Storytelling school

Language Festival celebrated with games, stories, poetry – Le Crieur de Saint Anselme

Last Thursday, the Academic Resource Center and the Writing Center hosted Language Day in the Center Jean event space to celebrate multilingualism on campus. The event was funded by a Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund grant requested by Jacob Akey of the Class of 2024. Nearly forty students and a handful of faculty gathered for a real feast.

There were dishes from five local restaurants, each representing a language spoken here on campus. Party organizers have taken special care to ensure that native speakers of each language operate the restaurants they order from. There were stromboli from Luisa, representing the middle school Italian speakers, jalebi for Punjabi, Cuban rice and chicken and pulled pork empanadas for Spanish, spanakopita and dolma for Greek, as well as an Arabic/Mediterranean selection which included falafel and baba ghanoush. The spring rolls from the Chinese restaurant North Garden have also been added to the list, accompanied by duck sauce.

The event also aimed to reveal the often unrecognized diversity of languages ​​spoken on campus. According to ARC calculations, there are more than 25 languages ​​spoken natively by students and faculty at Saint Anselm College. These range from Hebrew to Tagalog.

The Fête de la Langue included a host of activities. Along with the smell of fantastic food, multilingual music greeted those who entered the event space. Participants wore badges indicating all the languages ​​they spoke. There was a multilingual poetry translation, which included poetry by Robert Frost and Spanish poet Octavio Paz, among others. The International Relations Club offered Geoguessing to the participants to test their geographical skills.

The guests drew up a list of words that were impossible to translate. One of the inclusions was “boredom”, an originally French word associated with the wealthy, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a feeling of apathy and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of occupation or excitement”. Another entry was “sobremesa”, a Spanish word roughly meaning “after-dinner conversation and relaxation at the table”, which the students and teachers engaged in after the feast.

Participants told stories about experiences they had because of their knowledge of a foreign language, or lack thereof. Professor Ann-Maria Contarino, an English teacher and coordinator of the Academic Resource Center and the Writing Center, recounted the time an Italian butcher tried to give her a bad piece of lamb, not realizing that she understood every word. Jenne Powers, director of the Academic Resource Center, explained that she almost couldn’t buy a tomato in Russia because Russian grocers refused to recognize her pronunciation of the word.

The French and German teachers from the Department of Modern Languages ​​and Literature represented their respective languages. German teacher Justin Mohler brought a German riddle and handed out Haribo erasers.

An elder who was present said, “It was a good time. The food was fantastic. I had no idea so many languages ​​were spoken here. A sophomore who introduced himself said, “It was nice to be around people who appreciated the language and the impact of the language on the culture. Also, I loved the Cuban rice. The food was a big hit. Many hungry students left the party with their hunger satisfied and their love of the language deepened.