AATSEEL
 
 

Public relations and High School Enrollment Survey

The following survey was designed by the Public Relations and High School Enrollment subcommittee to gather data on promotion of and the state of Slavic languages and linguistics in our educational system today. The subcommittee consists of Zoya Valkova (gathering data on heritage groups, email: zvalkova@pop.srv.ualberta.ca), Robert Orr (gathering data on Slavists in non academic positions or in non-teaching positions in academia, email: roborr@aix1.uottawa.ca), Karen Rondestvedt (advisory member, email: RONDEST@vms.cis.pitt.edu) and Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby (gathering data on high school enrollments and promotional activities, email: jrouhie@pop.uky.edu).

This survey was distributed to members of Slavic Heritage Groups, Slavists in Non-Academic or Non-Professorial Academic positions (librarians, administrators, etc.) and to High School Teachers. The data gathered from the respondents is presented in two forms after the questionnaire itself: in a summarized form for those who do not have the time or inclination to read through the entire list of responses as well as the indivdual responses sorted by type of respondent. The individual responses are anonymous, and any potentially identifying material, such as names of schools, has been deleted. If you would like any additional information on this survey or on the results, or would like to respond to the questionnaire yourself, please email me at jrouhie@pop.uky.edu

QUESTIONNAIRE

    As most teachers in the field can attest, Slavic languages across the country have been suffering from a severe drop in enrollment in this decade. Two years ago, a group of Slavic linguists, all members of AATSEEL, met to discuss the issues related to this decline for the profession as a whole. At that time, the Slavic Linguistics Task Force was created. It is our hope that the task force will be able to gather data that will be used to boost interest in Slavic and Slavic linguistics in North America. The Committee on High School Enrollment and Public Relations is one of the committees that makes up the task force and respectfully submits this questionnaire to you in the hope that your insights and input will help us rebuild the profession. The information will be presented at the AATSEEL conference in December 1996 and will be available on the Slavic Linguistics Task Force Web Page. The results of the questionnaire will also be forwarded to the leadership of AATSEEL, in the hopes that they will act upon your suggestions. All material on the web page and forwarded to AATSEEL will be anonymous unless you give us permission to use your name.

    While those in academia have taken steps to increase our enrollment from within the university, there are groups of people that have been more or less ignored in the attempts to improve enrollments. These include: middle and high school teachers of Slavic languages, culture, etc.; Slavic heritage groups; non-academicians or those in non-teaching related academic positions (librarian, administrator, etc.) who hold degrees in Slavic. The following questionnaire is addressed to members of these groups. If you are a middle or high school teacher, have a job outside of academia and/or have a non-teaching academic position and hold a degree in Slavic, or are a member of a Slavic heritage group, we would appreciate your cooperation and assistance in filling out this questionnaire. If you are not a member of any of the above groups, but know of someone who is, please pass the questionnaire on to that person. PLEASE NOTE THAT this is the second of two questionnaires to be released by the task force. The other survey focuses specifically upon enrollment data at the high school and college levels and on issues related to institutions of higher learning and can be found at LINK TO OTHER SUBCOMMITTEE PAGE.

A) BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Name:

Mailing Address:

email address:

Profession:

Number of Years in this or similar positions:

Institution (school, heritage group, non-academic institution, etc.):

Educational Background (institution, degree):

Prefer to remain anonymous: Yes No

B) HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught?

2) Is that language still offered at your school?

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation?

4) How many years has it been or was it taught?

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered?

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district?

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)?

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes?

9) If you have not had enrollment reductions, to what do you attribute this fact (large number of heritage speakers, public relations, or other factors)?

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages?

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if the y have fallen or risen in that time?

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.?

13) If yes, does this course help interest in the study of the language?

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)?

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your opinion? Why?

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

Additional comments:

C) HERITAGE GROUP MEMBERS:

1. Do you know if there is any cooperative work between your heritage group and the University/College/High School teachers of Slavic languages that is directed towards maintenance and promotion of your heritage language in North America? If yes, give details.

2. Do you think that public lectures about your heritage language and language culture (its history, development, etc.) read by University teachers will help you in its promotion in North America?

3. Do you think that it will be a good idea if the local newspapers and radio programs include some information about your heritage language?

4. What are your suggestions for improvement the contacts between your heritage group and the university (college/school) teachers which are directed towards the promotion of your heritage language in North America?

5. What are your suggestions for improvement the Slavic language teaching in North America (such as courses, contacts between students and heritage groups, student (undergraduate/graduate) representatives, etc.)?

6. How can members of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European languages help you in promoting your heritage language and culture?

7. Have you had any formal courses on your heritage's language or culture? What and where?

8. How did you find out about the courses in 2.?

9. Were the courses in 2. what you were expecting? If not, why not?

10. Did you complete the courses in 2.? If not, do you have any suggestions that might have helped you continue with the course(s)?

Additional comments:

D) INDIVIDUAL SLAVISTS (currently working outside academia or in non-teaching areas of academia, such as libraries, administration, etc.)

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

3) What is your main Slavic language?

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

7) If you haven't come across the ideas expressed in 5), please comment.

Additional comments:

E) EMPLOYEES OF NON-ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS:

1) Does your institution need any sort of language work?

2) If the answer to 1) is yes, which languages?

3) Are you aware of linguistics (specifically in this case, Slavic)?

4) How much skill and education do you think is required for a linguist/translator/interpreter?

5) If the answer to 1) is yes, would be useful to have a linguist on staff, or for part-time /contract work?

Additional comments:

SUMMARY OF DATA

High School Data: Overall, the news on the teaching of Russian* in schools in North America at schools other than college is not good. As is the case in universities, enrollments have fallen and programs are being threatened or in fact, cancelled in many cases. There are some success stories in the data received, but they require dedication from the administration through lean periods. Teachers seem to think that the key to these successes is not only administrative support, but the ability to teach in one program in one school. That is to say, they need to be able to dedicate all their efforts to Russian, and not Russian and some other more mainstream language or not Russian in three different schools. Teachers need to be visible and develop contacts with the students. To do so, they need a stable location and program. It was generally agreed that college and university faculty do help in some of the activities, such as sponsoring language fairs.

However, there were two issues where university faculty were not contributing to the growth or strengthening of Russian teaching in lower middle and high schools. The first is that university teachers do not give their students enough credit for the work they have done in high school Russian. They state that this attitude discourages students from continuing in Russian and hurts programs at the high school level, since they students convey this opinion to those who are still in high school programs. In other words, the tests we design to establish placement and indeed, the very organization of our programs hurts those who may have an interest in the language and as a result, damage our programs. Basically, these teachers contend that university faculty do not want those students who do not match what they consider to be ideal, and instead of attempting to help those students either meet that model or, better yet, redefining the model, Russian professors drive these students away from the program.

The second issue is that university teachers need to make a conscious effort to include middle and high school students in their activities. In many cases, respondents stated, high school students are often not invited to events which would foster their interest in the language or be of great benefit to their education. Involvement of students in these activities would also provide an avenue for recruitment, which could only benefit university programs, by promoting student interest in the language. Finally, such activities could also be a means to get the word out to students (and thus, to their parents) that Russian knowledge is actually marketable, especially when combined with fields such as economics, business, science, etc.

*Russian since none of the respondents teach any other Slavic language.

Heritage Groups: The responses to the heritage group appeal were extremely low (2) and can easily be read below. Thus, no summary will appear here. Attempts were made to reach heritage groups through geneology lists, but did not seem to be successful. Any suggestions for increasing the number of responses, either by passing on listserv addresses to subcommittee members or by passing on the names of individuals involved in these groups, would be most welcome.

Individual Slavists: The questions in this portion of the survey were designed to elicit information on the value of studying linguistics for those who are not themselves involved in the teaching area of academia or in academia at all. There was a consensus that linguistics provides a valuable base for professions such as translator, librarian as well as in the class room itself. In addition, several respondents mentioned that what is needed in graduate study, and possibly even undergraduate study, is a comprehensive approach, which allows for the study of the language, linguistics and culture as a whole, rather than with specific tracks, which may be too limiting.

An additional concern mentioned by some respondents was that language classes at the university level are often too narrowly defined and do not take into account the variety of student needs. For example, many students require reading knowledge; still others theoretical approaches to the language; and finally some desire general instruction in all four skills, i.e. the communicative approach to language learning.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES

HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS

Number of Respondents: 7

Respondent 1:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? Yes, but not at the 5 other schools where I have taught during the last 23 years.

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation?

It is much easier to schedule classes for a high school or middle school if you don't offer "singleton" classes. Get rid of Russian and it's simpler to schedule classes. In our District, it is up to the principal whether or not electives will be offered.

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? 8 years (school is 8 years old) 16 years in other schools

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? 4

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? no

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)?

no, but you could check with Schillinger's Pre-College Enrollment Survey because I have been filling those out for a long time.

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes?

yes, but I'm getting tired of doing it. And the more I do, it seems like the less influence it has. Maybe if we offered honors credit for kids who take Russian, that would excite them. It was easier teaching RUssian when the Russians were the enemy. Now, kids and parents don't care. We play Russian games: gorodky, banky, goosey-goosey, do Ukrainian Easter Eggs, sing Russian folk songs, do Russian folk dances, have food days, watch Cheburashka and Nu Pogody. But, still the students say: It's too hard!

9) If you have not had enrollment reductions, to what do you attribute this fact (large number of heritage speakers, public relations, or other factors)?

Grant from state government, new textbook (FAce To FAce), but its not going to work much longer. Kids are taking Spanlish cuz it's easier.

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so, what languages?

2 classes of Russian, 3 classes of Spanish.

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time?

Spanish keeps going up. We have 6 teachers, 5 of us teach some Spanish.

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.?

History teacher teaches Russian history, but never asks for help, suggestions, from me. Weird hugh?

13) If yes, does this course help interest in the study of the language? NO.

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations > or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)?

Russian summer camp, Weekend teachers camps to learn about Russian, after school programs in elementary schools and the middle school.

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your opinion? Why?

The Russian summer camp. It's fun.

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

Unfortunately, I have no suggestions, I've been working hard, but I don't know if I can last much longer. And why work so hard? If I were to teach only Spanish, I wouldn't have to do a summer camp, after school classes, teacher weekends, take kids on field trips, make t-shirts, Russian alphabet magnets, RUssian grammar book marks, Written Olympiada, Spoken Olympiada, High School Academic Exchange Program, home stay exchanges, semester exchange. Egad, I'm tired just writing about it.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

Offer advanced placement credit for Russian courses taken in high school.

Respondent 2:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? Yes

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation?

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? 9

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? 4

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? Not that I'm aware of.

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)? Yes: First year 1991: (NA) 1992 (28) 1993 : (33) 1994 : (54) 1995 : (34) 1996: (35)

Second year 1991 (NA) 1992 : (13) 1993 : (25) 1994 : (26) 1995 : (48) 1996: (33)

Third year 1991 (NA) 1992 : (15) 1993 : (11) 1994 : (22) 1995 : (16) 1996: (29)

Fourth year 1991 (NA) 1992 : (14) 1993 : (11) 1994 : (7) 1995 : (19) 1996: (14)

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes? Yes

9) If you have not had enrollment reductions, to what do you attribute this fact (large number of heritage speakers, public relations, or other factors)?

Public relations, HSAPE (exchange program), lobbying of administrators.

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages? Full-time Russian.

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time?

No specific figures, but most students at our school are required to take 4 consecutive years of a foreign language, and all are required to complete at least 2 years, so enrollment overall has been constant.

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.? No.

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)? Yes: promoting Russian language study to guidance counsellors and administrators.

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your opinion? Why?

Lobbying administrators and guidance counselors, as our school draws from dozens of different middle schools; only these people are in contact with our incoming students at the time when those children decide what to study. Supportive guidance counselors promote Russian, supportive administrators recommend it to families during interviews, and supportive schedulers create school class schedules that support Russian.

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

All of the above are worthwhile. Involvement with Russian immigrant community, also.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

By making much better attempts to find out what HS Russian students know before dumping them in elementary courses. Many times I think this happens because the university people fail to grasp that students may have knowledge and ability in various areas, but can't articulate that in the particular linguistic/grammatical terminology that the the given university uses.

Some (even minor) recruiting of our students would be influential and mutually beneficial. Our students would be flattered and made to feel Russian is important, and universities would increase their enrollments.

Respondent 3:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? yes

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? 12

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? 4

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? no other

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)? 120, 100, 100, 80, 65

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes? Song and dance performance @ junior highs, enrollment in exchanges, grants, curriculum consultants, talks with eighth-grade parents, lesssons in the junior highs, frequent talks with and cookies to counselors, not to mention copies of the Johns Hopkins position paper on the need for Russian . . .

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages? I teach two English classes daily (75-80 students)

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.?

not currently, though area studies classes will soon be required, and two years of a language will substitute for one semester of the required area-studies class.

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations >or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)? yes--see above

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your >opinion? Why? Exchanges helped at first, but they are no longer unusual.

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by >national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

Impress upon business and school leaders that Russian can be the key to getting an interesting job.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

By not scaring them away with tests which their own students might not pass after a summer...make articulation more high-school friendly, and offer more outreach. Our local university is doing a great job in all of the above, but when my students leave town, it's a very different story.

Respondent 4:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught?

I supervise independent study in Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? Yes

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? 4

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? 1

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? no

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)? usually 3 to 5 per semester.

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes?

I offer several languages and enrollment is steady or increasing in most.

9) If you have not had enrollment reductions, to what do you attribute this fact (large number of heritage speakers, public relations, or other factors)?

Independent study is currently "fashionable" in our high school.

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages?

I supervise many languages that are studied independently, including American Sign Language, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Arabic, Italian, and several others.

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time?

The total enrollment of my classes have increased from 30 to 122 in the last 4 years.

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related >classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.? no

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)? No.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

Make us aware of good programs towards which to direct the student who wishes to continue. My job is to interest them initially. There is an avid curiousity out there that enjoys discovering that third languages are easier than seconds. (Most of them have had French, German, or Spanish before I get them)

Respondent 5:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school?yes

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation?

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? five

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered?2

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? no

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)?1996-97: first year:17; second, 3. 1995-96: first year: 25; second year, 8. 1994-95 first year: 28, second, 9. 1993-94: first year, 25, second, 8.1992-93, first year, 49.

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes?

Part of the decrease was due to our school being split, so the school enrollment was down. We have tried to maintain a high profile in the community--service projects, parade entries, Russian nights at school, etc., and in the school; we have also done outreach programs at our feeder elementaries. Part of the hardest part is convincing counselors, etc., that kids can do Russian. It hasn't helped that the high school program is on the fourth teacher in five years, with no AP, and threatened every year with extinction---parents encourage their kids to go with a program which they can count on to be part of the overall plan. It has helped to get the 2002 Winter Olympics here; our kids are really hoping and planning to be involved somehow with those, using their Russian skills. One reason for the apparent drop in numbers between 1st and 2nd years is that this is a two-year school, and many students don't start until 8th grade; of those who start in 7th grade, I only lose one or two, usually because of a conflict in scheduling.

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages? I teach four classes of French and one (combined) of Russian

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time?

In the last five years, Spanish has stayed the same---capacity for our one teacher; German has fluctuated, although they did see some overall increase, and French has increased (if you take into account the school size change.) However, I also started the French program here, 15 years ago, and the pattern of huge boom for the first year, then decline, and finally growth/stabilization has occured in that program, also in our German program. Two elementary schools that feed our program have some Spanish taught ; that, and our location, pretty much guarantee that Spanish will always be full.

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.? no

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)? yes---see above

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your opinion? Why?

Outreach to the elementary schools--because too often, the kids have no idea that Russian is offered, much less what we do---it helps kids to see that other students have learned this "impossible" language.

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

A PR campaign about the importance of Russian in this country's future, especially in the field of business, would help. We have been helped also by our Young Astronauts program, because they've been talking a lot about MIR, etc.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

Our local university (BYU) has helped by hosting the Olympiada--kids who have a chance to get out of the school setting because of the language, and see others using thelanguage successfully, and feel special because of the language, have more incentive to go on.

Respondent 6:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? No

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation? 1993 -- classes were cancelled after the collapse of the Soviet Union

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? 2 years introductory HS

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in >your school or in other schools in your district? No

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)? Not available (I was a substitute)

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages? ESL

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time? Fallen

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.? No

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance >counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)? No

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

Work through business interests. Russia will eventually reach a new equilibrium. When it does, business opportunities there and throughout Eastern Europe will improve.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language >teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

Unfortunately, in Virginia, several universities have cancelled Russian programs as cost-saving measures.

Respondent 7:

1) What Slavic language do you teach or have you taught? Russian

2) Is that language still offered at your school? No

3) If no, when was the class cancelled? What was the reason for its cancellation? Class size and administrative commitment to the program.

4) How many years has it been or was it taught? 8

5) How many levels of that language are/were offered? It varied from year to year . At the most, levels 1-3 at one time.

6) Are any other Slavic languages offered (or have they been offered) in your school or in other schools in your district? No

7) Could you provide enrollments in your Slavic language class(es) for the last 5 years (or for as long as you have information)?

1995-96 Russian 3: 2 Russian 2: 2

1994-95 Russian 3: 1 Russian 2: 2 *Russian 1B: 11 *Russian 1B: 5

1993-94 Russian 2: 2 Russian 1: 5 *Russian 1B: 6 *Russian 1A: 20 *Russian 1A: 15

1992-93 Russian 3: 2 Russian 2: 1 Russian 1: 9/ Russian 3: 8 Russian 3: 6 *Russian 1A: 10?

*See question 8

8) How have you attempted to solve the enrollment problems, if any, in your classes?

The Russian 1A/1B program was an attempt to increase enrollment in Russian (as well as Japanese). This program split the coursework of level one over two years in 7th and 8th grades, allowing for greater enrichment and cultural discussion. Other attempts to battle small enrollment included active recruitment at each school through posters and cooperation with guidance depts, foreign language week activities, Russian clubs, and visiting Russian speakers.

9) If you have not had enrollment reductions, to what do you attribute this fact (large number of heritage speakers, public relations, or other factors)? Oh, to be so lucky.

10) Is your position full-time in Slavic or do you teach other languages? If so what languages?

I taught Russian full-time for four years. I was, however, spread between anywhere from two to three schools daily. Beginning in 1992-93 school year, I started teaching a Foreign Language Exploratory, in which I introduce Latin, French, Russian, German and Japanese to 6th graders in a 9 week class. As Russian enrollments decreased, I began teaching German to complete my full-time status. I currently teach German 1 and 2.

11) Could you provide enrollments in non-Slavic classes for the last 5 years? If you do not have specific figures, could you please give a general idea if they have fallen or risen in that time?

The exploratory classes are large, 25-32 students, but they are part of an elective class rotation, i.e., students either the exploratory rotation (including home ec, drama, and art) or band, chorus, or orchestra. The German classes are generally in the low 20s.

12) Do you (or does another teacher) teach any non-language Slavic-related classes, such as history, folklore, culture, etc.?

One year I taught an enrichment class to gifted students once a week which encompassed language, culture, history and folklore.

13) If yes, does this course help interest in the study of the language?

Yes, but, unfortunately, administration increased the minimum enrollment and enrollment did not meet the new requirements.

14) Have you attempted any particular community outreach, public relations or marketing strategies (such as cooperative work with heritage groups, promoting Slavic language study to guidance counsellors, going to middle schools to recruit, etc.)?

I have promoted Russian with guidance counsellors. I have recruited within the middle schools and high schools. The 1A/1B program was designed to have those students feed into a high school which offered Russian. The biggest downfall was the bottom line. Principals, when given the choice of having the budget for an extra position to relieve English class sizes or for a Russian class of under 10 students most often opted for the English position. Also, I have found many principals to be unsupportive of foreign languages, in general, and of the less commonly taught ones, in particular. Some principals, wouldn't allow me to recruit with in the school, but insisted that if my numbers were high enough, they would allow the class to go on. I often go caught in a catch-22

15) Of these attempts, which have been the most successful in your opinion? Why?

Recruiting within the school was most successful. I found the more visible my students, their work, and I became, the greater enrollment I had. My greatest disadvantage was being divided between the schools. I never had enough visibility an any one school to really create a program there.

16) What suggestions do you have to increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools (such as lobbying of political officials, public relations in the community, involvement by national organizations in these areas, etc.)?

Have businesses which associate with Russia or other Slavic nations make appearances in schools, so students can see the practical applicationof these languages and cultures. Promote language study during National Foreign Language Week (usually the first week of March) and point out its advantages. Bring cultural exhibits that relate to Slavic to localities (we are lucky enough to have the Faberge eggs on exhibit here right now). Start pen pals with Slavic speakers, even do email. I was fortunate to have a businessman from a local firm be the 'courier' for mail (and small gifts) between my students and students of English in Samara, Russia. It was the highlight of my students' day whenever they got a package.

17) How can university language teachers can help high school language teachers increase the visibility and success of Slavic language teaching in North American high schools? How can University language teachers help you motivate High School students continue their studies in the university Slavic programs?

A) Bring Slavic guests speakers and invite high school students. Do Slavic film fests, etc., where high school teachers can offer extra credit for attendance, etc. B) One complaint I hear often is that University teachers don't speak Russian in their classes, that they only speak in English. Also, many programs in high school focus on proficiency, whereas many university programs focus on grammar. There should be more contact between high school and university teachers to coor dinate our programs to achieve our common goals.

HERITAGE GROUP MEMBERS

Number of Respondents: 2

Respondent 1:

1. Do you know if there is any cooperative work between your heritage group and the University/College/High School teachers of Slavic languages that is directed towards maintenance and promotion of your heritage language in North America? If yes, give details.

Yes. There are many scholarships given by the Ukrainian heritage organizations to students studying Ukrainian language. The University of Windsor did have a Ukrainian program in the 1970's. At that time, the Ukrainian Canadian Business and Professional Association of Windsor did give schorlarships to students studying Ukrainian language. The same is true in Winnipeg and Edmonton.

The Ukrainian American community has donated large sums of money to the Ukrainian Studies program at Harvard. In Canada, the Ukrainian community has donated large sums of money to the Ukrainian programs at the University of Toronto, and I believe the same is true at the recently developed program at Carleton University in Ottawa. The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the Univeristy of Alberta in Edmonton is mainly aresearch institutee,but has recieved huge donations from members of the Ukrainian community.

2. Do you think that public lectures about your heritage language and language culture (its history, development, etc.) read by University teachers will help you in its promotion in North America?

Maybe.

3. Do you think that it will be a good idea if the local newspapers and radio programs include some information about your heritage language?

Absolutely. Both about the heritage language and the heritage group. Unfortunately, the newspaper and radio and TV have been very poor in this regard and the members of the heritage community have been very poor in promiting their own message to the media.

4. What are your suggestions for improvement the contacts between your heritage group and the university (college/school) teachers which are directed towards the promotion of your heritage language in North America?

In Windsor, Ukrainian courses are not taught in the University or in the schools. Only the churches run Saturday morning Ukrainian language classes for children.

5. What are your suggestions for improvement the Slavic language teaching in North America (such as courses, contacts between students and heritage groups, student (undergraduate/graduate) representatives, etc.)?

More courses should be taught which reflect the ethnic heritage of the local community. Although yearly courses in Ukrainian, Polish, Slovak, Serbian, Croatian, are not viable in Windsor, a course taught every 4 years at the Univerity would be viable for each of these groups. Russian enrolment has dropped, and the professor is of Serbian ancestry, so a course in Serbian every 4 years would make sense to me. Close contact between the universities, the teachers, and the ethnic community (especially the chruch) would be very helpful.

6. How can members of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European languages help you in promoting your heritage language and culture? Press releases about the countries and cultures keep people's interest, assuming that the local media use them.

7. Have you had any formal courses on your heritage's language or culture? What and where? Yes. At the U. of Manitoba. Intro Ukrainian. 1966. Penn State. Intro Ukrainian 1,2,3. 1975?

8. How did you find out about the courses in 7? From ethic newspapers, and Ukrainian student club.

9. Were the courses in 7. what you were expecting? If not, why not? Yes.

10. Did you complete the courses in 7.? Yes.

Additional comments: Hiring of people expert (or not even expert) in several Slavic languages would be helpful in offering a variety of different languages. One of the professors in Ukrainian was a Czech by birth and really did not know Ukrainian very well. But he was a superb teacher, and for an introductory course, it did not really matter. Even the students who knew the conversational language better than the professor (but not the grammar) had tremendous respect for the job he did.

Respondent 2:

1. Do you know if there is any cooperative work between your heritage group and the University/College/High School teachers of Slavic languages that is directed towards maintenance and promotion of your heritage language in North America? If yes, give details.

Not known. There certainly is no mention of such support for the rapidly growing Russian adoptive community, if it exists. (There is a LARGE email list serving that community, with associated home page).

2. Do you think that public lectures about your heritage language and language culture (its history, development, etc.) read by University teachers will help you in its promotion in North America?

In most locales, the density of people interested in this or any other foreign language is probably too low to make something like this useful. In the Washington DC area, something like this could work, but only if it was well enough publicized to the target audience, which in current times is exceedingly difficult.

3. Do you think that it will be a good idea if the local newspapers and radio programs include some information about your heritage language?

I believe that the local (Fairfax County: Media General Cable) company carries Russian language news programs on one of the international channels. Only 15 minutes and it used to be at a very inconvenient time (530AM), but it was a start.

There is so much misinformation about Russian language that I daresay that general public presentations would be useful, but that it would be hard to find someone capable of writing something both good and well-suited to the lay non-Russian-oriented audience. I am talking about such issues as the purported difficulty in learning to read Cyrillic, which seems to me most trivial among language learning problems - but it scares a lot of people.

4. What are your suggestions for improvement the contacts between your heritage group and the university (college/school) teachers which are directed towards the promotion of your heritage language in North America?

Interaction and links on the WWW and mailing lists would be a good start.

5. What are your suggestions for improvement the Slavic language teaching in North America (such as courses, contacts between students and heritage groups, student (undergraduate/graduate) representatives, etc.)?

I am self-taught, and have never taken a university course in Slavic language. However, I have found that the Russian textbooks prepared by Russians were ENORMOUSLY better at teaching me the language than anything published by Americans. The well-known "Russian for Everybody" series was a good start, but I found other less well-known books also valuable, including (after the initial stage) books written only in Russian that I had to read with dictionary in-hand (which itself was a great learning technique).

Because language learning is a long-term, fairly difficult endeavor, especially if you do not have regular frequent contact with native speakers, much better mateirals and techniques for self-study, vocabulary development, and continuing education beyond the classroom are vital. I have learned a lot of things of this sort that suit my own needs, but the average person simply does not.

6. How can members of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European languages help you in promoting your heritage language and culture?

Resource lists would be helpful.

Self-study techniques as described above - language learning must NOT stop with the classroom door.

Work with Russian/other Slavic immigrants to make JOINT presentations in which the American educator perhaps talks about learning the language/culture, while the native talks about the culture itself from a first person point of view and answers questions. Something like this well could be difficult to do well, but would be effective if it worked.

7. Have you had any formal courses on your heritage's language or culture? >What and where?

No. Too expensive for the perceived benefits compared to self-study. But well-designed courses for prospective adoptive parents focussing on what they NEED and what they can accomplish in a few months of directed study would find a good niche market - and these people will be raising kids that will likely be interested in relearning Russian when they are older.

Additional comments:

Language learning for the adult who has left school is difficult. Many could manage a well-designed self-study program, with limited classroom time or even net-supported distance learning. But the time needed to master sufficient vocabulary to be conversational in a foreign language is enormous. In 4 years, I am as yet unable to maintain more than the simplest conversation with an adult Russian, though I was quite fluent with my (then) 5 and 6 year old kids for several months after their arrival. The difference is that 2000-4000 words (my probable active Russian vocabulary) enables a pretty good conversation with kids when you are sharing a non-language-intensive activity, but it hardly serves for even the simplest of topics needed for normal adult conversation.

INDIVIDUAL SLAVISTS

Number of Responses: 15

Respondent 1:

Profession: Librarian

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in? Medieval Slavic Literature (South Slavic); Bulgarian studies

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist. Pretty enthusiastic, altho more enthusiastic about promoting Slavic STUDIES

3) What is your main Slavic language? Bulgarian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent? Yes. Can read all, some with, some without dictionary Speak Bulgarian fluently; rusty in Russian and Serbo/Cro; some speaking ability in Macedonian

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? Yes

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

I started out studying Russian and OCS. In fact, I took OCS first in college and then again in graduate school. With Then I briefly studies Serbo-Cro. With these languages as a basis, it was pretty easy to picky up at least a reading knowledge of the others for purposes of dissertation and other research.

7) If you haven't come across the ideas expressed in 5), please comment.

I have used my knowledge of Bulgarian over the years in dealing with visiting Bulgarian scholars and education officials; in helping to organize workshops in Bulgaria, negotiating exchange agreements with Bulgarian institutions, etc.

Respondent 2:

Profession: Exchange Administrator

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in? Contemporary Russian literature Russian Drama Russian language instruction

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist. It was part of my training in graduate school, and I think that it was invaluable. I had courses in: Structure of Russian, History of the Russian Literary Language, and a course in diachronic Slavic linguistics

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent? I'm interested and fascinated by Czech (my second slavic language in grad school), and know just enough of it to know how uncomfortable I *can* get when I have to speak it, although my Czech served me well several years ago during a visit to Prague.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? Not yet

Respondent 3:

Profession: Librarian

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in? Polish Studies 2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist. I haven't given it much thought, but I try to promote all fields of study dealing with Eastern Europe.

3) What is your main Slavic language? Polish

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent? Just a couple of semesters of college-level Russian.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? I'm also interested in Russian folk music and culture, but I am not sure what you're getting at here.

Respondent 4:

Profession: Editor

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in? As Editor, I edit Russian self-study programs (among others). As a Graduate Student in Linguistics, my primary focus is on Slavic Syntax.

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

I strongly support promoting the study of Slavic Linguistics. I'm not sure how much time I would be able to devote to it (working full time and studying part-time takes up almost all of my time).

3) What is your main Slavic language? Serbian (Serbian-Croatian)

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent? I can functionally read and understand Russian and am familiar with the grammar, but I cannot generate it.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? I'm currently working on the translation of a novel. I was also involved with the Serbian Unity Congress, and I periodically participate in church- or independently-organized charity and cultural events.

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

I have never formally studied Russian, but my knowledge of Serbian and general principles of grammar have enabled me to work on Russian texts. The similarities are much greater than the diffrences. I would realte it to being able to understand Spanish if you speak Italian. In general, I would feel comfortable working with other Slavic languages in a limited/targeted context.

1) Does your institution need any sort of language work? Living Language publishes materials for self-study of foreign languages and ESL, so we need language professionals all the time. The most popular languages, however, are Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

2) If the answer to 1) is yes, which languages? Currently Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese.

3) Are you aware of linguistics (specifically in this case, Slavic)? I study it.

4) How much skill and education do you think is required for a linguist/translator/interpreter?

It depends on your definintion of linguist, but I think a great deal of formal training is required there. For translation and interpreting, I think experience is most important, and I do believe that a natural talent in these areas can substitute for formal training.

5) If the answer to 1) is yes, would be useful to have a linguist on staff, or for part-time /contract work?

Generally on a free-lance basis, but our editorial dept. employs four full-time editors w/a background in languages.

Respondent 5:

Profession: Librarian

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

Area studies, including languages.

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were >not trained as a linguist.

I'm not really in a position actively to promote it. I do hope many people will study it.

3) What is your main Slavic language?

Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

Yes. See #6.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

I have done paid translating, and I study and read other languages as a >leisure activity. Translating Russian was my job in the U.S. Army, before I studied linguistics.

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

The Slavic languages are very similar grammatically, somewhat less so in vocabulary. Librarians working with many of them in the course of their work, as I do, can learn to read all of them at some elementary level sufficient, say, to make out the subject of a book. With some deliberate study, one can learn to read several rather well. Speaking, of course, is a whole different story. I'm only comfortable in Russian, for example. Any linguistic awareness induced by formal linguistic study can certainly help one to recognize regular correspondences in phonological structure, etc. that make learning easier and quicker. On the other hand, working with many languages improves one's linguistic understanding of languages, especially closely-related ones.

Additional comments:

I believe there has been a failure among educators to recognize the differences between the study of foreign languages, the study of linguistics, learning to speak a foreign language and learning to read one, with regard to the desires and abilities of students. I don't know of any university language courses that don't insist upon the oral approach to learning a language. At least some linguists don't really know a foreign language well, and are not that interested in either speaking or reading one. Some people like to learn a lot of languages, but don't wish to do formal linguistics, especially theoretical linguistics. Still others are only interested in learning to speak other languages, while others only want to read them. The failure to provide opportunities for people with these different feelings about language or linguistic study has, I'm sure made many people hate something they might otherwise find to be interesting, if not just plain enjoyable, because of what they were forced to do in classes. It would probably take some significant changes in the ways courses are offered and structured in bureaucracies like universities and schools to create the opportunities for students with different goals in languages. Perhaps more specialized schools with flexible programs could be considered.

Respondent 7:

Profession: Translator

1) Does your institution need any sort of language work?

As a freelance translator, I'm willing to consider propositions.

2) If the answer to 1) is yes, which languages? German, Russian, Polish, Spanish

3) Are you aware of linguistics (specifically in this case, Slavic)? Yes

4) How much skill and education do you think is required for a linguist/translator/interpreter?

That would depend primarily on what you want accomplished. In the Army, I often had requirements to screen stacks of newspaper articles to find, say, the ones that pertained to events in Korea. These stacks might be what an electronic keyword search came up with. These stacks might be in languages I never studied. However, since what I was trying to accomplish was to decide which should be translated by someone more competent than me, I was able to do it. This is a lot easier and takes much less education and skill than being a simultaneous interpreter at the Fisheries Commission for the Province of Ontario. A general question like this gets a general answer like mine.

5) If the answer to 1) is yes, would be useful to have a linguist on staff, or for part-time /contract work? I'm not subcontracting at the moment.

Respondent 8:

Profession: Translator/Editor

1. Does your institution need language work? Yes.

2. If the answer is yes, what languages?

Editing work in English [in addition to composition]; editing translations; translating from Hebrew, French, Russian; these I do or share with outside translators. Into French, Spanish, Hebrew is contracted outside.

3. Are you aware of linguistics (specifically in this case, Slavic)?

As an editor, yes: we find it difficult to develop a pool of translators in French and Russian who are both capable of producing authentic native syntax at the correct register, and - for Russian - are also familiar with the concepts and terminology of educational materials, Jewish education in particular. Partly, this is a function of the background of the native language translators, and partly because we cannot pay top rates!

4. How much skill and education do you think is required for a linguist/translator/interpreter?

A great deal. Someone must be trained [qualified or not], skilled and experienced. They must also know the basics of composition to produce a polished final result. Linguistic editing is also a profession, or acquired through experience and skill. I am not a resolute, obsessive professional. In our particular context, a Russian translator also requires cultural understanding - when to elaborate on an unfamiliar concept so that the translation is understood in context. The initial preparation of the translation and the final edit are equally important, requiring an editor with educational understanding to know what is suitable and how to adapt the materials for a Russian-speaking public. Few translators can be requested to do this, even for payment.

5. If the answer to 1) is yes, would it be useful to have a linguist on staff or for part time/contract work?

I am one of two staff with linguistic qualifications; large work is sub-contracted outside. We have no possibility of employing part-time or full-time linguists: the priority skills are educational.

Additional comments: It might be interesting to compare my comments with those of people working on multi-ethnic programs in the US and elsewhere: with new Americans, with refugees - especially from the former Yugoslavia, a more westernized society than the CIS.

Respondent 9:

Profession: Information Technology

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

Russian/Soviet Studies

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

Very; I think it is an important field.

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

Bulgarian -- slightly

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? Yes

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

I have provided translations of documents used in international conferences -- specifically military conferences held in 1992-3.

Respondent 10:

Profession: Librarian

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

I don't specialize in linguistics but studied it as part of my doctoral program. Language ability in a variety of Slavic languages is essential for my job.

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

I would strongly encourage language study, combined with an historical and theoretical linguistic framework.

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

I wouldn't say comfortable. Functional would be a better term.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

My job, while in academia, is non-teaching (i.e. a librarian) so I guess the answer is yes.

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

I am obliged to deal with a variety of Slavic languages which I have not formally studied so my earlier linguistic study helps.

Respondent 11:

Profession: Graduate Student

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

Slavic linguistics and Language Acquisition/Pedagogy

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist. Very

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent? No

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? Yes

Respondent 12:

Profession: Coordinator, Pedagory Center

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

None. I am a folklorist. I have studied some Slavic linguistics.

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

Definitely a necessary aspect of all language teaching. As to whether Slavic Linguistics is taught as a separate course (or courses) - that would depend on the size of the institution and training of the instructor(s). As a non-linguist, I would not feel comfortable teaching an entire course in linguistics. I have included some linguistic study in language classes (when I was teaching).

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian.

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

Czech - Comfortable listening/reading Serbo-Croatian - Comfortable listening reading, some speaking. Ukrainian - Confortable listening/reading.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

I have not had the opportunity to do so.

Respondent 13:

Profession: Librarian

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

Russian literature and Slavic language library services

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

Very enthusiastic

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

I feel I can "navigate" my way in Czech, and perhaps have a slight ability in comprehend VERY GENERALLLY written Bulgarian, Serbian and other Slavic languages that are similar to Russian.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits? Yes.

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

I feel that I am able to have "bibliographic" comprehension when processing materials in a Slavic language, e.g. reading titles in Cyrillic well enough to know what the materials are generally about, even if the language is not Russian. One of the greatest advantages that my superficial knowledge of Slavic linguistics has given me is the concept of fleeting vowels, roots, and structure of the language in general that has helped enormously in guessing what words in other languages mean.

Additional comments: Slavic linguistics is an *extremely* valuable subject for those involved in any way with Slavic language--whether it is the aspiring Russian literature academic or, as in my case, a former academic turned library professional. Without the knowledge I gained by studying how the language works, both historically and contemporarily, I would have had no solid foundation to develop my skills professionally. I think that I have a very basic "feel" for how most Slavic languages work, and a particularly strong grounding about how Russian works. Slavic linguisitics put language learning into context for me, which is invaluable because even though I do not use Russian regularly anymore and it is no longer as fresh in my mind as it once was, it is the concepts and ideas of Slavic lingustics that I still remember clearly.

Respondent 14:

Profession: Software designer

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

I am much better at reading the language than speaking it, and my listening comprehension is very poor, since I have never learned to make good use of language tapes. I enjoy Russian to English translation.

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

Very - but I am convinced that promoting ANY type of language study in the US will take a substantial change in methodology as well as some changes in target skills (reading a foreign language is easier to learn than speaking it, helps grow the vocabulary eventually needed to speak it, and doesn't require regular contact with native/fluent speakers to build or maintain skill - but few language courses emphasize reading and writing over conversational skills that usually take much more intensive and/or longer-term interaction to achieve a functional level).

Building an functional vocabulary level in a minimum amount of time is the biggest difficulty in language learning. Oral techniques are unlikely to build vocabulary anywhere near fast enough for the needs of the non-college-major, or the non-immersion learner actually studying in Moscow. Building vocabulary by combinations of drill, and readings with and without translation of progressive difficulty are what is needed, with oral followup only after the vocabulary is mastered.

Developing a set of good readings is non-trivial. These readings should in general be in the modern, non-literary language - something that Russian-published language textbooks do well. Not stilted vocabulary, and at least in beginning levels, no literature. (I can read Russian textbooks designed for foreigners at the 2nd year university level, but I cannot easily work through a primer/Azbuka written for native children - the latter has a lot of native-culture literary style, as well as specialized cultural vocabulary that native children may know passively, like names of regional plants and animals and idiom that is not always to be found in even better Russian-English dictionaries. (Indeed I have one sentence in an azbuka that I have never been able to translate - it is probably a proverb of some sort - because two of the words are not in any of my 5 dictionaries.) I can identify specific books with writings that I found most effective pedagogically (as well as interesting), if anyone is interested.

And production in the language pretty much needs to ignore grammatical errors until fluency is reached (something that seems heretical by my recollection of language classes in school - which was, I admit, 25 years ago in the heyday of ALM teaching methods). I could communicate fluently with my kids with minimal knowledge and therefore much weakness in the oblique cases, and only rarely did my frequent misuse of cases/endings cause misunderstanding.

I would love to work directly with someone trying to improve Russian language instruction who would be able to accept my strongly opinionated inputs.

3) What is your main Slavic language?

Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

Negligible skill, though I can recognize some roots. A good textbook that taught something of the different Less-Commonly-Taught Slavic languages presuming a basic grounding in the more commonly taught Russian language would be very interesting to me and perhaps others that want to learn about these languages without spending the time trying to learn each as a language unto itself. For example, I know that Ukrainian is considered a different language than Russian, but nowhere have I seen anything comparative other than a few scattered wordlists that give little feel for the extent of the differences.

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

Considerably, given that my Russian work is totally of this sort.

6) If the answer to 4) is yes, please comment - specifically from the >point of view of using your knowledge of one Slavic language plus your skills in Slavic Linguistics to tackle work in another Slavic language.

1) Does your institution need any sort of language work?

Our organization does language work.

2) If the answer to 1) is yes, which languages?

Artificial language "Lojban", though there is some work done that is perhaps relevant to language education in general.

3) Are you aware of linguistics (specifically in this case, Slavic)?

Yes. Formerly subscribed to Linguist List.

I have little knowledge of Slavic linguistics as a specialty within linguistics. I would like to know more, but again have not found the resources.

4) How much skill and education do you think is required for a linguist/translator/interpreter?

Skill: enormous

Education: relatively little unless the subject being translated is techical, in which case knowedge of the subject matter is more important than the advanced educaton in the language.

Anecdote: I wrote a letter to Pres. Yeltsin concerning Russian adoption a couple of years ago, which was translated for me by a Russian native working regularly as an interpreter for Russian visitors interacting with adoptive parents. I am skilled enough in Russian to back-translate the letter (which I am told was indeed read by Yeltsin or at least by someone in his inner office), and I found it so riddled with misunderstandings and mistranslations that I really hated to think that it was taken as an accurate rendition of my thoughts.

Moral: skilled translation is extremely difficult, and probably impossible to do accurately without having a feedback and review loop with the original author able to observe and correct the effects of any translation misunderstandings.

5) If the answer to 1) is yes, would be useful to have a linguist on staff, or for part-time/contract work?

Only if we were much richer.

Respondent 15:

Profession: Language Lab Coordinator

1) What areas of Slavic and/or Slavic linguistics did/do you specialize(d) in?

Russian Language (spoken & written)

2) How enthusiastic are you in promoting Slavic Linguistics as a worthwhile subject of study? Please answer this question even if you were not trained as a linguist.

I don't have many opportunities to actively promote studying of any subject but I try to encourage students of Russian (the only Slavic Language taught at this college)

3) What is your main Slavic language? Russian

4) Do you feel comfortable in other Slavic languages, and if so, to what extent?

No, I've never had the opportunity to study any others

5) Have you been able to apply your knowledge/skills outside the area of academia/or in non-teaching related pursuits?

I spent several months in the USSR (when is still was) and since then have been able to maintain several friendships. Work related (but not teaching): All of my language skills (Russian and others) have come in handy at one time or another when trying to make master tapes, troubleshooting computer programs, etc. I've also been able to help out students that can't quite figure things out (but that's sort of teaching, more like tutoring I guess).

Other comments: I do know that enrollment in the Russian program at L&C has gone down. It peaked about 8-9 years ago, about the time I was in 1st year. The 101 class at that time was so large it had to be split into 2 sections (approx. 25-30 students each) and now we are back down to 1 section of only 16 students. There were several years when we actually had 2 full-time Russian faculty, but we are again back down to one. Since that one person can not offer the same variety of courses (we've also switched from 3 terms/year to 2 which has also reduced the number of courses taught per year) I think the program is suffering even more and will continue to "shrivel". The Overseas Studies office still has faith, though, and has continued to organize a one-semester trip to Russia (approx. 15-20 students).