____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The College of Arts and Sciences has announced a new undergraduate advanced language program to teach Swahili, according to a press release. The Swahili Flagship program will be led by Alwiya Omar, clinical associate professor in the Department of Linguistics. This is IU’s second such advanced language program, after the Chinese Flagship program started in 2008. It will be only the second African Languages Flagship program in the country, according to the release.Swahili is the official and national language of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and is spoken by more than 70 million people worldwide. Learning Swahili would enable students to work in these countries with greater ease of communication. Omar is currently working to recruit visiting lecturers, a program coordinator, conversation partners and mentors for this program, which is funded by a three-year grant of $600,000 from the Language Flagship, a federally funded initiative which aims to change the way Americans learn languages. “This program will enable students to continue their language study abroad in their junior and senior years, which will enhance their understanding about the culture and language in the actual environment,” Omar said. The program will begin with an intensive course beginning in the second summer session after which students can continue to study Swahili throughout their college careers. “It would be very helpful to students who want to get jobs in African countries in non-profit organizations as well as government jobs,” Omar said. This program gives opportunities to students like sophomore Kimberly Smith, an international studies major who wants to work in Africa teaching English or working towards community development. “The Flagship Program is the best way to enhance language learning since it allows us to go and live in the cultural and linguistic environment in our junior and senior years,” Smith said.Freshman Christopher Parr, who is interested in volunteer work and community service in African countries, will have an added advantage through this program because it will put him in an environment where he can continue his career while still in school. The program will give him an edge over others who have only theoretically studied the language.Currently, Makame Ussi, a visiting professor from the State University of Zanzibar, Tanzania, is accompanying Omar as a conversation expert in her Swahili classes. “It is challenging to teach students from various different backgrounds at IU, but it is a brilliant opportunity for an exchange program,” he said. Ussi said the Swahili Flagship program will provide universities in African countries the chance to develop different teaching ideas and enhance cultural exchange. Although American and African universities have vast differences in technology, Ussi said, there are pros and cons to both linguistic environments. “When students study Swahili in America we have to create a false environment of linguistic learning for them, whereas when they travel to Africa they are exposed to a natural learning environment and are able to pick the language up faster,” he said.
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Playing Mahjong helps junior Wan Chun Chang relax. “The noise of the tiles while playing is so soothing that it relaxes you, and you can unwind from an otherwise monotonous lifestyle,” Chang said.Chang teaches students Mahjong from 2 to 4 p.m. every Friday at the Asian Culture Center. Originally from Taiwan, Chang is a transfer student from Green River Community College near Seattle, where she was the Mahjong Club’s president. She said she began teaching Mahjong at IU in fall 2010 and continued to instruct new students throughout the year.Chang took up Mahjong two and a half years ago, when her Cantonese roommate at Green River taught her how to play the game. Despite having only a few years’ experience, she is now able to teach others who wish to learn how to play.Because her family did not own a Mahjong set, Chang said they instead played Chinese Chess for fun. Mahjong is most commonly played by people of Cantonese descent, Chang said, while people of Taiwanese descent prefer Chinese Chess and poker.“They all are old, but in comparison with each other, Chinese Chess is the oldest, and hence most Taiwanese families prefer to play it,” Chang said.Chang said she personally enjoys playing both poker and Mahjong, though she said she feels that poker is more fun because it can include a larger group of players, whereas Mahjong is restricted to four people.The object of the game is to collect a set of 14 tiles grouped into four “melds” of three tiles each and a matched pair. The melds can either be a Pung, three identical tiles, or a Chow, a straight of three tiles of one suit marked with consecutive numbers.As in many other games, Mahjong also has its set of unwritten rules. During the game, players cannot say words that sound like “loose” in Mandarin, and words like “book” are forbidden because they can be taken as bad omens.“Mahjong is easy to learn, but as you keep playing it becomes difficult to win as you progress,” Chang said. “Usually, winner’s luck is a predominant feature of Mahjong. The newest player is the one who usually wins the most.”Lisha Tan, a Chinese student at IU, said she learned how to play Mahjong from Chang and won a few games in a row during her first time playing.“Initially, when you start playing, you think there are so many tiles that it’s impossible to remember each one of them,” said HaeSook Park, a secretary and administrative assistant at the Asian Culture Center. “But as you start to play, it is astonishing how easy it is to remember the tiles.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Lara Nguyen, a fundamental drawing professor in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, lectured Wednesday on the descriptive and emotive qualities of line in a new collection of drawings. The exhibition consisted of drawings from the August L. and L. Tommie Freundlich Collection, titled “The Great American Sketchbook.”The exhibition was organized by Nanette Esseck Brewer, who is the Lucienne M. Glaubinger curator of Work on Paper. The exhibition will continue to be displayed in the SoFA gallery until May 30 and includes 26 works by American masters such as John Sloan, Reginald Marsh, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Gaston Lachaise and Walt Kuhn. “Where did it start?” Nguyen said of observing art. “Where did it end? Where did it linger? Where was there frustration? Where were their many questions that were being asked, but not necessarily answered? Where was there fluidity?” Nguyen talked about the various aspects of social realism, regionalism and modernism as depicted in the works of this collection. She emphasized the lightness of the strokes of the artists and asked her audience to notice how simply the works were made. She described the process of drawing and said when she looks at such brilliant works, she considers the frame of mind of the artist, the choice of subject and the little details added to the drawing that add latent meaning to the work. Nguyen got her MFA degree from Southern Illinois University in 2002, after which she was an assistant professor at California State University in Long Beach. She discussed the structural lines, horizontal, vertical and diagonal, made with soft charcoal on translucent paper in a few works such as “Self-Portrait with Grandson (Will and Willie)” by Will Barnet and a work titled “Will Mr. Smith sign here, and here, and here?” by John Sloan, an ink over graphite. “The softer charcoal lines make it more intimate when compared with the harder formal elements in the second drawing,” Nguyen said. “Small, intimate drawings have this care and love,” Nguyen said while discussing George Luks’ drawing titled “Young Girl Seated.” She also said it is hard for an artist to get a young child to sit in a pose for too long. Summarizing her perception of drawing, Nguyen said, “When I see a drawing, I see it as a life.”