The Department of European and Oriental Languages, Makerere University has launched a new book on foreign languages. The book titled, “Foreign Languages: Lessons from the Past and Innovations for the Future” delves into topics that challenge the teaching and learning content, applicable skills, pedagogy and the functionality of Foreign Languages at the secondary and tertiary levels of education. Using a practitioner’s perspective, it analyses aspects of grammar, lexicology, morphology and material sources as an entry point to learner centred teaching. It discusses professionalism in the languages, the intricacies of translating from foreign to local languages, semiotic equivalence across cultures and intercultural communication skills. Basing on empirical data, it traces the history of foreign language education in Uganda, literacy’s facilitation of language acquisition, current institutional/structural challenges, to propose effective solutions. It propounds the functionality of foreign languages: making a link between foreign language learning and the acquisition intercultural competencies, marketing capacity and international business.
Most importantly, the book, transforms abstract knowledge of foreign language teaching into experiential learning that can help to practically frame teaching messages and harness the learning environment to cause pedagogical change. It is that spotting of innovations for the future for better communication, translation, interaction and transaction, which makes Foreign Languages: Lessons from the Past and Innovations for the future extremely instructive; an inspirational testimony of practitioners who preach what they teach.
The main authors of the book are Dr Edith Natukunda – Togboa, Head Department of European and Oriental Languages and Dr Enoch Sebuyungo, Coordinator, Centre for Language and Communication Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The co-authors include Mr Samuel Wandera, Dr Gulere Wambi Cornelius, Ms. Margret Nanfuka Mbalule and Dr. Idris Muhamad Osman from Makerere University and Dr. Victoria Namuruho Bakurumpagi and Assoc. Prof. Ogavu Titus (RIP) from Kyambogo University.
The book was officially launched by the Ambassador of Italy to Uganda, H.E. Domenico Fornara, at a colourful ceremony held in Senate Upper Conference Hall on 28th February, 2017. The ceremony was presided over by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Assoc. Prof. Ernest Okello Ogwang, and attended by ambassadors and representatives from the Italian, Sudan, French, Germany and Spanish Embassies.
Giving insights into its genesis, Dr Natukunda said the book was a product of the 2014 conference held by the Department of European and Oriental Languages to celebrate 50 years of foreign language teaching in Uganda. She compared the process of producing the book to the process of nurturing a pregnancy and giving birth saying it caused a lot of anxiety and stress. “It has been a journey of uncertainty, anxiety, stress and excitement. From the original 38 presentations, only 17 made it to become chapters in the book. Some never went beyond abstracts and full papers, and others fell off on second review. We could not also raise the funds required for reviewers with Cambridge Scholars International but were excited to find an African sensitive publisher – Nsemia Inc. Publishers to take on the role of the midwife for our book. Today, together with the Nsemia team, we are excited to witness the safe delivery of a collaborative effort of scholars from Uganda, Kenya, France and Thailand. We are happy to be celebrating academic productivity and setting the pace as Makerere University for others to follow in terms of research. We sincerely thank Nsemia Inc. Publishers for having accompanied us in this journey,” she said.
Dr Natukunda expressed gratitude to all those who supported the process of publishing the book, especially the French, Arabic and Germany embassies in Uganda and her husband, Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa and daughter Clara Amaguru. She particularly thanked the Italian Embassy in Uganda for the support rendered towards the launch of the book.
Presenting its structure, Dr Sebuyungo said the book highlights the need for a language policy that promotes the teaching and learning of foreign languages. He also noted that the book emphasizes the need for intercultural training of foreign language teachers so as to enhance the intercultural competence of learners.
In his remarks, the discussant, Prof Oswald Ndoleriire, said the book was generally of very good quality, well researched and documented and making use of theoretical tools that have withstood the test of time. “What was even more gratifying for me is that practically all the writers were using, at least in part, their day to day experience in language teaching. I found the articles interesting not only because of the thoroughness and painstaking research manifested in many of them but also the relevance and realistic nature of what was presented,” he said.
The Dean, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, congratulated the leadership and staff of the Department of European and Oriental Languages upon the ‘important achievement’ noting that publishing is a hallmark of knowledge generation and is gratifying. Emphasizing the importance of languages, Dr Mushengyezi thanked the embassies for their unconditional support towards the teaching and learning of foreign languages at Makerere University.
The ambassadors and representatives from embassies pledged more support towards the teaching and learning of languages at Makerere University.
At the same occasion, about 40 students who had completed short courses in French, Spanish and Italian were awarded certificates.
The event featured exciting performances of poetry and music by students of foreign languages.
For details on the book, please contact Dr Edith Natukunda - email: firstname.lastname@example.org