CeLCAR’s Annual Newsletter "The Steppe" | Issue 05 | Fall 2020

Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region

Hamilton Lugar School of Global & International Studies College of Arts & Sciences

The mountains of Central Asia.

Welcome and thank you for reading CeLCAR’s annual newsletter: The Steppe.

This newsletter details the activities, projects, and goings-on at our center and in Central Asian studies programs across the globe. This issue covers the activities from 2020 academic semesters.

New Folks at CeLCAR

Since our previous issue of our newsletter, The Steppe, the following folks have begun to collaborate with CeLCAR. We are glad to be working with these talented people

New Folks at CeLCAR

  • Sibel Crum, Turkish Language Developer
  • Mustafa Durmaz, Kurmanji Kurdish Language Developer
  • Ben Priest, Sorani Kurdish Language Developer
  • Gulnara Glowacki, Kazkakh Language Developer
  • Rabsal Gedun, Tibetan Language Developer
  • Dinara Abakirova, Kyrgyz Language Developer
  • Meaghan Gallegos, Assistant Uyghur Language Developer
  • Julian Kreidl, Assistant Afghan Language Developer
  • Uvsh Purev, Assistant Mongolian Language Developer
  • Jennet Babayeva, Turkmen Language Developer
  • Maksat Babayev, Assistant Turkmen Language Developer.

They’re joining our other CeLCAR employees:

  • Öner Özçelik, Director
  • Dave Baer, Assistant Director
  • Rahman Arman, Afghan Languages Developer
  • Sukhrob Karimov, Senior Web Developer and Financial Systems Specialist
  • Amber Kent, Language Instructional Specialist

We are glad to be working with these talented people! 

Textbooks From CeLCAR

CeLCAR has already published a number of textbooks have already through Georgetown University Press. Each of these titles was reviewed by independent external reviewers and went through a vigorous editing process before publication. They have all generated strong reviews, and student tell us that they enjoy learning from these materials. Each textbook includes ample exercises and is accompanied by authentic multimedia. Learn more at press.georgetown.edu.

Textbooks From CeLCAR

  • Dari: An Elementary Textbook, by Rahman Arman
  • Dari: An Intermediate Textbook, by Rahman Arman
  • Pashto: An Elementary Textbook, Volumes 1 and 2, by Rahmon Inomkhojayev
  • Pashto: An Intermediate Textbook, by Rahmon Inomkhojayev
  • Tajiki: An Elementary Textbook, Volumes 1 and 2, by Nasrullo Khojayori
  • Tajiki: Reference Grammar for Beginners, by Nasrullo Khojayori and Mikael Thompson
  • Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook, by Gulnisa Nazarova and Kurban Niyaz
  • Uyghur: An Intermediate Textbook, by Gulnisa Nazarova and Kurban Niyaz
  • Uzbek: An Elementary Textbook, by Nigora Azimova
  • Uzbek: An Intermediate Textbook, by Nigora Azimova

The following new offerings are now generally available at CeLCAR’s online shop. A number of other languages will follow soon. Details on all of the center’s language offerings are available at celcar.indiana.edu/shopping-cart/index.html.

  • Sorani Kurdish: An Elementary Textbook, by Haidar Khezri
  • Kyrgyz: An Elementary Textbook, by Dinara Abakirova

CeLCAR has created an online language course that may be taken at any time. It’s available via IU Expand, Indiana University’s collection of non-facilitated, asynchronous courses. Students may enroll at any time, since the courses are not let by an instructor. CeLCAR will also add courses for additional languages soon to this list. Information for this Pashto course is available at expand.iu.edu/browse/celcar/courses/elementary-pashto-101.

  • Elementary Pashto 101, by CeLCAR

A number of textbooks are in process. CeLCAR is excited about these languages and plans to make these materials generally available in 2021 and 2022. Keep an eye out for them at the online shop:

  • Bridging Textbook, from Turkish to Azerbaijani, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, by Sibel Crum
  • Elementary Kazakh Textbook, by Gulnara Glowacki, Aliya Sultanova, and Jonathan Washington
  • Elementary Kurmanji Kurdish Textbook, by Mustafa Durmaz
  • Elementary Mongolian Textbook, by Tserenchunt Legden and Uvsh Purev
  • Elementary Tibetan Textbook, by Gedun Rabsal
  • Elementary Turkmen Textbook, by Jennet Babayeva and Maksat Babayev
  • Intermediate Sorani Kurdish, by Ben Priest
  • Introductory Dari Heritage Textbook, by Rahman Arman
  • Introductory Pashto Heritage Textbook, by Rahman Arman
  • Pashto Grammar Reference Book, by Julian Kreidl and Rahman Arman
  • Research-based Language Teaching Instructional Textbook, by Oner Ozcelik and Amber Kent
  • Uyghur Grammar Reference Book

Anyone with questions is welcome to contact the center at celcar@indiana.edu.

Pashto At Indiana University In Academic Year 2021-2022

Picture or Rahman teaching online class

Indiana University has taught Pashto since 2004, and CEUS (Central Eurasian Studies) will be teaching it again in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. This will be an intermediate-level course.

Dr. Rahman Arman has taught Pashto since 2008 and has taught Pashto online since 2016. His students tell us that he is an outstanding instructor, and many of the more motivated students have gone on to achieve a 3+ proficiency rating, based on ACTFL’s scores for OPI (Oral Proficiency Interviews) before leaving their Pashto studies at Indiana University. The course will combine interactive online exercises, expert textbook content, and extensive use of authentic materials, with face-to-face real-time interactions via Zoom with instructors and presenters from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Classes are conducted primarily in Pashto and emphasize the development of real-time communication skills.

To learn more about Pashto, explore CeLCAR’s alphabet chart, language pamphlet, published textbooks (at introductory or intermediate levels), or visit the Pashto information page of IAUNRC (Inner Eurasian and Uralic National Resource Center).

Online Survey Course for Central Eurasian Languages

CeLCAR is creating materials for an online course, a survey course of Central Eurasian languages and cultures. The course will be delivered in Canvas, the (Learning Management System) that IU uses. The course will cover at least thirty languages, with a module for each, discussing various aspects of the language, the people who speak it, the countries they live in, and the culture associated with them.

Picture or Rahman teaching online class

Each language will include videos created by a professor who speaks and teaches the language, and many of them are native speakers. They will serve as an invited speaker for their language and ambassador for their culture, helping students to understand features of the language and why they might study it. They will include some of the basic grammar structures and sample common phrases and vocabulary, introducing students to the nature of the language, maybe through a song or through poetry. Cultural elements may include major cities where the language is spoken, traditional foods or clothing, significant industries, cultural codes they live by, or dancing or music. Standard phrases may include “Thank you”, “What is your name?”, or “How are you doing?”

Some of the languages being considered to present in the course will be Armenian, Buryat, Dagur, Dari, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Khalkha Mongolian, Kurmanji Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Pashto, Persian/Farsi, Shughni, Sorani Kurdish, Tajiki, Tatar, Tati, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkmen, Uyghur, Uzbek, and Western Yugur. The overall intent is to give learners an opportunity to experience the unique flavor specific to each language and a peek into the worldview associated with the people who speak it.

Extensive Reading Project in Pashto

Image of an Afghan girl reading a book

CeLCAR is currently doing research into using Extensive Reading to increase reading proficiency in learners studying languages with an alphabet system that is different from their native language. The Extensive Reading method follows a model of using free reading to develop a learner’s reading skills. Learners are encouraged to select between an assortment of level-appropriate materials for an assigned amount of free reading time each day. Unlike most assigned reading in language classrooms, this reading assignment does not accompany other instructional tasks or assessments, such as comprehension questions. Rather, the learner is instructed to read the self-selected texts purely for enjoyment. Learners are instructed to gauge their own proficiency, as they use provided metric tools, such as keeping track of how long it takes them to read a text and how many times they have to stop to check a word or phrase for meaning. Then, once learners reach a certain level of proficiency, they move up to the next reading level. Extensive Reading has been found to be an effective method for increasing proficiency through facilitating a positive attitude toward reading, promoting confidence, and increasing fluency and word recognition ability. However, most Extensive Research projects to date have focused on languages using the same alphabet system as English (Latin script); therefore, our research project seeks to discover if this success can be replicated when learning to read in languages that use a system that is not Latin-based.

To that end, CeLCAR’s Afghan Languages Developer, Rahman Arman, has been developing an Extensive Reading book for readers of Pashto, a language that happens to use an Arabic-based script. Rahman is a Senior Lecturer for HLS, the Hamilton Lugar School for Global and International Studies, and is gathering materials to include fifty stories across eight levels of proficiency: Novice Mid, Novice High, Intermediate Low/Mid/High, and Advanced Low/Mid/High. Readers are encouraged to read the stories over and over again, mimicking the way that children learn. Sources of stories are from educated native speakers in Afghanistan, and CeLCAR takes care not to change the texts but rather to use them as is, in order to preserve the cultural concepts that they present. They are authentic Afghan stories which are culturally rich, and many of them are not limited to Afghanistan but rather have been borrowed and translated from surrounding countries and may be shared as well with other languages and cultures.

Pashto In Academic Year 2021-2022 At Morgan State University

MSU Campus Sign

In Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, CeLCAR will be helping to teach Pashto at Morgan State University (MSU). MSU is a minority-serving institution (MSI) and a historically black college or university (HBCU) in Baltimore, Maryland. Morgan is Maryland’s designated public urban university and the largest HBCU in Maryland, with 7,750 students enrolled in 2017.

This will be the first time that Pashto has been offered as one of the languages taught at Morgan State. MSU has a vibrant ROTC program, the Bear Battalion, and has partnered since the fall of the Year 2000 with cadets at nearby Coppin State University (CSU), also an HBCU in Baltimore. The Pashto course will be fully online and open to MSU/CSU cadets and to MSU/CSU students in general and is offered through MSU’s Department of World Languages and International Studies, in the College of Liberal Arts. This will be an introductory-level course, and MSU has hired CeLCAR’s Dr. Rahman Arman to teach it. Dr. Arman is a Senior Lecturer at Indiana University, who has taught Pashto since 2008. Further information about enrolling for the course is available by contacting Dr. Helen Harrison, Acting Chair of World Languages and International Studies, helen.harrison@morgan.edu.

Multimedia Portal

Screenshot of the Multimedia Portal

In the past few years, a number of our students and customers have shared with us that they prefer the ease of online access to the multimedia materials in our textbooks and workbooks. Also, an increasing number of them no longer have a CD drive available, due to changes in technology standards which lead to the removal of CD-ROMs from laptops and some desktops. In response, we have created a cross-platform multimedia web portal that provides access to our CeLCAR library online, including images, audios, and videos. Our multimedia portal will support previously and currently published materials and instructional resources.

This mobile-friendly portal allows learners to practice textbook activities on the go, allowing for continuous access to a textbook’s assignments. The multimedia portal library also provides additional free resources, such as language alphabet charts and general information about many Central Asian languages. The built-in shopping cart function will allow you to browse through and purchase favorite CeLCAR language learning publications.

Sign up and start exploring our authentic Central Asian materials today!

Fourth Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (ConCALL-4)


The 4th Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (ConCALL-4) which was originally scheduled to be held in Bloomington, IN during the weekend of April 17-19, 2020 has been rescheduled as a virtual conference over the weekend of April 9-11, 2021. This will the first time the biannual conference will be held virtually. Though the delivery method will be different, the main features will remain the same, including the high quality of renowned keynote speakers, oral presentations, and poster presentations, as well as the engaging cultural events and networking opportunities that attendees of the conference have come to expect.

As always, ConCALL-4 will be an opportunity to bring together linguists and language educators specializing in the languages of the Central Asian region, including Turkic, Iranian, Mongolic, Tungusic and Tibetan languages. As with ConCALLs past, we are expecting speakers and attendees from university all over the nation in addition to countries all over the globe..

Our illustrious ConCALL-4 Keynote speakers are:

  • Matthew Gordon, Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Ayşe Gürel, Professor, Department of Foreign Language Education, Bogazici University
  • Irene Vogel, Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Delaware
  • Stuart Davis and Karen Baertsch, Indiana University and Southern Illinois University

CeLCAR and our other conference sponsors, IU’s Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) and Center for the Study of the Middle East (CSME), are proud of the contributions that this unique conference has made to the is making to the fields of linguistics, second language studies, and language pedagogy. We look forward to seeing you all online in 2021!

Pedagogy Point: This Issue’s Q&A
Q: I always hear about using authentic text in language teaching, but I’m afraid age appropriate authentic texts are too advanced for my beginning adult learners. What is the best way to use authentic texts in my language teaching materials?
A: CeLCAR’s materials subscribe to the communicative approach to language teaching, also known as communicative language teaching (CLT), and one of the five features of CLT is using authentic texts. Currently there exist two schools of thought for incorporating authentic texts into the curriculum. First, use authentic materials, but modify them as necessary to make them attainable for your learners. For example, you can modify the text by chunking the larger texts into smaller more manageable pieces. Or you can add pre-reading/pre-listening activities or even glossaries to help supplement the text. The second school of thought says to use unmodified authentic materials, but vary the tasks and activities to differentiate for learner levels. Here at CeLCAR, we do not advocate one school of thought over the other. Our developers use a combination of both of these methods for developing our language learning materials.
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CeLCAR Supports Language Instruction during COVID-19

An essential part of CeLCAR’s mission is to promote the teaching and learning of the languages and cultures of Central Asia through teacher training and professional development. That’s why, in March 2020 when universities all across the nation were suddenly forced to move their face-to-face instruction online, CeLCAR stepped in to help the language learning community adjust to this unexpected shift to virtual learning by helping to develop a series of workshops and resources for language teachers. The following is a summary of these recent efforts.

• IU Language Teaching Unconference

The IU Language Teaching Unconference was a two-day, participant-centered event held on Wednesday, July 8 and Wednesday, July 29 where attendees selected the facilitated session topics based on their interests and instructional needs. The Unconference format was selected to empower instructors to share their expertise with colleagues, encourage unfiltered exchange of innovative ideas, and promote collaborations and included sessions such as Assessment, Teaching Pronunciation, Challenges of teaching Non-Latin script languages online, Virtual Milling Activities, Google Docs, Online Assessment, and Using Wikitools in the Classroom. Detailed notes of all Unconference sessions, including linked resources, are available on IU CLE’s website on the Online Teaching Strategies page.

• Virtual Pet Peeves Panel

The Virtual Pet Peeves Panel was a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, July 15, featuring a panel of guest experts who discussed and answered questions from audience members about common pet peeves in online language instruction, along with offering suggested alternatives and intervention strategies. This session was moderator by IU’s experienced online language instructor and Senior Lecturer of Czech, Jeff Holdeman and included panel members from a variety of IU’s language departments, including Iman Alramadan (Arabic), Yingling Bao (Chinese), Beatrix Burghardt (ESL), Betty Dlamini (Zulu), Piibi-Kai Kivik (Estonian), and Karolina Serafin (Italian). A full-recording of the event, as well as a detailed summary, is available on CLE’s website on the Online Teaching Strategies page.

• IU Language Community Micro-Teaching Mini-Conference

The IU Language Community Micro-Teaching Mini-Conference, held on Thursday, August 13, featured six presentations on applicable teaching tools and strategies for online language teaching. The two sessions focused on methodology/pedagogical strategies were Alternative assessment options: formative assessment for language learning and teaching (Umida Khikmatillaeva), Performative Teaching Online: hotseating and discussions in role (Susanne Even); the three sessions focused on demonstration of tools were Creating a Google Site for Language Learning Portfolio (Xiaojing Kou), Peardeck: An interactive companion tool for Google Slides (Dinara Abakirova), and Padlet: an interactive and collaborative tool (Dinara Abakirova); and the session focused on student engagement and/or classroom management was Bitmoji Conversation Hour (Amber Kennedy Kent). A full-recording of the event, as well as linked resources, is available on CLE’s website on the Online Teaching Strategies page.

• Interactive Workshop for Online Language Teaching

The Interactive Workshop for Online Language Teaching, held on Friday, August 14, was an interactive workshop where participants were able to practice accessing and testing features of several online tools, including Canvas, VoiceThread, Google Sites, and Google Slides, with their peers before attempting to use them in their language classrooms. Participants were free to move back and forth between the breakout rooms as needed to learn about and test out the tools.

• Google Slides for Beginners

Google Slides for Beginners, held on Friday, Sept 11, taught language instructors how to use Google Slides to enhance both their synchronous and asynchronous lesson plans. Workshop participants learned how to access slides, create a simple presentation using text, images, and multimedia, present, and publish their presentations. Click here to view a slideshow of the presentation.

• The Pedagogy of Podcasts

The Pedagogy of Podcasts, held on Thursday, October 1, provided a brief overview of the history of podcasting, including recent listening trends, followed by a list of recommended technological tools and free or low-cost resources needed for creating a podcast. Then participants learned about the common podcast format types and the pedagogical implications for incorporating podcasts based on the different format types. Finally, workshops participants reviewed lesson ideas and classroom assignment examples based on learner as either creator or consumer of podcast content. Watch the recording of the presentation here.

• Creating Animated Instructional Videos and Presentations with PowToon

Creating Animated Instructional Videos and Presentations with PowToon was held on Thursday, November 20. This workshop introduced language instructors to PowToon, a web-based platform for creating dynamic, animated instructional videos and presentations for adding interest and variety to online classrooms via three easy steps: writing a script, recording a voiceover, and adding visuals. Participants watched some sample instructional videos created using the platform and brainstormed some pedagogically effective ways to use PowToon in the language learning classroom, then worked collaboratively to create a short, animated video.

Director's Note
Oner Ozcelik Dr. Öner Özçelik

Whew! What a semester! We hope that you and yours have been doing well and able to stay healthy, despite the difficulties posed by the current pandemic.

Here at CeLCAR, we’ve been able to stay busy. Our new normal is to work from home, for the most part, and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what we’ve been able to accomplish while doing so. We have some exciting projects in the work, and we hope that you enjoy reading a bit about them.

Read on!

On the Silk Road with CeLCAR
Podcast Logo

In 2019, CeLCAR debuted our new educational podcast, On the Silk Road with CeLCAR, which bring guests from different parts of Central Asian to talk about the people, the culture, and of course the languages of their country! We have already published over 20 episodes. You can check them out now on major podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Subscribe now and be notified of upcoming episodes on LCTLs from in and around Central Asian, such as Karakalpak, Tatar, Gilaki, and Chuvash.

Spotlight On Various Languages and Cultures of Central Asia
Afghan family

Pashto (Afghanistan), from Rahman Arman:
مور په یو لاس زانګو، او په بل لاس نړۍ زنګوي.
Mor pǝ yaw lās zāngo, aw pǝ bǝl lās naṛǝy zangawi.
A mother rocks the cradle with one hand, and the world with the other hand.

Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzstan), from Dinara Abakirova:
Ааламдын көркүн көз ачат, адамдын көөнүн сөз ачат.
Eye opens the beauty of the world,
Word opens the soul of a person.

First part: Whatever you see around depends on your view. Anything can be seen beautiful if you want to see it that way.

Second part: You can make people happy with your words. Also, words can help you reach to other people's inner world and understand them better.

Id Kah mosque

Uyghur (China, Province of Xinjiang), from Gulnisa Nazarova:
Id Kah mosque, the symbol of Kashgar, an ancient city of the Uyghur region. (Picture by Gulnisa Nazarova.)

Id Kah mosque

Uyghur potter, who makes clay pottery. Making pottery is one of the most important handicrafts in Uyghur culture. (Picture by Gulnisa Nazarova.)

Id Kah mosque

The famous Khoten thin nan bread made in a tandoor. Nan is the first and the most important food on the table. (Picture by Gulnisa Nazarova.)

Registan Square in Samarkand

Uzbek (Uzbekistan), from Malik Hodjaev:
Registan Square in Samarkand, which is the symbol of Uzbekistan. (Picture by Malik Hodjaev.)

Registan Square in Samarkand

Uzbek palov (above) and proverb (below): Pulingdan bir tanga qolsa ham - palov ye.
If you have your last money - eat plov.
Kuningdan bir kun qolsa ham – palov ye.
If it is your last day (in this world) - eat plov.

Su’khbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar

Mongolian (Mongolia), from Tserenchunt Ledgen:
Su’khbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (Picture by Damdinjav Nyamdaa.)

Monument of Chinggis Khaan

Monument of Chinggis Khaan. (Picture by Damdinjav Nyamdaa.)

Camels in Mongolian highlands

Camels in Mongolian highlands. (Picture by Damdinjav Nyamdaa.)

Айвал бүү хий, хийвэл бүү ай.
ᠠᠶᠤᠪᠠᠯ ᠪᠤᠤ ᠬᠡᠢ᠂ ᠬᠢᠪᠡᠯ ᠪᠤᠤ ᠠᠶᠤ᠃
Aiwal büü khii, khiiwel büü​ ​ai!
Don’t do it if you fear; don’t fear if you do it.

Усыг нь уувал ёсыг нь дага.
ᠤᠰᠤ ᠶᠢ ᠨᠢ ᠤᠤᠭᠤᠪᠠᠯ ᠶᠣᠰᠣ ᠶᠢ ᠨᠢ ᠳᠠᠭ᠎ᠠ᠃
Usiig ni uuwal, yosiig ni daga.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Өргүй бол баян, өвчингүй бол жаргал.
ᠥᠷᠢ ᠦᠭᠡᠢ ᠪᠣᠯ ᠪᠠᠶᠠᠨ᠂ ᠡᠪᠡᠳᠴᠢᠨ ᠦᠭᠡᠢ ᠪᠣᠯ ᠵᠢᠷᠭᠠᠯ᠃
Ӧrgüi bol bayan, ӧwchingüi bol jargal.
To be without debt is to be rich; to be healthy is to be joyful.

Registan Square in Samarkand

Turkmen (Turkmenistan), from Jennet Babayeva and Maksat Babayev:
Turkmen bride.

Registan Square in Samarkand

Turkmen bride in national clothing.

Registan Square in Samarkand

Turkmen bride and groom

Dil baýlygy –il baýlygy.
(The richness of language is the wealth of the nation)

Adam –bagdyr, zähmet –bagbandyr.
(The person is a tree and their hard work is a gardener)

Phrase, “Happy New Year”, in a number of Central Asian languages:

Farsi and Dari:
سال نو تان مبارک!
Sāle naw-e tān mobārak!

نوی کال مو مبارک شه!
Naway kāl mo mobārak ša!

يېڭى يىلىڭىزغا مۇبارەك بولسۇن!
Yengi yilingizgha mubarek bolsun!

Yeni iliniz mübarək!

Жаңа жыл қүтты болсын!
Zhanga zhyl qütty bolsyn!

Шинэ жилийн мэнд хүргэе!
Shine jiliin mend khürgeye!

Соли Нав Муборак!
Soli nav muborak!

Täze ýylyňyz gutly bolsun!
Tazz-eh yilingiz goot-li bowl-soon!

Yangi yilingiz bilan tabriklaymiz!

Yeni yılınız kutlu olsun!

Mission Statement

CeLCAR is dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of the languages and cultures of Central Asia through the development of language learning materials (textbooks, workbooks, and multimedia resources), teacher training, distance language courses, and intensive language summer institutes. The less commonly taught languages currently being focused on at CeLCAR are Dari, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Pashto, Tajiki, Turkmen, Uyghur, and Uzbek.

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Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region
1900 E 10th Street | Eigenmann Hall 238 | Bloomington, Indiana 47406