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NDSU English professor to examine fear of other languages in Faculty Lecture

Posted on 3/15/2017

Bruce Maylath
Bruce Maylath, professor of English, has been selected to present the 56th Faculty Lecture, which is considered one of NDSU's most prestigious honors. The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union's Century Theater. A reception will follow.

"It came as quite a surprise. I am honored that my peers see fit to recognize me in this way," Maylath said. "I know it is considered the top honor that can be bestowed on an NDSU faculty member, and I'm especially humbled to receive this award at this time in my career.

Maylath will present "Where Has a Century of Monolingualism Got Us?" The event is free and open to the public.

In his talk, Maylath will discuss the events of 1917, when many states banned the instruction of any language but English during an era of anti-immigrant fervor as World War I raged.

"It was a time for German immigrants to hide their identity, and the German language was pushed out of the classroom. It was to be kept indoors at home," explained Maylath, who also will examine the state of modern-day language use and instruction in the United States. "We fear other languages. Languages are a sign of loyalty, and we often use language to identify the enemy."

Maylath is NDSU's director of Upper-Division Writing and co-founder and coordinator of the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Project, a network linking writing, usability testing and translation classes at 28 universities in 15 countries. He joined the NDSU faculty in 2007, and teaches courses in linguistics and international technical writing.

He was nominated for the Faculty Lecture by English department colleagues Elizabeth Birmingham, Sean Burt, Alison Graham-Bertolini and Kay Temanson. "Dr. Maylath's contributions to NDSU are truly outstanding in research, teaching and service," they wrote. "In addition, Bruce is a fascinating speaker and conducts especially engaging research on the history of the English language, socio-linguistics and international technical communication."

His research focuses on translation issues in professional communication and has been published in connexions, IEEE Transactions in Professional Communication, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Research in the Teaching of English and Technical Communication Quarterly, among other journals. He recently co-edited a special issue on translation and international professional communication for the online journal connexions. He is now co-editing a book on translation and localization for professional communicators.

He was recognized in 2016 with the IEEE Professional Communication Society's Ronald S. Blicq Award for Distinction in Technical Communication Education.

Maylath earned his bachelor's degree in English at Kalamazoo College, master's degree in English from Michigan State University and his doctorate in English at the University of Minnesota. He also has studied Norwegian language and literature at the University of Oslo.

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