Languages Out Loud to offer a world of songs, poetry and speech

Singers at Languages Out Loud

Building on the success of three previous multilingual speak outs, the College of Arts and Sciences is sponsoring a Languages Out Loud event Wednesday, May 22, from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Erb Memorial Union amphitheater.

This year, students and faculty members will read poems and short prose passages, sing songs, give testimonials about their experiences speaking in different languages, and offer short speeches in Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian, Basque, German, Armenian, Korean, Swahili, ancient Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Breton and Swedish, among several other languages.

They will express themselves in languages they have studied, learned at home, or use in research or one that belongs to their family’s heritage. Information about student projects and language programs also will be on display.

This cultural and academic event helps student participants learn about the poetry, song and prose of different cultures through practicing, memorizing and performing it. And by giving voice to the multitude of languages and cultures that are part of the fabric of the campus community and the world, the event also helps foster the UO’s core values of diversity and inclusion.

The first Languages Out Loud event took place in November 2016 and was organized by Amalia Gladhart, professor of Spanish and then-head of the Department of Romance Languages. The event was prompted by reports of community members experiencing negative reactions when speaking languages other than English in public.

It also built on the work of faculty members and students in the Spanish Heritage Language program, who had previously organized events such as National Spanglish Day, a celebration of bilingualism. The initial event was followed by another Languages Out Loud event in May 2017, organized by Cecilia Enjuto-Rangel, associate professor of Spanish.

The two events showcased voices from around the world: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and community members read, sang or recited works in languages such as Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Quechua, Mapuche, Aymara, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew and Sulótalak, among many others. A community member, Selena Louie Young, spoke in Chinese about her experience as a Chinese American growing up in Eugene.

In 2018, Languages Out Loud again took place in May. Organized by Susan Anderson, professor of German and coordinator of language initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, it featured students reading poems in German, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Spanish and Japanese, as well as students singing songs in Italian, Chinese and Swedish.

Graduate students and faculty members read poems in Catalán, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German, Amdo Tibetan, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Swedish. The event ended with a rousing rendition of the Italian song “Volare” (“To Fly”) by Gerardo Pisacane’s Italian 103 class.

Languages Out Loud is a lively, multilingual celebration open to the entire campus. Contact Susan Anderson at susana@uoregon.edu for further information.

By Lisa Raleigh, College of Arts and Sciences