Monthly Archives: July 2008

Yo Soy Bilangue!

I am always jealous of people who are bilingual. Or trilingual. Or multilingual.

And you should be jealous of them, too. Here are the top five reasons why.

Number one, they are smarter than people who don’t speak a second language. Well, at least, they use more of their brains in a more synthesized manner than mere “monolinguals”.

Number two, they are actually in the MAJORITY worldwide. So anyone who doesn’t speak more than one language? Not keeping up with the rest of the world, I’m afraid, most of whom who can switch back and forth between languages without blinking an eye.

Number three, when they don’t want you to know what they are talking about, they just switch off to rapidly speaking in a different language and you are left without a clue. Are they saying things that are nice? Mean? Indifferent? Making fun of you because you have black ink smudged all over your face? Who can say?

Number four, they look much more cosmopolitan than you do when they break out a book written in another language while travelling by plane, train, or automobile.

Number five, they have a world of opportunities available to them, and some of these are pretty glamorous, like being translators or foreign diplomats. Or spies.

So. Bottom line. Declaring a major in French/Spanish (or any other language, for that matter, except maybe Latin – NO OFFENCE TO MY LATIN PROF, WHO ROCKED) is a very good decision because it is very useful to know another language.

If you want to declare a major in French or Spanish, you are in for more than just grammar and pronunciation classes. You may take classes in literature, film, culture and other topics related to the language you are learning. Perhaps you will take a French class in university on Women Writers from the French-Colonized Islands, or French Canadian Language, Literature, and Film. You might take a Spanish class like Contemporary Hispanic Cultures or Hispanic Cinema or even Spanish Literature and Culture from the 18th Century to the Spanish Civil War.

And don’t forget about classes that teach you how to do translations. Way beyond conjugating “faire” and “avoir” or “ser” and “estar”.

For more information on a French/Spanish major and how to get started on one at Red Deer College, visit or call (403) 342.3304 or email

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To Be or Not To Be An English Major.

That is the question.

Excuse the Shakespeare joke. Predictable, sure. But isn’t that what English is all about? Shakespeare?

The answer is, umm, no. English majors are a varied bunch. Some are wordcrafters, in it for the creative writing of poetry, short stories, non-fiction, fiction and everything in between.

Others are readers with a wide range of different fascinations – Middle English literature or science fiction; detective fiction or modern women writers of South America; Shakespeare or writing from the Southern U.S. They want to know how to take an author’s work apart, analyze it, theorize on it, and synthesize it in with a range of other works.

Still others are interested by the history of English literature, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Joyce Carol Oates. Others prefer literary theory to look at the bigger picture of how writing works.

In any case, English is not for the faint of heart. Think it’s easy to lie on the couch all evening reading a good book?

OK, maybe it is. But thinking critically about that good book takes a sharp mind, a keen sense of observation, an ability to analyze well, and a flair for words to respond with. And let’s face it, not everybody has those goods.

English majors do, though. And they get to practice their skills in classes with some pretty varied topics. Here is just an example of English classes offered at RDC:

Folklore in Children’s Literature
Traditions in English Poetry
The Short Story
Canadian Multicultural Literature
Science Fiction
Gothic Poetics of South Asian Indian Women Writers
Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction OR Poetry

If those classes sound interesting to you, the choice To Be an English Major may just be the right one.

Don’t Forget The U of C Collaborative Degree Program!
A great thing about doing an English degree at Red Deer College is that you don’t have to transfer after two years if you don’t want to. You can stay on at the RDC campus and apply to the University of Calgary Collaborative Degree program. This means you are a U of C student in every way, but you attend classes at RDC. Instructors from the U of C come up to teach senior-level classes and when you are finished, you have the same degree as a student who spent all four years (and much more money!) at the U of C.

Sweet deal! For information on the collaborative degree program, visit or call Jen at 403.342.3313 or Alison at 403.357.3674.

If you’re interested in just getting started at RDC, check out or call 403.342.3304 or email for more information.


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See You In Two Weeks

I will be back in two weeks to continue the series on Bachelor of Arts majors.

See you then!

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