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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students showcase language skills

Published: April 26, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

Even though many Brandeis students are overwhelmed with the hectic schedules that the end of the year bestow upon them, students who are in their second semester learning Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian and Russian seemed more than happy to present their projects this Thursday at the Multilingual Student Video Festival.

Each of the students groups, representing different languages, created two videos that revolved around daily situations in all of the aforementioned languages. Most of the videos were comical and left the audience high-spirited and rejuvenated.

The beginning of the event was interrupted by a technical problem, but the professors and students were happy to stage impromptu performances, singing songs in their languages, as well as teaching others basic words in the languages they represented. Having resolved the problem, Professor Dubinina of the Russian Studies Program launched the evening with a video in Chinese, featuring Aya Abdelaziz ’16 and Ben Lovenheim ’15. Aya and Ben’s Chinese language skills were impressive, given that they started studying the language only at the beginning of this school year. The video was amusing, yet involved quite complicated language and amazing performances. The story revolved around two characters: a lonely male and a girl that he is trying to charm. The first thing he asks her is, “I enjoyed our date in the library last week, do you want to go to China with me next week?”

The next in program was a German video, describing the “revenge of the Washing Machine,” followed by “Japanese Cultural Norms” and Italian “Repentaglio!” The Russian video, “Americans don’t know anything about Russians,” depicted American students living in Russia, lacking ideas about appropriate Russian conduct. They end up getting flowers for their host with very kind intentions, yet the former interprets it as an omen for death, because Russians traditionally bring flowers to funerals.

The rest of the night was full of jokes, which, thanks to the brilliant performers, were translated, and therefore the audience was able to enjoy them. The event gave students from different language programs a unique opportunity to socialize and even bolster interest for other languages that they might consider studying in the future. Some of the students already spoke three or more languages.