By Kiyanna Noel
Languages are a part of different cultures and connect people all over the world. English Language Support Therapist David Duprey held a Language Swap at James Augustus Wilson Commons room in Champlain Valley Hall to discuss how language is woven into Plattsburgh’s culture.
The event allowed faculty and students to exchange cultures and experiences through different languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Native American languages.
The hour-long event allowed people to form groups and create a space for people to share their backgrounds through games.
Each game had its own theme for people to learn how to write, speak and explore different languages. The first station had everyone use white boards to learn how to write certain names, clothing and words. The second station encouraged everyone to share experiences about questions being asked. The third game was about teaching pronunciation of specific phrases in different languages. The final station was a board game that encouraged everyone to say words in their language in order to win.
Hosting this event created a positive influence on campus for people of all backgrounds to come and share their culture.
Karin Killough, director of the Learning Center, acknowledged that in her undergraduate years at Plattsburgh, it was a good way for her to connect with people from different cultures.
“In this little community, I got to learn so many beautiful things,” Killough said.
Duprey wants this event to encourage students and faculty from different backgrounds to connect in a cohesive way.
“It is the first event that I’ve created for the university,” Duprey said. “I saw a need to bring second English language learners or just people who are learning a second language and then those who are primary English language speakers together in a non-academic setting.”
Japanese student Aoi Inagaki was told about the event by Duprey and came to further her understanding about cultures in America and to connect with American people as an international student.
“It’s really interesting because I don’t have many opportunities to talk with American people, and this is a way I can know American culture,” Inagaki said.
The different games gave opportunities for everyone to share experiences and not only learn a language, but to teach a language.
Elin O’Hara-Gonya, director of Feinberg Library, brought her 9-year-old daughter Annika who told everyone that she is learning five languages: English, French, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish.
Throughout the first game they played about saying phrases in another language, O’Hara-Gonya encouraged her daughter to practice words in Japanese, impressing native Japanese speakers.
“This opportunity is for them to share that,” Duprey said. “The idea is for them to bring multiple cultures, multiple languages, multiple age generations together and give them opportunities they may not talk about in the classroom.”
Although this is the first language swap event, Duprey hopes to make this a twice a month event at different locations around campus. For more information, email Duprey at firstname.lastname@example.org.