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Got a week? Learn a foreign language at MTSU this summer

There’s still time to learn to converse in a foreign language in only a week this summer through fun courses again offered at Middle Tennessee State University.

Registration is open now for the 13th annual Summer Language Institute. The classes are taught by MTSU’s Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition, or CALA, which is the language-training center of the MTSU Honors College.

This year’s institute offers five-day accelerated language courses for residents age 13 and up in Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, and Tamil, a popular language in India. The courses target those new to a language or those wanting to sharpen their current foreign language skills.

Courses are offered periodically now through mid-August. For a full schedule, costs, registration and to view a video, go to www.mtsu.edu/cala and click on the “See Our Classes” button.

In this 2015 file photo, Dr. Shelley Thomas, kneeling at bottom left, an associate professor of foreign language and founder and director of the MTSU Summer Language Institute, poses for a photo with students learning Chinese through the use of props and role-playing during the accelerated five-day language course. (Courtesy of the MTSU Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

In this 2015 file photo, Dr. Shelley Thomas, kneeling at bottom left, an associate professor of foreign language and founder and director of the MTSU Summer Language Institute, poses for a photo with students learning Chinese through the use of props and role-playing during the accelerated five-day language course. (Courtesy of the MTSU Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

Classes are held in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. A searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

CALA has spent more than a decade researching how the brain learns language best with the experts in the field of psychology and brain research, according to Dr. Shelley Thomas, a professor of foreign language and founder and director of the institute.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the 2016 Summer Language Institute.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the 2016 Summer Language Institute.

Research shows the best way to learn a language is the same way you learned your native language — with lots of hands-on methods that are enjoyable and take place in a fun, low-stress atmosphere using movement, songs, games and stories.

Thomas noted that while the institute frequently teaches students who are “completely new” to a language, some beginning students who go through two of the five-day courses “have tested out of anywhere from one to four semesters of college-level language classes” on MTSU’s foreign language placement test.

One student was so impressed with the results and affordable costs, he actually took three different languages in one summer, she said.

“The classes are fun and effective, so students are highly motivated to continue their language study,” Thomas said.

For more information, visit www.mtsu.edu/cala.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

In this 2015 file photo, students taking the five-day Spanish course in the MTSU Summer Language Institute do a fun role-playing exercise to help them learn the language. Spanish classes are being offered again for this year's institute. (Courtesy of the MTSU Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

In this 2015 file photo, students taking the five-day Spanish course in the MTSU Summer Language Institute do a fun role-playing exercise to help them learn the language. Spanish classes are being offered again for this year’s institute. (Courtesy of the MTSU Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

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