GREAL Alumni Newsletter - May 2011

Volume 11, No. 2


Dear Alums,  Miami, along with other universities, is recognizing the growing importance to our students' future of not only the old favorites among languages, but also non-western languages. GREAL, with its eight languages, is especially well positioned to fill the need for skills in more than just one or two languages! For example, see our new Arabic language minor.

-- Margaret Ziolkowski Chair, GREAL


Language, Literature, Culture

Since it was first offered to Miami students in 2003, Arabic language studies have been increasingly popular. Now learners of Arabic will have an opportunity to earn a minor in Arabic, supplementing language with study of the culture, political issues, history, and geography of the Arabic-speaking world.

The new Arabic minor has gone through a lengthy approval process in the Department of GREAL, the College of Arts and Science, and University Senate. It will supplement the current Miami Plan Thematic Sequence in Arabic language.

The new minor will help to meet the need in American society for knowledge of Arabic language and culture, as well as to build students' capacity for both local and international civic engagement, said Dr. Elizabeth Bergman, Assistant Professor of Arabic and director of the Arabic program.

Miami regularly hosts regional meetings, and is represented at national meetings of the student Model Arab League, sessions of political and economic negotiations modeled on those of the Arab League.

Miami's Arabic teaching staff includes Dr. Bergman, Mr. Saleh Yousef, and Ms. Saeda Abu Attiyeh. Dr. Bergman holds the Ph.D. in Arabic from the University of Michigan; all three have taught all levels of Arabic at a variety of institutions.


Dr. Mieko Ono (Japanese), Dr. Elizabeth Bergman (Arabic), Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky (Russian); Dr. Jacqueline Vansant, formerly of Miami's German section, now at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, spoke at Miami on Americans and Austrians in Hollywood films.

At Farewell Reception for departing Chinese Instructors Jie Lin and Suyan Zhang, who are going home to China. Attending were Dr. Liang Shi (Chinese), Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski (Russian); Ms. Lolita Holmes (GREAL Office Manager), Dr. Quanyu Huang (Confucius Institute).


When Dr. Sanders joined GREAL in 1976, she did not dream that one of her books would one day be praised by The Economist as "an enjoyable yet still-scholarly read for the historian, linguist and Germanophile alike." The book, German: Biography of a Language, was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press and is already in its fourth printing. Now after 35 years of dedicated teaching and research at Miami, Dr. Sanders is retiring as a best-selling author.

Those who had followed Dr. Sanders' s career found this no surprise. She started writing professionally first as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press and for GQ Magazine in New York.

After earning a Ph.D. from SUNY -Stony Brook, she taught at Miami at all levels of German language and literature. Her research focused on computational linguistics and linguistic pragmatics. Her teaching constantly explored new territories, new techniques of teaching, new themes; and these, in turn, were reflected in her research.

In fact, it was the GER 471 capstone course, one of her favorites, developed and taught by her, that inspired her to write a history of the German language.

Dr. Sanders will miss teaching , but she also has ambitious plans for a new book, a 'sequel' with a larger scope: a history of the Scandinavian languages. She will work on the new project in Germany and Scandinavia. We wish her happy travels and happy writing! =Mila Ganeva


Xiao Liu (German, M.A. 91) works and lives in China with his wife, Irene, and daughter, Renee, 9.

Chip Gianakos (German 92) Reports fond memories of German studies. He lived and worked in Frankfurt with wife Anna and son in 2002. Melanie Miller (German 02) completed both an M.A. in German from Bowling Green, and a nursing B.S.

Jonathan D. Bobak (German 07) was promoted to Lieutenant, jg, U.S. Navy, after completing Officers Candidate School in San Diego, and assigned aboard the USS BoxerLHD 4.

The Hon. H.J. (Joe) Bressler (Russian and German 64) retired from the first District Court of Appeals in Butler County. He thinks he and Brook Anderson were the first two Russian majors! Mary Broussard (German 02), reports the birth of a son, Patrick, in July 2010.


We received a gratifying 'bump' in contributions from you to our gift fund, which supports extras and study abroad and graduating seniors Awards Day. You may give to the "GREAL Gift Fund" at the M.U. Office of Development, 725 E. Chestnut, Oxford, OH 45056. Or go to: givetoMU. Click on 'Other' and 'GREAL'.


Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky will deliver lectures at Cambridge (England) and Humboldt (Germany) Universities and will lead a Havighurst Center study trip to Ukraine.

Dr. Noriko Reider (Japanese) will be writing two articles: 1) an earth spider as a killer female shape-shifter; and 2) a brief history of the Japanese tea ceremony and its reception.

Dr. Shi Liang (Chinese) will direct Miami's summer program in Tianjin, China

Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe (Russian) will use a Philip and Elaina Hampton Award to research and do interviews in Moscow for his co-authored book on author Liudmila Ulitskaia.

Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski (Russian) will be working on writing projects and taking a short trip (for fun!) to Colorado.

Dr. Qinna Shen (German) will teach a summer course and with my co-editor complete an anthology on German encounters with East Asia.

Dr. Mieko Ono (Japanese) will research on the speaker-hearer relation schema in Japanese.

Dr. Mila Ganeva (German) has a fellowship to work in Vienna on her book on post-war fashion.