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Comprehensive linguistics program, taught in Spanish, completes fifth year in Peru

(December 2007) Students completing the 2007 Curso Internacional de Lingüística, Traducción y Alfabetización* (CILTA) are graduating in December. This is the fifth year this course has been offered at the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru. Twelve students from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru are enrolled in this two-semester program designed to offer cross-cultural instruction for those involved in language-based development.

According to the Peruvian coordinator between CILTA and Ricardo Palma University, Dr. Mario Mejía Huamán, Profesor in the Facultad de Humanidades y Lenguas Modernas:

CILTA is an admirable program when one realizes all that the students accomplish in two semesters of preparation for future field work. The training enables them to begin to investigate and analyze any spoken language, and to develop grammars and dictionaries of those languages. They learn to translate a variety of text types to and from Spanish and minority languages. They also learn principles and practices of literacy. The principal motivation for the program is to focus on minority languages. I am amazed that they can accomplish all this in such a short time frame. Clearly this reflects well on their preparation as well as on their professors who are not only teachers, but researchers in their own right.

"We're proud of our students," states Dr. Wes Collins, this year's CILTA Director and an SIL linguist. "There comes a time, as the academic year progresses, when students can competently handle the vocabulary and ideas. They begin to interact, among themselves and with their professors, not as students but as colleagues. It's a delightful transition." Other SIL instructors are David and Christine Foris from New Zealand.

Professor Maggie Romani, who teaches morphology and syntax, says, "As a Peruvian professor, I'm amazed by the enthusiasm and perseverance of our students. The pace is intense, but I feel that the intensity challenges them and helps them to know themselves better, which, at the same time, enhances their ability to relate to others."

Peruvian student Jasmín Jauler says, "Taking this course has helped me to figure out things that I hadn't understood very well, while opening my eyes to worlds I didn't even know existed. The fact that we have professors that are academically sound and who also have decades of practical field experience gives students a wide panorama of different perspectives."

Student Jessica Suárez from Ecuador says, "I am very happy and challenged with the academic level CILTA maintains for their students. The professors give us the tools we will need to use in the future wherever we may find ourselves in cross-cultural service. What has particularly helped and enriched my time here is not just the academics of the classroom but the idea of theory put into practice in the very lives of my professors. As they teach from their experiences my life has been impacted."

Soledad from Chile says, "The level of classes taught at CILTA is excellent. The professors are very well qualified both academically and practically—their experiences enriching each class period. CILTA has been very important to me, not only for what I’ve learned, but also for what I’ve come to realize. I see now that translation and literacy work is a team event, not a solo flight. I've also come to see that if someone is going to go down into a cave, he or she needs a team of others to hold the rope."

The course will be offered for the sixth time in 2008. The first semester runs from 12 March until 11 July and the second semester from 18 August until 17 December.

*International Course in Linguistics, Translation and Literacy

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