The Michigan State University (MSU) has been granted $1.2 million to develop new less commonly taught language courses, included one for Armenian, The State News, published by MSU students, reports.
Center for Language Teaching Advancement, or CeLTA, faculty have been awarded funding by the Mellon Foundation for 38 months to create new language programs through a partnership with the Big Ten Academic Alliance.
Though MSU already offers 29 less-commonly taught languages, or LCTLs, and CeLTA faculty hope to add many more, including Armenian, Burmese, Gaelic, Hmong, Serbo-Croatian and Sinhala, according to the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages’ website.
The new LCTL courses will be taught via CourseShare, an online distance-learning program used throughout Big Ten Academic Alliance schools.
Although LCTL learners agree that access to these languages is important, some students think the university could be doing more.
Less-commonly taught languages are often tied to groups of people who have experienced oppression, and making them more accessible can help begin to change that legacy.
Students without ancestral ties to a less-commonly taught language stand to gain a lot from these programs too, Koen Van Gorp, who will help develop the new courses, said.
“I think it’s kind of getting an alternative view of the world,” Van Gorp said. “It opens up new windows, new avenues, new horizons.”
If the new LCTL courses prove successful, the Big Ten Academic Alliance would hope to continue to expand to more languages, executive director Barbara McFadden Allen said.