"Language moves through time in a current of its own making", the anthropologist Edward Sapir once said. The University of the New World established its language facilities with this understanding. In its Center, located at Super-Nendaz, it has created a method of total environmental teaching, which combines the learning of the language with its immediate function. For the students can promptly descend into the general studios where they will apply their newly acquired ability. They can use their languages in town and in the surrounding countries, on week-ends or field trips.
Faculty and student Members teach, learn, and live together in the same buildings. They enjoy the alpine meadows surrounding their apartments, the restaurants, shops, libraries, pools, skiing and walking, and tennis courts. Solely languages are taught there, without the distraction of other subjects but with the reality of the outside world channeled into the specially developed materials and teaching of the University.To the basic elements of language learning---hearing, speaking, reading and writing is added the living of the language.
The materials of the Center introduce subjects of social involvement, related to the studios of the University. For instance, world relevance is preferred to travelogue; documents on student movements are preferred to children's tales. (Not that "Peanuts" and other ageless comics are slighted.)
The equipment of the studios of language is new, its library materials carefully selected. While other conventional schools teach language as if they had a simple set of lessons everyone in the world should know, the New World handles languages as a personal process, as it conducts all of its education. Instruction is personalized. It is intensive, but not grueling.
The professors of language are masters of their tongues and experienced teachers. The Coordinator of the Center was editor of modern languages at Harper and Row, Publishers for some years; her extensive knowledge of materials, trends, and professional personnel is reflected in the teaching systems at Super-Nendaz.
Besides a diversified language reference library of books and periodicals, there is an extensive tape library on all the modes in which languages are used -on the street, in the home, in debate, in the sciences, in popular and high-brow press, on radio and TV, etc.
Each student is assigned portable recording and playback equipment to use in the studio sessions, in his apartment, wherever he pursues his travel and recreational trips, and for his field projects in language. A master tape file is kept for each student, who is thus able to record and evaluate his progress periodically.
French language films -- features, documentaries, biographies, and cartoons (but not language-technique films) are shown every afternoon and evening for eight hours in a cycle of forty evenings. Members are invited, without extra cost, to enjoy as much of this total language environment as they wish. Similar arrangements are offered for the other languages taught at the Center.
The Center conducts its Language Studios in small groups (averaging twelve persons) during sessions of several hours. The levels of instruction are of four types. The Basic Studio embraces beginners and near-beginners. At the completion of this study, usually eight weeks, a person should be able to speak, hear, write, and read for all ordinary purposes: jobs, conversations, newspapers, general lectures, negotiations, etc.
The General Studio takes care of intermediate students. The Advanced Level provides high grammar and proficiency in literature.
The Specialists' Studio is uniquely of the University. The Professor is also a reference librarian and counsellor. She helps a student pursue the language of a given occupation or science, like business, engineering, medicine, social psychology, printing, fiction (e.g. argots), fine arts, politics, physics, ideology, or religion. She uses articles, tapes, and visual records as well as books and and magazines. A person who has a Basic language achievement can choose this studio, as can those of higher proficiency.
In all areas of language instruction, the student is aided in moving out into the world to study and apply his languages. A bookstore at Super-Nendaz supplies ample reading and graphic material. The languages presently offered in the New World System are French, English (as a second language), Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and modern Greek.
The Linguistics Studio will explore new directions that recent research has indicated are particularly fruitful; among them:
Learning the nature of the intuitive faculty, which "primitive" societies do employ in communication but which has atrophied and been downgraded in our own; also how this is related with ESP and so-called "good/bad" vibrations alluded to by some.
Describing modern languages in terms that are more accurate than those found today, to make it possible to teach and learn them better, in addition to such theoretical contributions to Linguistics.
Isolating the "atoms" of meaning conveyed via language.
Demonstrating the genetic relationship of language families, i.e., proving, even in accordance with standard methodological principles of linguistic science, that languages all derive from one original language. This has implications for pre-history and for the future of mankind as well as for Linguistics.
The approach should accomplish several aims: the student learns to know his own perceptions -- a need completely overlooked in current pedagogy -- and learns, as well, to know the nature of the subtleties of Linguistics. We shall attempt to go beyond some of the current theories that have produced a stifling and sterile atmosphere. Innovation and experimentation are the antidote to regurgitation; a greater variety of methods should replace the single approach that is all too common. We believe that students will no longer complain that Linguistics is boring, but will, instead, find how it is related to language, people, and life.