy, language management, and language use and theoretical studies on global communication, language interaction, and language conflict.
Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages Newsletter
The NCOLCTL Newsletter is published once a year and features articles about timely topics in the LCTL field, news from their affiliates, and information about upcoming conferences and institutes.
The NCLRC Language Resource is published by the National Capital Language Resource Center. This newsletter provides practical teaching strategies, insights from recent research, and information about professional development opportunities for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary foreign language educators.
and East European Journal
The Slavic and East European Journal is published quarterly by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. SEEJ publishes research studies in all areas of Slavic languages, literatures, and cultures.
This newsletter from the Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center includes articles about language teaching and learning, heritage languages, upcoming conferences, and professional development activities.
Alosh, M. (1997). Learner, text and context: An Arabic perspective.
Erbaugh, M. (2002). Difficult characters: Interdisciplinary studies of Chinese and Japanese writing.
Francis, N. & Reyher, J. (2002). Language and literacy teaching for indigenous education: A bilingual approach. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Gibbons, J & Ramirez, E. (2004). Maintaining a Minority Language: A Case Study of Hispanic Teenagers.
Grimes, B. (2000). Ethnologue: Languages of the world.
Kubler, C. (1997). The NFLC guide for basic Chinese language programs.
McGinnis, S. (Ed.). (1996). Chinese pedagogy: An emerging field.
Nara, H. (Ed.). (2001). Advances in Japanese language pedagogy.
Peyton, J. K., Ranard, D.A., & McGinnis, S. (Eds.). (2001). Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Schleicher, A & Moshi, L. (2000). The pedagogy of African languages: An emerging field.
Walker, G. & McGinnis, S. (1995). Learning less commonly taught languages: An agreement on the bases for the training of teachers.
"I Speak Arabic." A documentary film by Diana Scalera.
This is a film about the relationship that Arab Americans have with their language. These immigrants share the same challenges that all immigrant families face—how to balance the new with the old and come out whole. The film presents the experiences of young Arab Americans between the ages of 15 and 25, their parents and teachers. It is a dialogue about what helps and what discourages immigrant children from being successful and proficient in their heritage language. Find more information online.
Summer Institutes for Second Language Teachers
July 29 - August 2, 2002
The CARLA Summer Institutes include programs on developing classroom materials for the less commonly taught languages, developing assessments, and using technology in the classroom.
Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR) 2002 Summer Workshops
An institute on developing and managing a tutorial-based language program for LCTLs will be offered August 5-6, 2002.
African Language Resource Center (NALRC) Summer Institutes
This summer's institute from NALRC will focus on African language program development, coordination and evaluation, and curriculum and material development.
K–12 Foreign Language Resource Center Summer Institutes
Programs will be offered on teacher preparation for K–8 Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese, integrating technologies in the foreign language classroom, and national board certification for foreign language teachers.
Slavic and East
European Language Resource Center (SEELRC) Summer Institute
This institute's focus will be on acquisition, techniques, and technologies in the Slavic and East European Languages.
East Asian Concentration at Ohio State
Summer Programs East Asian Concentration (SPEAC) are offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures in cooperation with the Ohio State University National East Asian Language Resource Center, in Japanese Language, Chinese Language, Teaching Chinese, and Teaching Japanese.
Learning of LCTLs
This page from the February 2002 Conference, Distance Learning of Less Commonly Taught Languages, includes an extensive list of links to language associations and resources for the teaching of LCTLs.
iLoveLanguages is a comprehensive catalog of language-related Internet resources that include links to online language lessons, translating dictionaries, native literature, translation services, software, and language schools.
Commonly Taught Languages Project at CARLA
This project's goal is to advance the teaching and learning of LCTLs by encouraging more people to study them and by helping LCTL teachers develop high-quality teaching material cooperate and communicate with each other.
African Languages Resource Center
The Center's mission is to serve the entire community of African language educators and learners in the United States by sponsoring a wide range of educational and professional activities designed to improve the accessibility and quality of African language instruction in the United States.
of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP)
NASILP is North America's only professional organization specifically established for the fostering of self-managed academic programs in the less-commonly taught languages.
National Capital Language
NCLRC provides material resources and professional services for the improvement of the teaching and learning of languages other than English.
National Council of
Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages
The CouncilNet Web site is the hub of CouncilNet, the Web-based network for organizations representing the less commonly taught languages in the United States. The Council comprises 18 member language teaching associations that represent individual languages or geographically defined language groups.
Asian Languages Resource Center (NEALRC)
This resource center at Ohio State University provides resources such as textbooks, teachers' guides, and audio and video recordings for more than a dozen less commonly taught languages. NEALRC has also developed pedagogical and program development resources and guidebooks and provides intensive summer language institutes.
National Foreign Language
The NFLC is involved in several projects concerning less commonly taught languages, including the heritage languages initiative, the Chinese language field initiative, and a project to assess the state of advanced learners of Japanese in the United States.
Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC)
The NFLRC undertakes projects that focus primarily on the less commonly taught languages of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. The overriding goal of all projects is to develop prototypes that can be applied broadly as resources to improve foreign languages education nationally. See also New Technologies and Less Commonly Taught Languages Abstracts and other information from the NFLRC Symposium held at the University of Hawai'i, July 8-12, 1996.
Resources for Endangered
This site offers resources for "members and friends of endangered language communities," with a special focus on Indigenous American languages. It links to organizations that provide grants for Indigenous American language revitalization projects, as well as to the full text of books offering the best methods for revitalizing languages and reversing language shift. It also present accounts of successful Native American and other language revitalization projects.
For more than 50 years, SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) has been studying and documenting lesser known languages. SIL International works with language communities worldwide to facilitate language-based development through research, translation, and literacy.
Slavic and East European Language
Resource Center (SEELRC)
The purpose of SEELRC is to improve the teaching and learning of the languages of the world through a variety of projects, including teacher training, research, material and technology development, and the establishment of an information and dissemination network.
Indigenous Languages (TIL)
This site, hosted by Northern Arizona University, maintains online resources on the linguistic, educational, social, and political issues related to the survival of the endangered indigenous languages of the world. The site offers multiple resources, including the selected full-text proceedings of the 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998 conferences on stabilizing indigenous languages.
UCLA Language Materials
The UCLA Language Materials Project is an online database of teaching and learning materials for less commonly taught languages throughout the world. Over 4,000 resources covering 100 languages have been compiled on the site.
Language Center Language Guides
This site contains information on 115 languages and links to less commonly taught language resources, including fonts, news groups, and listservs.
yourDictionary.com, in collaboration with WorldLanguages.com, provides links to online language dictionaries for over 280 different languages, as well as 25,000 language resources on tape, video, CD-ROM, and in traditional book form for children and adults.
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota has established eight listservs for their Less Commonly Taught Languages Project.
You may wish to conduct your own search of the ERIC database on the World
Wide Web using the descriptor Uncommonly Taught Languages.
To narrow your search, you might want to add one or more of the following
descriptors or the name of a specific language:
Second Language Instruction
Second Language Learning
Indo European Languages
If you need help with your search, call 1-800-276-9834 or email our User Services staff. Information on obtaining the documents listed below can be found at the end of this section.
Report of the Less Commonly Taught Languages Summit.
Stenson, Nancy J.; Janus, Louis E.; Mulkern, Ann E.
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
Availability: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), University of Minnesota, Appleby Hall 333, 128 Pleasant St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ($6).
The report summarizes the proceedings of a conference on less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). An introductory chapter describes the origins and organization of the conference, and notes the sponsoring organizations, languages represented by participants, institutions represented, and professional associations to which participants belonged. Three subsequent chapters summarize the plenary talks and small group discussions of the three conference sessions. Topics include: promoting and protecting the LCTLs (student concerns, teacher concerns, enrollments, institutional cooperation, marketing LCTLs, curricular issues); pedagogy and materials (teacher training and professional development options, teacher cooperation and communication, analysis of a survey of participants, availability of pedagogical materials); and delivery systems (governance, technology). Appended materials include the conference announcement and application, the text of the survey of participants, and a list of participants.
Distance Education Technology--Foreign Language Instruction in the Central States.
Kuntz, Patricia S.
Publication Date: March 1998
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC04 Plus Postage.
A study of distance education opportunities for second language learning in the Central States region, especially in the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), investigated the need for such instruction, available technologies, and instructional course design. The first section examines the implications of distance language instruction for the region and the nature of involvement within major language education groups. The second section, which concerns instructional technologies, details the role and limitations of technology in second language instruction (including instructional materials, equipment, funding, and training issues), types of available technologies, functions of transmission networks, and the advantages and disadvantages of distance education in language instruction. The third section outlines issues in distance education course design in the areas of analysis (needs assessment, analysis of learner characteristics, task/content analysis, and instructional objectives), course design and development (preparation, presentation, participation, practice with feedback, and performance assessment), implementation (logistics and learner support), and evaluation (components, data collection and analysis). Contains 45 references. Substantial supporting materials are appended.
Less-Commonly Taught Languages in Selected Elementary and Secondary Schools in California. Final Report.
Padilla, Amado M.; Sung, Hyekyung
Publication Date: January 10, 1997
Notes: Foreign Language Assistance Act Program Evaluation Project.
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC10 Plus Postage.
The report summarizes results of an evaluative study of selected state-funded elementary and secondary school programs for less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) in California. Fourteen projects at 19 school sites received a maximum of 4 years of funding to offer instruction in Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, and Russian. The evaluation design was guided by six instructional and evaluation questions: (1) how proficiency in the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) can be assessed, considering the diversity of the languages; (2) whether students make reasonable progress in acquiring the language within a school year and across levels; (3) how motivation influences students' attainment of proficiency; (4) how parents' attitudes toward language study and their involvement influence proficiency; (5) the role of students' ethnic heritage background in language study and proficiency development; and (6) challenges and difficulties for teachers and administrators in teaching the LCTLs. Evaluation methods and criteria are outlined and results are reported, including findings from a parent and student survey. Results are analyzed by school level (elementary/high school). Appended materials include guidelines for student portfolio use, the questionnaires used, and related documentation.
The Teaching of African Languages: Content, Context, and Methodology.
Penn Language News, n9 p1,3-8 Spr 1994
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Three interdependent components--content, context, and methodology--are discussed as they relate to the teaching of African languages to non-native speakers. Content depends on type and availability of instructional materials, which may be quite limited. If textbooks are not available, the teacher must select from varied authentic materials and graded stories. Absence of graded materials such as textbooks requires that the teacher be trained in or familiar with learner-oriented teaching strategies, and has the disadvantage that learners can not preview and review materials from the same source. Establishment of content goals facilitates lesson planning. Dictionaries may be scarce, and materials should include a simple, relevant glossary. Social and cultural contexts of the content used are important elements in effective teaching of grammar, because they may be unfamiliar to the learner. Role-playing can be used to establish context. Successful classroom language teaching addresses individual learners' needs and balances competence and performance. Class preparation should include an outline of areas to be covered, detailed notes on subject matter, and a list of lesson-related activities. The lesson plan should be flexible, and incorporate these stages: familiarization; review of old material; introduction of new material; group practice; and reinforcement.
Less Commonly Taught Languages in High School.
Education Digest, v58 n1 p69-72 1992
For a less commonly taught (LCT) language to thrive in a high school curriculum, issues of support and accessibility must be addressed. Counselors, administrators, and teachers must work together to show students that these are not difficult languages. Designing the programs for "gifted and talented" students unfairly excludes many capable ones, so a philosophy of equal access is important. Establishing and maintaining an LCT language must not fall totally on the teacher, but should be supported by district and building administration. Designating a classroom helps these languages find their identity within the school. The LCT language teacher's efforts to publicize it may be perceived as recruitment by other teachers; the teacher should meet with junior- and senior-high counselors to answer questions and address preconceived ideas about the languages' difficulty. A flier sent to entering freshmen can be useful. A language club helps reinforce the language and culture and promote its study. Enrolling freshmen helps ensure continued high enrollment. Creating a four-year sequence and preparing students for continued study in college also helps achieve success. Finally, a good relationship between the LCT and other language teachers is vital; enrollment issues and concerns about sharing classrooms should be discussed.
Towards a Generic Curriculum Guide for the Less Commonly Taught Languages. NFLRC Research Notes.
Crookes, Graham; And Others
Publication Date: 1991
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Availability: National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawaii, Webster 203, 2528 The Mall, Honolulu, HI 96822 ($2.00).
The possibility is discussed of using a generic guide for syllabus construction across the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) to facilitate the development of proficiency/ communicatively-oriented syllabuses and materials in the LCTLs. Issues addressed include the degree of overlap among LCTLs and the most desirable unit for constructing such a curriculum guide. The absence of needs analysis for LCTLs is seen as a major obstacle, and the possibility that "materials templates" may serve the same purposes as a general curriculum guide is suggested. Contains 35 references.
Selected Materials for Elementary and Secondary Less-Commonly Taught Languages: Language Arts and Content Areas. Arabic, Cambodian, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hmong, Indochinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latin, Pilipino, Russian, Urkrainian, Vietnamese. CLEAR Annotated Bibliography Series.
Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC. Center for Language Education and Research.
Publication Date: May 1989
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
This 65-item annotated bibliography is composed of materials for teaching language arts and the content area materials in the less commonly taught languages (including Arabic, Cambodian, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hmong, Indochinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latin, Pilipino, Russian, Urkrainian, Vietnamese) at the elementary or secondary levels. For each of the entries, the following information is indicated: target language, educational level, material type, content area, title, date of publication, author/ developer, publisher and availability information, and an abstract/description of the material. The bibliography includes curriculum guides, program descriptions (for bilingual programs and immersion programs), vocabulary development activities, citizenship documents, computer assisted instructional materials, culture specific materials, teaching guides, courseware, and phrasebooks.
EJ628061 The Role of Critical Languages on Campus.
Ryding, Karin C.
ADFL Bulletin, v32 n3 p52-56 Spr 2001
Makes a case for studying the truly foreign languages--the less commonly taught languages. Discusses the needs and ramifications of supervising the teaching of less commonly taught languages, covering the nature of the curriculum, the state of the field, and available resources.
An Overview of Less Commonly Taught Languages in the United States.
NASSP Bulletin, v84 n612 p25-29 Jan 2000
A Modern Language Association survey of enrollment trends in U.S. colleges found that Spanish, French, and German remain the three most popular language courses. Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic have shown greatest increases between 1960-95. The Less Commonly Taught Languages project provides information, including instructional materials and web sites.
Foreign Language Departments as Leaders.
Ryding, Karen C.
ADFL Bulletin, v29 n1 p28-29 Fall 1997
Discusses how foreign language departments can lead in the development of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary curricula because of their vast experience with multidisciplinary work. Particular focus is on the less commonly taught languages, which offer rich and neglected academic resources that can help demystify foreign cultures and diversify the curriculum.
Preparing Teachers of Critical Languages for the Precollegiate Environment.
Schrier, Leslie L.
Theory into Practice, v33 n1 p53-59 Win 1994
Development of precollegiate teachers of less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) differs from that of teachers of commonly taught languages. The article examines characteristics that LCTL preservice teachers bring to teacher preparation and outlines aspects of preservice and inservice development that help teachers effectively make LCTLs more common in precollegiate education.
The full text of most materials in the ERIC database with an "ED" followed by six digits is available through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) in microfiche, online, or in paper copy. Approximately 80% of ERIC documents from 1993 to the present are available for online ordering and electronic delivery through the EDRS Web site. You can read ERIC documents on microfiche for free at many libraries with monthly subscriptions or specialized collections. To find an ERIC center near you, contact our User Services staff.
The full text of journal articles may be available from one or more of the following sources:
To obtain journals that do not permit reprints and are not available from your library, write directly to the publisher. Addresses of publishers are listed in the front of each issue of Current Index to Journals in Education and can now be accessed online through the CIJE Source Journal Index.
If you would like additional information about this or any topic related to language education or linguistics, contact our User Services Staff.
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