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Did You Know We Offer Language Courses Online?

Students interested in learning elementary Japanese or Chinese have the option to take classes from home or on the go thanks to online course offerings from the Department of World Languages.
These latest courses raise the number of online language options to five: American Sign Language, Bosnian, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

Spanish professor Kim Harris said the online option allows students to pace themselves according to their individual schedules and fit in homework when it is convenient. Students use Skype or Blackboard Collaborate to participate in conversation labs and study session webinars from any location, as well as to ask questions and receive one-on-one feedback from the instructor.

“Class sizes are smaller than the face-to-face equivalent courses and students receive ample instruction and guidance,” Harris said. “And they can pose questions any time, day or night, and receive a response within 24 hours.”

The online format also lends itself well to multimedia learning materials, user-friendly apps and websites that support language learning.

Online language courses satisfy requirements for the University Foundations literature and humanities disciplinary lens.

To register for any of the online language courses available from the Department of World Languages, go to or contact the eCampus Center at for more information.

Jason Herbeck Writes Afterword for University of Virginia Press Publication

Photo of Jason Herbeck

Jason Herbeck

Professor of French
Department of World Languages
College of Arts and Sciences

Photo of Memory at Bay CoverJason Herbeck wrote the afterword to the University of Virginia Press’s publication of Haitian writer Évelyne Trouillot’s novel “Memory at Bay (“La mémoire aux abois”). Translated by Paul Curtis Daw, it is the winner of the prestigious Prix Carbet. In his essay, Herbeck contextualizes the violently oppressive Duvalier era (1957-1986) during which François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, ruled Haiti, discusses the implications of the latter’s return to Haiti from exile in 2011, examines Trouillot’s collective works and life, provides a synopsis of the corpus of Haitian writing that has previously addressed the years of the dictatorship and, in a section titled “The Constraints of Intimacy,” offers a critical introduction to the novel itself.

As summarized on the book jacket, “Memory at Bay is an eerie dual narrative that “introduces us to a bedridden widow of a notorious dictator (in effect, a portrait of Papa Doc Duvalier) and the young émigré who attends to her needs but who harbors a secret—the bitter loss she feels for her mother, a victim of the dictator’s atrocities. The story that unfolds is a deftly plotted psychological drama in which the two women in turn relive their radically contrasting accounts of the dictator’s regime. Partly a retelling of Haiti’s nightmarish history under Duvalier, and partly an exploration of the power of memory, Trouillot’s novel takes a suspenseful turn when the aide contemplates murdering the old widow.”


Tetsuya Ehara Quoted in Idaho Statesman Story

Tetsuya Ehara

Tetsuya Ehara

Lecturer of Japanese
Department of World Languages
College of Arts and Sciences

Tetsuya Ehara was quoted in an Idaho Statesman story about football player Holden Huff’s recent trip to Japan. Huff, who is studying the Japanese language, visited Hosei University, Boise State’s sister school, and completed some community service with young children. Ehara coordinated the visit and also connected Huff with the Hosei football coaches when they were in town this past spring. Read more here.

Watch a video about Boise State’s connection with Hosei University’s football program here:

Nere Lete Interviewed in Basque Studies News Segment for KIVI TV

Lete Nere Studio portraitNere Lete

Associate Professor of Basque
Department of World Languages
College of Arts and Sciences

Nere Lete was interviewed in a news segment titled “Boise State Basque Studies Program Keeps Culture Alive” on KIVI TV. Watch it here.

Heike Henderson Presents Paper at the European Popular Culture Association Conference in Berlin, Germany

Heike HendersonHeike Henderson

Professor of German
Department of World Languages
College of Arts and Sciences

Heike Henderson presented a paper at the European Popular Culture Association Conference in Berlin, Germany. Her presentation was titled “Gourmet Cuisine with a Side of Murder.”

Nere Lete Publishes Translation of Basque Short Story in Exchanges

Lete NereNere Lete, associate professor of Basque in the Department of World Languages recently published the translation of a short story by Basque writer Uxue Alberdi titled “Simmering” in the University of Iowa’s online translation journal Exchanges. Read the translation here.

Where in the World? Spanish Instructor Izaskun Kortazar Teaching Basque in Brazil

Izaskun Kortazar currently is teaching Basque language and culture as a volunteer in Brazil. She is a Spanish language lecturer in the Department of World Languages and also teaches Basque culture workshops for Boise State’s Basque Studies program.

IzaskunKortazarKortazar is teaching at the Basque Centers of Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Pelotas. Classes focus on basic conversation so that Basque Brazilians, mostly fourth- and fifth-generation who have lost the language through the centuries, can learn the basics of their ancestry and create a connection with their relatives in the Basque Country and with Basques of the Diaspora. The classes started on May 9 and will finish at the end of the month.

Her classes include a presentation on the recovery of the Basque language. She also gave a presentation on Basque culture to an English-language cultural group in Porto Alegre, formed by English teacher Claudia Etchepare.

The Basque Brazilians created a Basque cultural association a few years ago. They have formed a network among several areas where Basque live with a common goal of recovering their Basque culture and ancestry and working on the history of their emigration to Brazil.

A grant from the University Studies Abroad Consortium last summer prepared Kortazar for the experience by allowing her to study Portuguese in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Sao Paulo


Porto Alegre




Boise State Students Visit the Idaho State Correctional Center as Part of Their Service Learning Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition Class

From left to right:  Priscilla Stone (teacher at the ISCC), Izaskun Kortazar (BSU Spanish lecturer), Guadalupe Fonseca,  Rosalba Loera, Maddie Cullen and Isaac Helton (BSU students).

From left to right: Priscilla Stone (teacher at the ISCC), Izaskun Kortazar (BSU Spanish lecturer), Guadalupe Fonseca,
Rosalba Loera, Maddie Cullen and Isaac Helton (BSU students).

by Izaskun Kortazar
Lecturer of Spanish Advanced Conversation and Composition at BSU

The Boise State Advanced Spanish and Conversation students visited the Idaho State Correctional Center last Thursday April 9th, 2015 in order to learn about the education programs that take place there and also to meet the prisoners who worked on their Service Learning project.

BSU students translated letters written by Hispanic inmates so they can be published in English on the American Prison Writing Archive webpage, a project initiated by Professor Doran Larsen who has already published a book with the writings of incarcerated people. The book is called Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America. The American Prison Writing Archive webpage allows researchers and citizens the opportunity to take an inside look into the reality of the incarceration system in the Unites States. The goal of the project is to challenge common stereotypes and allow researchers, lawmakers, and legal advocates the ability to make more informed decisions about the prison system.

Students learned about an accredited industry-based education program that provides inmates a variety of job skills so when they leave the prison, they will have less difficulty finding employment in trade industries. Inmates also receive help creating a resume and learning about job interview skills.

Nicole Dewey, Alejandro Hortet, Connor Skibeness. Behind on the right corner: John Stull

Nicole Dewey, Alejandro Hortet, Connor Skibeness. Behind on the right corner: John Stull

Students also visited the library where they have 16,000 books (mostly donated from libraries and schools). However, the librarian let us know they were lacking language books. That is why the department of World Languages donated books in several languages to the correctional institution.

In addition to the trade program, inmates can attend English language classes in order to attend general education classes in English. These classes go from primary school to the GED diploma. (The Pell Grant program that allowed inmates to study at the University level was banned in 1994 with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act). In these classes, the teachers train more proficient inmates to help less proficient inmates and that way they get one-to-one instruction and practice. From what I observed, they were very dedicated tutors committed to the success of the program.

Two of the students, Ashley Potzernitz and John Stull also received the ¨Best of Show¨ award for their reflections about this experience at the BSU Service Learning Faculty/Community Partner Mixer.

Izaskun Kortazar received the Outstanding Faculty Award for this project.

I would like to end with a reflection of a BSU student and a ISCC student:

I would admit that I fell into the stereotypical mindset that people in prison are somehow different from other people who populate society, that the majority of them are probably reckless and dangerous criminals. My experience with Service Learning has shown me how wrong I was. Something about translating the exact words of fellow human beings breaking a cultural and societal barrier by relying their thoughts and struggles in another language, has proven to be quite enlightening. I am grateful to have the opportunity to help speak for others who are in need of a voice. Not only has it helped me improve my Spanish skills but it has shaped my mindset and challenged stereotypes. It has given me a new lens to view the situation through.

At the beginning of this course I had a very limited knowledge of the prison system in the USA and therefore I did not really have any grounds to form an opinion on; nor did I have any ideas for how to improve their circumstances.

Now that I have translated letters and learned more about what Service Learning really is, I feel that education is really the key to better the lives of those in prison who really do want another chance in life and who simply made mistakes.   By Nicole Dewey, Spanish 303, BSU


Left to right: Izaskun Kortazar and Guadalupe Fonseca.

Left to right: Izaskun Kortazar and Guadalupe Fonseca.

Left to right: Miguel Juárez and Ashley Potzernitz

Left to right: Miguel Juárez and Ashley Potzernitz


Left to right: David Mehlhaff (ISCC Education Program Manager), Izaskun Kortazar (Spanish Lecturer at BSU), Priscilla Stone (English teacher at the ISCC). At the back: Mike Stefancic (Service Learning Coordinator at BSU)


From left to right: Izaskun Kortazar and Ashley Potzernitz (Best of Show Poster)


From left to right: Izaskun Kortazar and John Stull



Spanish Internship Opportunity!

The Idaho Youth Ranch is looking for a Spanish student intern to translate their intake forms (Eng >Span) that they use for their programs and services. The student must have upper-division standing, and have successfully taken Spanish 412 Advanced Grammar and Syntax. All the work will be done via email, and Prof. Fatima Cornwall will be supervising the translations. One credit of Spanish 494.

If interested, please contact Fatima Cornwall  at

Fatima Cornwall’s SPAN 381 Court Interpreting Students Participate in Q & A Panel

A panel of local federal and state certified interpreters, defense attorney and Court of Appeals judge attended the Department of World Languages Spanish 381 Introduction to Court Interpretation class for a Q&A session with the students. The members of the panel were, in alphabetical order, Diana Arbiser, Sandra Barrios, Vanesa Bell, Mark Conta, Susan Evans, Hon. Sergio Gutierrez, and Michael Lojek. Throughout the semester all the students were required to observe these interpreters during courtroom proceedings, both in Canyon County as well as Ada County, and even at the US Courts –District of Idaho.

The panel shared information regarding court certification in Idaho, the shortage of certified interpreters in the state, best practices on working with interpreters, and the importance of court interpreters in the administration of justice.

COAS Dean Dr. Tony Roark, COAS Associate-Dean Dr. Leslie Durham, and Department of World Languages Chair Dr. Adrian Kane were present at the event to join the instructor Fatima Cornwall and the class in celebrating the selection of Hon. Sergio Gutierrez, Idaho Court of Appeals judge, as one of Job Corps’ 10 Graduate Heroes in honor of the program’s 50th anniversary.

Fatima Cornwall, Department of World languages, teaches the class every spring. She is also a state certified court interpreter in Portuguese and Spanish, as well as a federal certified court interpreter.

To learn more about court interpretation in Idaho, please visit the Idaho Supreme Court page at

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