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(July 2008) Students are completing the first semester of the 2008 Curso Internacional de Lingüística, Traducción y Alfabetización* (CILTA) on 11 July. This is the sixth year this course has been offered at the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru. Ten students from various countries in Latin America—Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru—are enrolled in this two-semester program designed to offer cross-cultural instruction for those involved in language development.
Dr. Wes Collins, SIL linguist and CILTA director, introduces the phonology course.
"I never realized I could learn so much about other languages—their structure, sounds, meanings, etc.—and even more, that I would come to respect these languages and realize that none is better than any other," said Xinia Herrera, from Costa Rica.
The first semester introduces linguistics topics: phonology, morphology-syntax, semantics-pragmatics and sociolinguistics. The second semester, from 18 August until 17 December, has two tracks, translation and literacy.
The translation track goes further into linguistics and its application to translation, and leads to a Diploma or Certificate in Linguistics and Translation. The literacy track deals with literacy, particularly its introduction to preliterate societies, and leads to a Diploma or Certificate in Linguistics and Literacy.
Dr. Mario Mejía with Modern Languages—the University's host department—speaks with SIL's Abe Koop.
"My wife and I," writes Gilmar Rivas, from Peru, "consider being at CILTA a blessing because it is giving us the tools we need to better understand what it will take to make contact with an indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon. CILTA has also opened our eyes to the value and importance of literacy within a total context of concern and development. The analytical part of CILTA is also very helpful since we plan to live among a group that has very little exposure to the outside world and no written word at all. The learning at CILTA is integrated. Not only has the academic part enriched my life, but the human and spiritual parts of the experience as well have been a blessing. I know now that I definitely [will] work in areas where they don't speak my native language. I've needed CILTA training in order to do my work with excellence, and here I'm getting what I will need."
CILTA students visit after classes. Ten students enrolled this semester.
"I've been able to learn academically by learning new things and new skills," said Jenny Mena, from Costa Rica. "I've grown socially as well, as I live and study with people from various nationalities and different cultural backgrounds."
The annual CILTA program is hosted and accredited by the Ricardo Palma University and conducted by SIL. The course will be offered for the seventh year in 2009. The first semester will begin 10 March and end 18 July, and the second semester will run from 18 August until 18 December.
*International Course in Linguistics, Translation and Literacy