A Taste of Chinese Language

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Last Thursday evening, Dr. Joan Li of the Department of Foreign Languages asked the Scholars to get past the attitude that learning Chinese is impossible so they could learn what Chinese can do for them. After discussing the widespread use of Chinese (20% of the world’s population speaks it) and the significance of China on the world stage, she worked with the scholars to learn a bit more about using the language itself.

Many Scholars cited the pictographic nature of written Chinese as one difficulty in learning the language. However, she encouraged Scholars to understand that a person could survive in a Chinese-speaking culture who knew only three hundred or so characters.

Dr. Li explained how many of the characters are aggregates of other characters–hao, meaning “good,” is the aggregate of woman and son. This, along with various other words, like “slave” and “greedy,” were used to demonstrate how sexism is inscribed and passed down through language.

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The development of pinyin, a phonetic system depicting Chinese sounds, has helped speakers to learn pronunciation of Chinese without having to read pictographs. Dr. Li worked with the Scholars to understand the pronunciation of the four tones of the word ma, which depending on inflection can mean “mother,” “hemp,” “horse,” or “to curse or scold.”

By the end of the evening, all the Scholars had some success in reading, writing, and speaking Chinese, and many left wanting to learn more!

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Student Spotlight – Michaeya

CLASS Scholars attend high schools all across middle Tennessee and bring to the Seminars a variety of interests and experiences. In the Student Spotlight feature, we’ll be letting you know a little more about who the CLASS Scholars are and what they do besides attend Seminars.

Michaeya’s favorite subject in school is math. She most enjoyed Dr. Syb’s CLASS Seminar on technology, because it was interesting and interactive.

Michaeya
Michaeya at a recent CLASS Seminar.

A unique person and hard-working student who never gives up, Michaeya likes to sing and to draw when not in school.

Sports Medicine, or What to Do (Before and) after You Hit the Wall

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Dr. Marnie Vanden Noven of the Department of Sport Science at Belmont began last night’s Seminar by asking this hard-working group of Scholars “What do you play?” Some answered with sports and some with music, but whatever the activity, Dr. Vanden Noven emphasized that “play will make everything easier,” from academic work to relationships.

Of course, play among children can lead to injuries (especially when adults get involved!), and Dr. Vanden Noven discussed the most likely scenarios that produce injuries.  She then gave the Scholars a definition of Sports Medicine: “a multi-disciplinary approach to health management including physiological, biomechanical, psychological, and pathological phenomena associated with exercise and sports” which “generally focuses on areas of performance enhancement, injury care, prevention, and management.”

Dr. Vanden Noven then showed some videos that explained how sport science research can help with the prevention of injuries. One video demonstrated the difference between a baseball player hitting a padded wall vs. hitting a part of the wall without padding. Another discussed the prevalence of injuries of both football and soccer players when competing on artificial turf. She then asked the Scholars to think about a case study in which a high school basketball player had been injured on an improperly prepared court, and then was injured further when, dazed from her head injury, she fell off a training table. Who had been most responsible–the athlete? the coaches? the athletic trainer? her teammates? the school?

For the final portion of the Seminar, Dr. Vanden Noven divided students into groups and had them practice applying elastic wrap in spiral and figure-eight patterns to each others’ forearms and hands (click on images to enlarge). The Scholars found it challenging to get the correct tension while wrapping in a pattern that would provide the most support.

Then, for the “shocking” finale, she broke out a small Neuromuscular Electric Stimulator, which she used to cause her volunteer to (involuntarily) raise and lower her arm and turn her wrist. These tools and many more help athletic trainers and physical therapists restore movement and confidence for people who have suffered losses from illness or injury.

Dr. Vanden Noven closed by encouraging interested Scholars to find out more by doing research as well as just by observing what athletic trainers do. “Whatever you end up doing for a living,” she told the scholars, “pick something that feels like play to you. It will make all the difference.”

Student Spotlight – Breighel

CLASS Scholars attend high schools all across middle Tennessee and bring to the Seminars a variety of interests and experiences. In the Student Spotlight feature, we’ll be letting you know a little more about who the CLASS Scholars are and what they do besides attend Seminars.

Brieghel in an accomplished musician who plays five instruments. She performs in the East High School marching band.

Breighel
Breighel at a recent CLASS Seminar

An extremely organized person, her favorite subject in school other than music is math. Her favorite seminar was Dr. Clancy Smith’s seminar on Superheroes and Philosophy, because it shows how popular media reflects cultural movements.