The Modern Linguist

Faculty Spotlight

Gregg Brekke, Assistant Professor of English for International Students

Worldviews, politics, economics, religions, interpersonal relationships and languages. From around the world, our international students bring their cultural tapestries to campus and my classroom. Now, I am helping to provide pathways for Whitworth students to travel, teach and share their cultures abroad by facilitating the new Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) minor.

Gregg BrekkeTESOL is a 16-credit program designed for students desiring to work in settings outside of the United States' K-12 public education system.

How can you use a TESOL minor? Whitworth graduates have formal and ad hoc opportunities to teach English in settings related to their majors, including in the Peace Corps, NGOs, businesses, missions, education and health care. Many overseas organizations and schools recognize the value of TESOL training and require it for their teachers.

Why study TESOL if you already speak English? Native fluency in English alone is insufficient for teaching others to listen, speak, read and write in their new language. We are oblivious to the deep structures of our language. For instance, why can we say "I put up the painting" or "I put it up," but not "I put up it"? (Answer: with a two-word verb such as put up, "it" can only be used between the two parts of the verb, not as the object after the verb.) Additionally, a training gap in lesson delivery often causes insecurity and stress for first-time teachers, and low-quality instruction for language learners. Furthermore, many myths inform language teaching and learning, creating impediments for both teachers and students. No, a serious mistake in English is not using "Can I?" instead of "May I?"

Stop by and chat with me about my overseas TESOL experiences and the new minor. You can also visit the program webpage for more information:

A View from Abroad

Donna Schrock, '17, Spanish Major

Donna Schrock

When I first started studying at Whitworth I knew that I would spend a semester studying abroad, and when it came time to decide where, Spain was my first choice. For me, studying in Spain is particularly special because my mother is Spanish, and I now have the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the culture that she grew up in, one that I had only dipped my toes in until now.

Donna Schrock

I am studying in Malaga on the Costa del Sol, and am having a great experience. The university has a great program for international students, and while it can be difficult to balance enjoying Malaga's sights and actually studying, I am thoroughly enjoying my time here! I am looking forward to the next few months and getting to know Malaga fully and the distinct Andalusian culture that surrounds me. So far I've gotten to visit Seville and Chipiona, but I am looking forward to visiting other cities such as Granada and Madrid. Donna Schrock Being here this semester has also allowed me to spend time with my family. After arriving in February I began preparing for la Carnaval de Chipiona and had the opportunity to perform with a group, To A Ultima Hora, which won seven awards, including first place overall and best costumes. (The pictures with the white costumes are from that day). In the month leading up to the parade I was able to spend every weekend in Chipiona with my large extended family, enjoying all of the events that led up to the Carnaval. Spain is such a beautiful country with amazing people and culture. I consider it such a blessing to be here for the semester and can't wait to see what the rest of my time here has in store!

Jennifer Haveman, '18, French Major

Donna Schrock

Studying abroad in France is a strange dichotomy of the hardest thing I've ever done and the best thing I've ever done. I am living in the metropolitan city of Lille, about two hours north of Paris and only 20 minutes from the Belgian border. It is this perfectly strange melting pot of French, Belgian and Flemish cultures, where everything is still closed on Sundays à la France, but Belgian beer, not wine, is the drink of choice. The location has allowed me to travel easily to London, Budapest, Paris and Copenhagen. "Doing life" in one's second language is one of the most difficult transitions, because you have to anticipate everything taking longer than you expect (but part of that is also the French bureaucratic system). Meeting other Americans from around the country and also making friends from around the world has been incredible – especially when your common language is also your second language. Donna Schrock The best thing I have learned is that my personality can be expressed through my French, and that people can get to know the "true me" even in my second language (something I doubted immensely before going abroad). The other ISEP students I have met from the United States have been my comrades in working our way through the French university system, and without each other we would not have made it through the first month. Studying abroad has taught me that it is okay and often necessary to ask for help, even when you are scared you won't be understood completely. It has also taught me to appreciate different cultural perspectives, and it has made me realize how much I adore traveling! I want to make it a part of the rest of my life – and I am only halfway done with my semester!

Hanna Gillingham, '18, International Studies – Political Science Emphasis Major

It's been nine weeks since I arrived in Derry, Northern Ireland. My time here is half over, and I can't believe how fast the time has gone! I spent the first month getting to know the city (which is fantastic), making friends, and getting used to the myriad differences between life in Derry and Spokane, Wash. Donna Schrock One surprising and quickly obvious difference is how environmentally aware people are here. All of the outlets can be turned on and off to reduce ghost energy loss; plastic bags at the grocery stores are an additional cost; the lights over the bookshelves in the library are on timers and dim after a while; and paper towels are a rarity. A related situation is that food has less preservatives (and therefore goes bad faster), and is more local. All of the milk is from Northern Irish cows, the beef is Irish or Scottish, and the eggs are free range. Shopping and cooking have been very interesting due to the different products offered – the bacon cooks differently; you can't get Cool Whip but there is plenty of whipping cream; it's soured cream, not sour cream; almost all coffee is instant coffee; peanut butter is different in an inexplicable way; and eggs aren't refrigerated.

Donna Schrock

People's various accents and idioms have also been quite fun! I have founnd myself saying "grand," "lovely" and "brilliant." However, I haven't yet picked up saying "wee" or "yous." Those of us doing the Irish Studies Programme are taking the Introduction to Speaking Irish module (class), which has been a fantastic learning experience. Our professor is a native Irish speaker from County Donegal, where there is still a Gaeltacht region. Because her language is part of her cultural identity, she is thrilled to teach it so that it does not die out. Irish language-education funding is a hot political topic at the moment, and two of my professors have stated in class that this is a major reason for the recent elections held for the Northern Ireland government. My other modules include Irish Folklore and Irishmen at War. Both of them have been extremely informative and interesting.

Donna Schrock

Not only have I had the opportunity to get to know my host city, but while here in Europe I've traveled to London, Dublin, Belfast, Castlerock and the Giant's Causeway. Soon our Irish-language module will be going to a Gaeltacht region for the weekend to practice what we've learned. I've made plans to go to Scotland and to Cork, in the far south, which I am very excited about!

So far I have learned a lot about the history of Ireland and Derry, and a lot about myself. I've also learned the importance of asking questions. I am so thankful for the friends I have made and experiences I have had. With only a short time left I am scrambling to fit in even more excitement because time flies when you're having fun!

Eye on Alumni

Sarah Gambell, '14, Double Major in French and Francophone Studies, and Cross-Cultural Studies – Emphasis in History; Minors in Public History, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Donna Schrock

I never was very good at staying put – much to the chagrin of my family and friends. After I studied abroad in France in 2013, I knew that I'd never be happy if I wasn't moving around and seeing the places I was reading about in my history classes. I will be the first to admit that my studies absolutely fell under the category of “liberal arts degree” – I studied what was interesting to me with little regard to what may follow after my life at Whitworth (re: a real job). However, I've truly been lucky to be able to use my degrees in real, tangible jobs! Take courage – it can happen.

After graduating in 2014, I quickly jetted off to France to work with a branch of the French Ministry of Education called TAPIF. I was based at two high schools in Caen, Normandy: Lycée Salvador Allende and the Collège Lycée Expérimental in Hérouville-Saint Clair. It was quite a formative year: I was becoming fluent in French, getting real teaching experience, successfully juggling budget-crushing travel, AND managing my student-loan payments. I certainly felt prepared after my time at Whitworth, though I did learn that teaching high school students was not my passion. My real passion will always be France, but I learned that I wanted to focus on public history and art, which I had experience in from my undergrad studies. Donna Schrock The good thing about having several degrees is that you can explore many different career paths. After I returned from France I started working as a contract project archivist at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane. Here I was able to learn more about the functionality of an archive and specialize in working with photography. I loved this job – I'm certain I would still be there if I could have extended my contract, but the eternal struggle of public institutions will always be government funding, or the lack thereof.

This past fall I started a master's program at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I knew that I wanted to get back into academia and I'm always keen for a new adventure abroad. My programme is called Collecting and Provenance in an International Context – but the easy translation is the study of antiquities trafficking and art law. I've been able to get involved in the community by taking on an internship with Glasgow Life, working for their museums writing a catalog on the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas, as well as working as a student museum guide for the Hunterian Museum, the oldest public museum in Scotland. I've been staying very busy, indeed. But I have no intention of slowing down!

Lindy Scott the Keynote Speaker for the 2017 CAWL Conference

Whitworth to Host the Christian Association of World Languages Annual Conference April 5-7, 2018

Local chair: Jacob (Jake) Rapp,
CAWL website:

Donna Schrock

Our very own Lindy Scott was the keynote speaker for the 2017 CAWL national conference, held at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. His keynote address was "Let Justice Flow Like a Mighty River: Can the Study of Languages Make Us More Just Citizens of the World?"

Lindy is professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Whitworth. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. For the better part of four decades he has taught students the subject of life using the medium of world languages and cultures (in Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica). He is the editor of Journal of Latin American Theology: Christian Reflections from the Latino South. He has co-authored Los Evangelicos: Portraits of Latino Protestantism in the United States (CEHILA) and Christians, the Care of Creation and Global Climate Change (Wheaton College). His most recent article is "La corrupción política en los Evangelios y ellibro de los Hechos." He has been married for 38 years to Dinorah and they have three children and four grandchildren.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Free Tutoring Offered to All Levels

  • German: Wednesdays, 3-4 p.m., Cowles Library, room 208
  • French: Thursdays and Sundays, 8-9 p.m., Westminster Hall, room 246
  • Spanish: Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 7-9 p.m./Mondays and Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m., Cowles Library, room 208

Fifth Annual Cinco de Mayo Soccer Tournament


Friday May 5, 4-6 p.m, on Omache Field!

  • 5 v. 5 tournament recreational and competitive bracket
  • Limited team slots: Sign up at HUB info desk by May 3.
  • Teams are co-ed and are open to all Whitworth faculty, staff and students.

Senior Breakfast

If you are a senior graduating this May, join us on May 20 from 9:30-11 a.m. in the Crow's Nest to celebrate your accomplishments with your friend s, family and professors.


Seniors: FREE
Family members/guests: $10 each
RVSP to Rachelle Hartvigsen by May 5.
Email: Phone: 509.777.4765

Language Proficiency Exams

Language proficiency refers to one's ability to use language for real-world purposes to accomplish real-world linguistic tasks, across a wide range of topics and settings. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Proficiency Tests reflect and measure these real-world tasks. Differing from an achievement test that measures knowledge of specific information (what a person knows), a proficiency test targets what an individual can do with what one knows. As in a driver's test, an achievement test would represent the paper-and-pencil questions that one answers, while a proficiency test determines how well the person can drive the car. The language proficiency test is an evaluation of how well a person can use language to communicate in real life.

Do you need to complete the program requirement of language proficiency for your major? You can schedule an oral proficiency interview (OPI) convenient to your schedule. For more information, check out the Language Testing International website at, or contact Rachelle Hartvigsen at or 509.777.4765.

DELE: Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language

Offered at Whitworth University Biannually!

This test provides an official accreditation of a student's degree of fluency in the Spanish language. This accreditation is issued by the Spanish Ministry of Education and is an internationally recognized certification. The test provides students an official means to demonstrate their level of fluency to potential employers. It measures fluency and accuracy across the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Students interested in taking the DELE must take the online placement test to determine which level is right for them. The placement test can be found at Students should make a well-informed decision in this regard as it is a Pass/Fail assessment. Please note that Whitworth University is currently certified to offer the B1, B2 and C1 exams. Students wishing to take other levels may do so at other testing sites.

For more information about the exam, how to register and the exam fees, please see the DELE flyer. Or contact Angeles Aller, associate professor of Spanish, at or 509.777.4205.

Scripture of the Month


Exodus 15:2

"The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."


Éxodo 15:2

"2 El Señor es mi fuerza y mi cántico; él es mi salvación. Él es mi Dios, y lo alabaré; es el Dios de mi padre, y lo enalteceré."


Éxodo 15:2

"2 L'Eternel est ma force, il est le sujet de mes chants,il m'a sauvé,il est mon Dieu, je le louerai et je l'exalterai, lui, le Dieu de mon père[a]."


2 Mose 15:2

"2 Der HERR ist meine Stärke und mein Lobgesang und ist mein Heil. Das ist mein Gott, ich will ihn preisen; er ist meines Vaters Gott, ich will ihn erheben."


出 埃 及 記 15:2

2 耶 和 华 是 我 的 力 量 , 我 的 诗 歌 , 也 成 了 我 的 拯 救 。 这 是 我 的 神 , 我 要 赞 美 他 , 是 我 父 亲 的 神 , 我 要 尊 崇 他 。



2 يه [a] هُوَ قُوَّتِي وَتَسْبيحِي. هُوَ صارَ خَلاصِي. هَذا هُوَ إلَهِي وَسَأُسَبِّحُهُ، إلَهُ آبائِي وَسَأُمَجِّدُهُ.

Vol. 24 Issue 1 October 2017

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the world languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Rachelle Hartvigsen
For student employment information, please contact Rachelle Hartvigsen, program assistant, at 509.777.4765