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CeLCAR’s Bi-Annual Newsletter "The Steppe" | Issue 04 | Fall 2015


Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region

School of Global & International Studies College of Arts & Sciences

The mountains of Central Asia.
Developing Online Language Courses

CeLCAR is excited to announce that we are developing online courses! For years, you’ve been asking for opportunities to learn or to continue learning a language of Central Asia from wherever you happen to be, without having to come to Indiana University in order to do so. That opportunity will soon be available.

CeLCAR is excited to announce that we are developing online courses! For years, you’ve been asking for opportunities to learn or to continue learning a language of Central Asia from wherever you happen to be, without having to come to Indiana University in order to do so. That opportunity will soon be available.

CeLCAR Online Cources

Coming in Fall Term 2016, watch for online language courses in Dari, Pashto, Uyghur, and Uzbek. We are also currently developing textbook materials for Kazakh, Mongolian, and Tibetan and plan to develop online courses for them after the textbooks are complete.

What this means to you is that these courses in these strategic less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) will open up our capacity to reach a worldwide audience. For those who have been unable to attend Indiana University, these courses will allow you to develop much richer communication skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking these critical languages, whereas before you may have been limited only to self-study.

Here’s why our online courses will be so good. When we first started, we began to build a community of online course developers here at Indiana University who had developed successful programs that were already available. We did a thorough needs analysis, collaborating with as many folks as possible, such as with IU’s School of Education, and also polling potential customers, existing customers, and people we know through social media. Running through existing online language courses and analyzing the current market helped us in the process of determining what we would like to create in our own online offerings. Our team took time to employ sound methods of instructional design and have explored ways that we might include innovative technologies, such as apps programming, green screen videos, or elements of gamification applied to language exercises. We hope to make learning a language as engaging as we can.

As CeLCAR progresses in these efforts, we continue collaborating with a number of organizations at IU, who have been a big help to us:

Workshop on Online LCTL Teaching

In May, CeLCAR held a “Workshop on Online LCTL Teaching” here at Indiana University, Bloomington, for people with interest in developing or teaching online courses in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). Teaching LCTLs has always had its own set of challenges, and we discussed possible solutions with special emphasis on online solutions.

The general public was invited, and the proceeds are available to anyone at the event website at the “Program” tab at the top, where you’ll find video and slides of the various presentations. Speakers were selected from renowned experts in the field of online language teaching:

  • Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl, Yale University, “Maintaining the diversity of LCTLs: Toward sustainable models”
  • Sun-Young Shin, Indiana University, “Using E-portfolios for foreign language teaching and learning”
  • Binbin Zheng, Michigan State University, “Teaching practices and interactions in online world language courses”
  • Rick Kern, University of California, Berkeley, “Looking beyond communicative competence: Developing semiotic agility in online (and offline) environments”
  • Books developed by CeLCAR in 2013

    In addition, CeLCAR gave a group presentation on the state of our online language materials, which included a detailed Prezi presentation, “Towards Developing Online Language Courses for LCTLs: The case of Central Asian languages”, presented by Öner Özçelik, Dave Baer, Amber Kennedy Kent, Rahman Arman, and Sukhrob Karimov.

    The event was well attended, the information was timely, and the feedback from event guests was strongly positive. We invite you to view the proceeds yourself and find out why!

    Give Now

    Ever wondered what you can do to support your favorite Central Asian language? Well, now you have the chance to become a part of the initiative at CeLCAR to further the development of new materials. Become an active member and donate at our “Make a Gift” portal!

    Your contribution of any size can support such activities as development of textbooks for less commonly taught languages, preparation of online courses, and design of interactive mobile applications available to you, friends and family. Help us to spark new interest in cultures and languages of the Central Asian Region.

    Your philanthropic gift is a vital part of ensuring that we succeed in our mission to:

  • Promote the teaching and learning of the languages and cultures of Central Asia.
  • Expand development of language learning materials.
  • Improve teacher training.
  • To kick off this effort, Sukhrob Karimov and Dave Baer met with Sheila Decker, the Associate Vice President of Administration at the Indiana University Foundation (IUF). In 1936, a small group of alumni, friends, and members of the Indiana University community founded the IU Foundation to fulfill a dream of educational opportunity for all. As a not-for-profit corporation, IUF is dedicated to maximizing private sector support for IU. State appropriations provide less than one third of IU’s operating budget, so private gifts are vital to keep an IU education exceptional and affordable. Further information is available at

    We would like to thank the Office of Advancement at the College of Arts and Sciences for collaborating with us to make this happen. As Director of Development, Sue Sgambelluri has been especially helpful, with the support of Gillian Johnston, Director of Stewardship, and Hope Snodgrass, Development Assistant.

    One of the greatest benefits of giving to CeLCAR is knowing that your gift will be put to good use right here in Indiana.

    Pedagogy Point: This Issue’s Q&A
    Q: I was just hired for my first paid teaching job. If you only had one piece of advice for a new instructor, what would it be?
    A: This is easy. Plan! Ben Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” When it comes to a well-managed classrooms, there is no substitute for planning. Use the knowledge you gained in your teacher training program, combined with the resources available to you (textbooks, your institution, language resource centers like CeLCAR, online materials, etc), to create solid lesson plans before each class session. Remember that a good lesson plan will include clearly defined learning objectives, materials needed, a warm-up/review, introduction to new material, guided practice, and built in comprehension checks (formative assessments). While creating the instructional portion (the warm-up/review, introduction to new material, guided practice) remember to always link prior knowledge, engage the learners through active learning, and offer opportunities for reflection. (I have these three things printed out on a poster by my computer to remind me!) Another hint: The more detailed your lesson plan (I actually break mine down into MINUTES!), the more smoothly the lesson will go. I promise!

    But planning doesn’t end at the end of your class period. The last part of your planning process is to review your lesson plan AFTER the class. Make sure to denote what worked and what didn’t work. Try to update the plans as soon as possible after the course and then save it for the next time you teach the course. And it should go without saying, make sure to incorporate what you’ve learned into your future lesson planning! Good luck! And welcome to the wonderful world of teaching!
    Submit Your Question

    Conferences for CeLCAR

    Dr. Öner Özçelik, Director of CeLCAR, has traveled extensively since the last issue of our newsletter.

    IFLE in DC
    There are myriad administrative responsibilities, challenges, and promising practices to discover in implementing Title VI projects. The International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) Project Directors’ Meeting, March 25- 27, 2015, provides a forum for grantees to access technical assistance, share information, and network with peers who endeavor to achieve the world language and area studies training purposes of the Title VI programs.

    The grants administration sessions, panel presentations, and discussions with Department senior officials were mutually beneficial as leaders of Title VI programs met to discuss ways to advance global education. IFLE staff members were able to engage with project directors and staff from the Centers for International Business Education Program, the Language Resource Centers Program, the National Resource Centers and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships Programs, and the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Education Program.

    “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” –Rita Mae Brown

    GASLA image

    GASLA in Bloomington, Indiana
    Dr. Özçelik presented at the 13th GASLA (Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition) Conference. GASLA brings together researchers working on the nature, use, and development of interlanguage in all contexts of bilingual and multilingual acquisition. Presentations addressed any sub-area of linguistics (syntax, phonology, semantics, etc.) that addresses the process of second language acquisition: the psycholinguistic mechanisms that drive it, the nature of developmental stages, the nature of triggers, or the role of second language input in inducing the development of interlanguage grammars, among other topics. The title of Öner’s presentation was “Acquiring the world’s most difficult stress pattern: L2 Khalkha Mongolian and ‘Conflicting Directionality’.”

    Welcoming New Staff

    • Jonathan Washington is a grad student working on a double Ph.D. in Linguistics and Central Eurasian Studies.

    His research interests are the linguistic documentation of, history of, and phonology and phonetics of Turkic and Mongolic languages. He has an MA from Indiana University in Central Eurasian Studies, an MA in Linguistics from University of Washington, and a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Further details on his background are available here and here.

    With his emphasis on Kazakh and Kyrgyz, Jonathan is a perfect fit at CeLCAR as our Kazakh Language Developer. He is developing language materials for an introductory Kazakh textbook. Kazakh is the focus of much of Jonathan’s research in linguistics, including as the main focus of his undergrad thesis, and one of the main languages of focus both in his Master’s thesis at University of Washington and in his current dissertation work at IU. Jonathan taught second-year Kazakh last summer at CESSI, the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute and University of Wisconsin-Madison. His background is especially helpful in describing the particular challenges of learning the intricate phonology of the Kazakh language, and he is able to anticipate a natural sequence of lesson progression, helping the learner to appreciate the rich nuances of the language.

    • Umarjan Kurban also comes to us from the People’s Republic of China, from Xinjiang University in the city of Ürümqi.

    He has studied with Samat there in the Department of China’s Languages, in the School of Humanities, where he specializes in Linguistics. Funded by a program through the China Scholarship Council, Umarjan is here at Indiana University for one year as a visiting scholar, arriving four months after Samat. While here in Bloomington, Umarjan hopes to do research at Indiana University on the semantic relationships between verbs and other linguistic components and their manifestations on the surface linguistic structure.

    Umarjan brings some excellent skills to CeLCAR. He has been working many hours helping to edit both the English and Uyghur portions of our Uyghur grammar reference textbook, contributing examples of the concepts. He has also recorded audios for Uyghur language samples and multimedia materials of our intermediate Uyghur textbook.

    • Tiffany Joy Ignalaga comes to us from Bahrain.

    She is a graduate student working on her Masters of Fine Arts in Graphics Design here at Indiana University. She received her undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston IL, majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Business Administration, and where she earned a number of honors and student awards. And here is more.

    Tiffany has already been a big asset here at CeLCAR. She has helped with the design work of our intermediate Uyghur textbook. She did all the design work for our recent Workshop on Online LCTL Teaching (PDF available here). She is currently working on an informational brochure for CeLCAR.

    Director’s Note

    At present, CeLCAR’s major activity is developing online language courses in the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) of the Central Asian Region, in addition to continuing our work on textbook and grammar reference book development in various Central Asian languages, as well as creating additional language learning apps. Regarding online language course development, we are currently developing courses for the languages of Dari, Pashto, Uyghur, and Uzbek.

    We have a series of awards, grants, scholarly publications and workshops that have kept us busy, new sources of development work to advance and broaden our goals, effective new staff to help us out, and new milestones that we have achieved regarding our published language materials. The articles in this issue of our newsletter allow you to understand them in greater detail. To all of these efforts, we continue to apply sound principles of language pedagogy and advanced web and mobile technologies, which are all in line with the findings of latest research in second language acquisition, linguistics and language pedagogy. Our materials continue to provide learners with activities that are aimed at helping them perform tasks and functions that native speakers of the target language perform in their appropriate cultural context. The grammar and the vocabulary covered in these materials are chosen carefully to help learners perform these tasks and functions at their respective levels of proficiency.

    IU Trustees Teaching Award to Öner Özçelik and Gulnisa Nazarova

    Please join us in congratulating not one, but two of our staff members who are receiving the prestigious Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award for the 2014-2015 school year. First, CeLCAR’s Director, Dr. Öner Özçelik, an Assistant Professor of Central Asian Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition in the Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) department received an award for the tenure-track/tenured category and CeLCAR’s Uyghur Language Developer Dr. Gulnisa Nazarova, a Senior Lecturer in Uyghur for CEUS received an award for the lecturer category. Both very well deserved awards for two excellent instructors!

    ConCALL Proceedings
    Oner Ozcelik

    Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (ConCALL-1), Volume 1 is now completed. The journal is published online via IU’s Open Journal System, ScholarWorks. Additionally, the full .pdf will be made available for free download through the conference website. If you would like a printed version, they are available for $XX through CeLCAR’s Online Shop.

    CeLCAR Recipient of IU’s

    CeLCAR has been awarded a Phase I Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Research Grant through Indiana University’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL). Our research project Determining effectiveness of Content Based Instruction in an online language learning environment, is led by the center director, Oner Ozcelik. The research team is designing two parallel online lessons in Dari with identical learning objectives using different instructional approaches, one using the communicative language teaching approach and the other using content based instruction. We will test both lessons with different groups of learners, collecting data on learners’ performance using formative and summative assessments, and then compare and contrast the results in order to answer our research question: Is Content Based Instruction an effective teaching methodology for teaching less commonly taught languages in an independent self-paced online language course? Stay tuned on the results of our research in the months to come!

    Progress on Intermediate Textbooks
    ACTFL 2014

    We are making progress on publishing all our intermediate textbooks. Please note that each of them is available the general public now at our online shop:

    • Dari Intermediate Textbook/CD
    • Pashto Intermediate Textbook/CD
    • Uyghur Intermediate Textbook/CD
    • Uzbek Intermediate Textbook/CD

    Georgetown University Press has agreed to publish all four of these works. The two that are furthest along in the publication process are Pashto and Uzbek. Each of them has gone through a formal independent review process, and the results of the reviews have been encouraging. We have spent considerable time in the past couple of months in the final edit process, documenting permission release information, and a host of other concerns that are part of the business of publication. For example, just this week, GUP has approved the details of the cover for Intermediate Uzbek, including the image to be used.

    Intermediate Pashto is already available for advance purchase on the GUP website, and they will ship the first copies in November 2015. Georgetown University Press has scheduled Intermediate Uzbek for publication in Spring 2016.

    Alice’s Adventuresin Wonderland in Dari
    DLI Logo

    Rahman Arman, CeLCAR’s Afghan Language Specialist, was approached by Evertype, the publisher that happens to have rights to Lewis Carroll’s beloved book Alice in Wonderland, who asked Rahman to translate the work into Dari and Pashto. They have successfully published it in Dari and will publish the Pashto version sometime next year. This is a great honor for Rahman to have been included in this effort. The translation took him over two years to complete. He says that the greatest challenge was to retain the poetic nature of Carroll’s language in the original English version and represent it accurately using appropriate Afghan literary mechanisms and cultural idioms. He used as a reference one of the versions available in Persian/Farsi (Iranian dialect), the version translated by the Iranian writer, Zoya Pirzad. More information about the book from Evertype is available at

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