Welcome to the World of Languages - Your Next Adventure Awaits


Where do you want to be in the world? Wherever that place may be, we can take you there. The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures doesn't just offer foreign language courses. It offers growth, personal challenges, and life experiences. Our courses bring you inside different cultures and allow you to connect with them not just intellectually, but personally. Spanish, French, German, Russian, Czech, Chinese and Japanese are not just sets of grammar rules and vocabulary lists. They are living, breathing organisms that are essential to understanding today's global, multicultural environment. Our job is to take you on a trip around the world. Are you in?

Spotlight on Modern Languages

Dr. Abla Hasan


Hasan

A recent addition to the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Dr. Abla Hasan received her PhD in Philosophy of Language from UNL in the spring of 2013 and was shortly after hired as a Professor of Practice of Arabic Language and Culture. Dr. Hasan brings a diverse background of study in topics ranging from feminism and religious studies to second language acquisition theories. This diversity in teaching and research interests equips Hasan with the necessary skills to teach a language which many students come into with some apprehension.

Hasan understands the trepidation she sees in many of her new students. "Arabic," she says "is misunderstood to be a 'difficult language to learn.’" However, Hasan is quick to point out that "Arabic is different, not difficult." For Dr. Hasan, the best way to introduce the Arabic language to new learners is to focus on culture. In her 100-level courses, each week has a different theme, once a week a class is devoted to the discussion of cultural issues related to the week’s theme. "It makes learning more interesting," says Hasan, "and takes the focus off abstract grammar." During these cultural lessons Hasan incorporates games and guest speakers to break up the often intensive learning of Arabic grammar which can be daunting to new learners. These games, which incorporate newly acquired vocabulary and apply them to culturally significant situations, aids adult students with acquisition by applying what has been taught in a low-pressure situation.

Born and raised in the Middle East and a native Arabic speaker who learned English as an adult, Dr. Hasan empathizes with her students who are learning an entirely new language later in life. This ability to commiserate along with her background in the Philosophy of Language allows Hasan to apply recent theories in language acquisition to aid her students in her studies. Dr. Hasan has students take tests to discover their learning styles and then incorporates the results of these tests into the way she teaches her courses; a practice that Dr. Hasan says helps her "sense a way with her students." Hasan focuses on learning each student’s name as quickly as possible and treating them as persons not numbers.

As a teacher of a Less Commonly Taught Language, Hasan faces question about the validity of Arabic study and the application of Arabic acquisition. She responds that, "Arabic is now a Critical Language in the United States. The Arabic Spring brought about change in 22 countries and while the Arabic Spring brought about what we see as chaos, chaos brings a new world." Hasan sees this event not just through the lens of an Arabic educator but also with the knowledge that comes with her upbringing in the Middle East. Because of this insight Hasan notes that the "changed relationship between the Middle East and the Western World" will open up many opportunities in many different fields. Hasan believes that "opportunity comes to those prepared for it," and by learning Arabic and familiarizing themselves with cultural practices of the Arabic speaking world, her students are preparing themselves for just such an opportunity.

New Website Imminent

We will be launching a revised website shortly - stay tuned! In the meantime, we will keep information on this site up to date. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact a staff member at modlang2@unl.edu or (402) 472-3745.

Spanish Tutoring & Writing Center

The Tutoring & Writing Center collaborates with Spanish students and their instructors to help them to become better communicators in the Spanish language, with a focus on writing. Consider stopping by to sharpen your writing skills!

Department Newsletter

DMLL produces a weekly newsletter during the Academic Year. Some headlines from our latest issue are:

  • Follow-Up APR Meeting
  • Books available for only one more week in 1126
  • UNL Jewish Studies Colloquium Series
  • Department Calendar
  • Language Club Information

Fall 2014 Newsletters:

Feel free to browse through our newsletter archive below, listing newsletters dating back to Fall 2011.