Pop-ups and other unique books from Taiwan will be on display through December.
On November 14, 2017, the International and Area Studies Library opened the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies (TRCCS), with support and material donations from the National Central Library (NCL) of Taiwan. The ongoing collection will include more than 800 contemporary publications from Taiwan, which are available for checkout. The exhibit, which features rare items from the NCL about the history of books and book-making, will be on display through December in the International and Area Studies Library. The opening ceremony included a signing of cooperation agreements, book donation exchange ceremonies, and a lecture from Professor Kai-Wing Chow titled “Printing Technology, Book Culture, and the World of Print in Imperial China.”
Students and faculty reflected on the opening ceremony and on the value they see in the TRCCS:
Representatives from the National Central Library of Taiwan visited IAS to open the TRCCS.
Kezhen Zhang, a student worker in the International and Area Studies Library who graduated from the iSchool in August with a concentration in special collections and archives, both attended the event and helped to coordinate it. She said:
“I was pleased to be an assistant for the TRCCS opening ceremony. During the preparing time prior to the event day, I established a TRCCS page on the Library’s website, where I added an introduction to TRCCS and the exhibit, and information about the event as well. I also designed a poster for the hallway. When preparing this event, I not only got chance practice various tools, such as WordPress, Adobe Photoshop, and MS Publisher, but I also collaborated with other members in our division. On the event day, I played an administrative role. I loved the atmosphere of collaboration while everyone was trying to make the event great! I was also glad to meet members of the National Central Library of Taiwan, and I appreciated seeing their efforts for a partnership with our library.”
The National Central Library of Taiwan provided more than 800 books for the TRCCS.
Bonnie Mak is an associate professor, with joint appointments in the School of Information Sciences and the Program in Medieval Studies. She teaches courses in the history and future of the book, reading practices, and knowledge production. Her first book, How the Page Matters (2011), examines the interface of the page as it is developed across time, geographies, and technologies. Mak said of the TRCCS event:
“By examining the history of printing from a global perspective, Prof. Chow immediately exposes assumptions around the so-called ‘print revolution’ of the West that is said to have precipitated major social and political change in the 15th century. He usefully reminds us that moveable type was being used in Asia by at least the 12th century — 300 years before its adoption in Europe — and operated in conjunction with the traditions of woodblock printing and handwriting as means of graphic communication. The continued co-existence of all these techniques is worthy of further investigation, and Prof. Chow invites us to consider under what circumstances one might have been preferred over another.”
The TRCCS will be ongoing in the International and Area Studies Library, room 309, but the rare book exhibit will only be available until the end of December. This includes an interactive stamping display, where you can create a layered stamp card to take home. Stop by the IASL to see the exhibit while you can!
Room 309 of the Main Library is now the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies.
Me standing in wooden shoes at the Keukenhof, a flower park in the Netherlands, March 2015.
Learning a new language can be motivated by many factors and developed in different environments. While I have taken language courses in classroom settings, my most recent foray into a new language has been less structured, and more personal.
In April 2015, I visited the Netherlands at the end of a semester abroad in England. Much of my mother’s extended family still lives in the Netherlands, and she and I spent about five days meeting relatives and exploring areas like Amsterdam, Heerhugowaard, Volendam, and The Hague.
My relative and I took a canal boat tour in Amsterdam, March 2015.
While not universal, we were surprised by how many Dutch people spoke English, and spoke it well. Our family explained that English language is a required subject for most students, beginning at a young age. The proliferation of English media also helps them to learn not only the formal English of the classroom, but also the common phrases and expressions used in everyday conversation. My mother and I do not speak Dutch, so we relied heavily on our family when traveling, shopping, and communicating in general. The language barrier was not a significant challenge on our trip, however, as so many of the people we interacted with could speak at least some level of English, and many written texts were also available in English as well.
My relatives and I (center) in Chicago, October 2017.
In October this year, a few of these relatives had the opportunity to visit America for several weeks. They spent a weekend with my immediate family in Illinois before visiting other cousins in Indiana and then flying to Tampa, Florida, where a mini-reunion took place. My mother and I took them to Chicago for several days to see the city sights: the Shedd Aquarium, Millenium Park, Michigan Avenue, Chicago 360, and an architectural boat tour. While my mother and I still acted as guides, they could have functioned independently due to their fluency in English; they were able to read parking machines, store signs, menus, and ticket information on their own. Their language abilities afforded them comfort and agency even in a new place, and it allowed them to interact fully with their environment without needing much help outside help.
They later told me that they were not only fluent in English, but also had working knowledge in German, French, and Spanish as well. While this kind of language variety is impressive, it is not uncommon for the world at large. A European Commission report from 2012 found that 77% of people in the Netherlands have practical skills in at least two foreign languages (p. 13), and English is the foreign language most Europeans are able to speak at 38% (p. 19). In other regions of the world, such as those in Asia, Africa, India, and the Middle East, it can be common to speak or learn more than one language. These additional languages are not always taught exclusively in a classroom environment – as is common in English-speaking countries – but instead learned more organically through exposure and everyday use.
A Pew Research Center article from 2015 details that only 25% of American adults reported speaking a language other than English in a 2006 survey, and only 43% of this group said they could speak the language very well. While these numbers may be changing, and these statistics are never exact, it is clear that Americans spend less time and effort learning foreign languages. A 2015 article from The Atlantic quoted Richard Brecht, head of the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, as saying, “It isn’t that people don’t think language education is important. It’s that they don’t think it’s possible.”
Language learning, especially later in life, is not easy. I studied Spanish in high school and Latin in undergrad, but I retain almost no functional or conversational skills in these languages. However, many online resources make language learning possible – and fun – after people have left the formal classroom environment. I am currently using Duolingo – an interactive phone app – to learn Dutch, in the hopes of one day being able to speak to my relatives in their native language.
If you are interested in learning a foreign language, there are many resources that are available to you, whether you are at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or not:
Rosetta Stone – for University of Illinois students and faculty, look under Quick Links on the Literatures and Languages Library homepage and login with your netID and password
Mango Languages – through the Urbana Free Library with your library barcode and Champaign Public Library with your library barcode. Many public libraries have Mango Languages subscriptions; check the online resources page.
Duolingo – freely available on iOS, android, and Windows devices
Ethnologue – This is not a language-learning tool, but it includes updated statistics about languages worldwide. Use a University of Illinois netID and password to log in.
Happy language learning!
Graduate Assistant | International and Area Studies Library
Do you enjoy seeing the world? Exploring your country? Maybe just visiting the next town over? No matter if you prefer traveling on or off the beaten path, you have reason to celebrate…
Just this past year, over 1.2 billion travelers made their way across international borders in search of adventure, with that number expected to grow by more than 600 million over the next three years. (Rifai, Official Messages on World Tourism Day, 2017) It’s no surprise, then, that we find tourism sitting pretty as the world’s 3rd-largest industry (Rifai, 2017), nor that big of a stretch to guess that you, or someone you know, thoroughly enjoys traveling.
But what does it mean to travel?
I’ve been lucky enough to study abroad in both Cuernavaca and Barcelona; to explore with my family a swath of Western Europe (Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy); to present at a conference in Finland; and even to spend nearly a year living and working on my own in Buenos Aires. Each trip I took was motivated by a unique mix of goals and desires, and I’ve no doubt that the same goes for anyone else who has found themselves on a journey abroad:
Sometimes we travel to study, to immerse ourselves in a fascinating culture and language.
Other times we travel to learn about ourselves, find our limits and step outside our comfort zones.
Maybe we travel for the adventure, the thrill of encountering the unfamiliar and reveling in its newness.
Sometimes we travel to escape, to get away from it all and relax for a while.
All too often, however, travelers focus solely on what they will get from a trip abroad, forgetting that they, too, have an impact on the places they visit—travel and tourism is not a one-way street, after all. With this in mind, and in celebration of #WTD2017, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has released a variety of resources to help travelers be sure that their impact is a positive one. Click on the pictures below to check them out:
Ultimately, if we can remember to TRAVEL, ENJOY, and RESPECT, we can be sure that we are having a positive impact on the economy, environment, and, most importantly, the people of the places our travels take us.
Ever wondered what those K-Pop bands are singing about? Or what the actors in your favorite K-dramas are crying about? Well, wonder no more because this post of Glocal Notes is for you! Needless to say, you are not the only one because a study by The Modern Language Association found that university students taking Korean language classes increased by 45 percent between 2009 and 2013, despite the overall decrease in language learning by 7 percent. According to Rosemary Feal, the executive director of the Modern Language Association, this increase could be a result of young people’s interest with Korean media and culture. Before going into learning Korean, let’s find out about Korean language itself.
The Korean alphabet was invented!
The Korean alphabet was invented in 1444 and proclaimed by King Sejong the Great in 1446. The original alphabet is called Hunmin chŏngŭm which means “The correct sounds for the instruction of the people.” As you can see from the name of the alphabet, King Sejong cared about all of his people.
Before the Korean alphabet was invented, Korean people used Chinese characters along with other native writing systems as a means of documentation. As stated in the preface of Hunmin chŏngŭm below, because of inherent differences in Korean and Chinese and due to the fact that memorizing characters takes a lot of time, the majority of the lower classes were illiterate. This was used against them by aristocrats to put themselves in a higher position of power. As expected, the new system of writing faced intense resistance by the elites who perhaps thought it was a threat to their status and to China. However, King Sejong pushed through his opposition and promulgated the alphabet in 1446.
Below is the paraphrased translation of the preface of Hunmin chŏngŭm.
The language of [our] people is different from that of the nation of China and thus cannot be expressed by the written language of Chinese people. Because of this reason, the cries of illiterate peasants are not properly understood by the many [in the position of privilege]. I [feel the plight of the peasants and the difficulties faced by the public servants and] am saddened by the situation.
Therefore, twenty eight [written] characters have been newly created. [My desire is] such that, each [Korean] person may become familiar [with the newly created written language of Korean] and use them daily in an intuitive way.
A page from the Hunmin Jeong-eum Eonhae, a partial translation of Hunminjeongeum, the original promulgation of the Korean alphabet. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hunmin_jeong-eum.jpg
Korean is simple.
The construct of the system is simple. Because King Sejong knew that peasants did not have hours and hours to spend on learning how to write, he invented a system in which “a wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.” The modern-day script has evolved into 24 characters and is called Hangul (한글) in South Korea and Chosŏn’gul (조선글) in North Korea. Due to its simplicity, both Koreas boast exceptionally high literacy rates, more than 99% in South and North Korea.
Fourteen consonants in Hangul http://www.antiquealive.com/Blogs/Hangeul_Korean_Alphabet.html
Ten vowels in Hangul http://www.antiquealive.com/Blogs/Hangeul_Korean_Alphabet.html
Consonants: What you see is what you write.
The shapes of consonants, ㄱ(g/k),ㄴ(n),ㅅ(s),ㅁ(m) andㅇ(ng), are based on how your speech organs look like when you pronounce these sounds. Other consonants were derived from the above letters by adding extra lines for aspirated sounds and by doubling the consonant for tense consonants.
Shapes of consonants in Hangul http://www.wright-house.com/korean/korean-linguistics-origins.html
Vowels: Three strokes encompass the world.
Various combinations of three strokes make up vowels in Hangul. A horizontal line (ㅡ) represents the Earth (Yin), a vertical line for the standing human (ㅣ), and a point (ㆍ) for heaven (Yang). This concept is derived from Eastern philosophy where heaven, Earth and human are one.
Vowel combinations in Hangul https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHangul_Taegeuk.png By Jatlas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
1 Block = 1 Syllable
The Korean alphabet consists of 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Unlike English, where letters are written in sequential order, Korean letters are combined into syllable blocks. Each block produces 1 syllable. A syllable block contains a combination of consonant/s and vowel/s. For example, since the word 한글 (Hangul) has two syllables, it has two blocks. Pretty easy, right?
Syllable Blocks for the word 한글 (Hangul) http://allthingslinguistic.com/post/66133111314/why-the-korean-alphabet-is-brilliant
If you have made it this far, you may want to check out some ways you can actually learn the language yourself. There are numerous resources and classes that will fit your learning style.
Hello Talk – Language App available for iOS and Android where you get instant connection to native speakers from around the world.
Integrated Korean Series – Want to take a peek at what students are learning in Korean classes? This is the current textbook used by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Korean Language Program.
서강 한국어 (Sŏgang Han’gugŏ) – Series of textbooks published by Sŏgang University in Korea and used by many Korean programs in American Universities.
Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions: 100 Expressions you can’t live without – Have you ever wondered about some Korean expressions from K-drama that just did not do it justice with word-for-word translations? Well, this book is for you! This book lists 100 idiomatic expressions with literal and actual meanings and usages with detailed explanations so you can be a Korean language expert. Here is the book intro.
외국인을 위한 한국어 읽기 (Korean Graded Readers) – Want to read Korean novels and short stories but afraid that those may be too hard for you? Here is a set of 100 books where Korean novels and short stories are divided into levels of difficulty.
Korean with Chinese Characters – Want to find out how Hancha (Chinese characters in Korea) is used in a Korean context? Here is a book that lists some common Hancha words used in Korean contexts.
Language through media:
Sometimes, learning a language may be less stressful if you follow a storyline. Here are some resources for you to explore Korean movies and dramas.
Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS) – AEMS is a program of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that offers multimedia resources to promote awareness and understanding of Asian cultures and people.
Asian Film Online – Asian Film Online offers a view of Asian culture as seen through the lens of the independent Asian filmmaker. Through a selection of narrative feature films, documentaries and shorts curated by film scholars and critics, the collection offers perspectives and insights on themes highly relevant across Asia, including modernity, globalization, female agency, social and political unrest, and cultural and sexual identity.
Ondemandkorea.com – Watch Korean drama and variety shows, for free. Many of the episodes provide subtitles in English and Chinese.
Korean Language Program -The Korean Language Program at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign offers Korean and accelerated Korean language course tracks for non-heritage and heritage learners. These language courses are augmented with cultural instruction introducing students to both Korean culture and society using authentic texts and audio-visual materials including newspaper articles, dramas, films, documentaries, etc. Weekly events such as the Korean Conversation Table (KCT) are available during the semester to help you practice speaking in Korean.
Korean Cultural Center (KCC) Facebook Page – The Korean Cultural Center is a registered student organization and a non-profit organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The group works to promote Korean culture through various events and programs. Visit their Facebook page to check out the latest event!