CSULA Dept. of Modern Languages: The Languange Mirror

                                                                                                                                      Volume 4, Fall 2002


From the Chair


Dept. Chair Hildebrando VillarrealIt is a pleasure to welcome you to another issue of the department newsletter.  In it you will find news about the individual programs and about the activities and achievements of our colleagues, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni.  We invite you to write or email us to share news about yourself and we hope you will share the information in this communication with your friends.


The Chancellor’s Office of the California State University approved the department’s proposal for a BA in Chinese this past summer.  We are pleased to be the only Cal State in Southern California to offer this degree. 

Other changes in the department include the addition of two new assistant professors.  Dr. Alejandro Solomianski was hired academic year 2000-01 and he began teaching January of 2002.  He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a specialization in Spanish-American literature.  Dr. Toshiko Yokota was hired last year and she will begin teaching this fall.  Her specialty is Modern Japanese literature.  We know that these two additions to the department will enrich our professional life.


In June, 2001 three long-time professors retired, Drs. Joseph Chrzanowski, Alfonso González, and Grant MacCurdy.  Then this past June, 2002 Dr. Felipe Diaz also decided to retire.  Altogether they represent over 100 years of teaching service to the University.  They have been outstanding members of the faculty and of the profession and they will be sorely missed.  However, they are participating in an early retirement program that allows them to continue to teach in the department on a part-time basis.


I am proud to announce that Dr. Christophe Lagier has been selected Resident-Director of the CSU International Program in France for the year 2002-03.  His term started July,2002.


In the department office there has also been a change.  Lizette Rivera has transferred to the Dean’s Office in the College of Arts and Letters and her replacement is Yvonne Lee.  I know we will miss Lizette and we wish her well in her new assignment.  We welcome Yvonne to the department.


--Hildebrando Villarreal, Ph.D.

Professor of Spanish

Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures





Language Area News


Chinese Program


The Year of the Horse brought blessings to the Chinese program. The ChancellorÂ’s Office has approved the BA in Chinese and the department will offer the major beginning Fall Quarter of 2002.




Among the highlights for the year was the hosting of an acrobatic performance by the Chengdu Acrobatic Troupe from China on October 3, 2001. This campuswide event took place at the Free Speech Area, and it was featured in several newspapers and local TV channels.

Chengdu Acrobatic Performance, October 3, 2001




Faculty News


Chinese Section

Dr. Qingyun Wu was promoted to Full Professor spring, 2002.






Dr. Kylie Hsu received early tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Her monograph, Selected Issues in Mandarin Chinese Word Structure Analysis, was published by Edwin Mellen Press, New York, 2002.  She also published 3 articles on Chinese linguistics, language pedagogy, and online material development and 11 reviews of web-based language learning modules.  She presented 11 papers (4 of which were invited) at regional and international conferences.  In addition, she developed several websites and CD-ROMs with audio files, interactive exercises on vocabulary and grammar, and multimedia poetry and literature to help students increase their language skills and cultural knowledge.  These projects were supported by grants from the University of Minnesota Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, CSU Chancellor’s Office, and CSLA Innovative Instruction Awards.  She was selected by the Chancellor’s Office to serve on the Editorial Board of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource on Learning and Online Teaching), which is an international consortium of higher education systems, institutions, and organizations.  In addition, she conducted a CSU system-wide workshop at Cal Poly Pomona on May 5, 2001, and she represented the CSU at the Third Harvill International Conference on Higher Education in Tucson, Arizona on January 26, 2002.  Dr. Hsu is listed in Who’s Who in the World and Contemporary Authors, and she was awarded a “Woman of the Year” medallion.  She was also inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society for her outstanding contributions to CSLA.


French Section


Dr. Christophe Lagier was selected Resident-Director for the CSU International Program in France for the academic year 2002-03.




Japanese Section

Dr. Sachiko Matsunaga read 3 papers in San Diego, Honolulu, and Santa Monica.  She published a book review in a refereed journal, 3 articles in proceedings, and edited conference proceedings.  She served as a referee for 4 manuscripts submitted for publication in the Modern Language Journal.  She served as a board member for the Teachers of Japanese in Southern California (TJSC) until April 2001.  She continues to serve as a board member for the Association of the Teachers of Japanese (a national organization) since March 2001.  Dr. Matsunaga organized the annual Japanese Speech Contest (March 2001 and 2002) with a grant from the Japan Foundation both years.  She also co-organized with the TJSC the symposium titled “Teaching Japanese as a Heritage Language in Southern California: Articulation of Learner Needs and Pedagogical Strategies” (November 4, 2001) with a grant she received from the Japan Foundation.  She received an Innovative Instruction Award to purchase Japanese instructional materials for the computer lab and to create exercises using these materials.  Professor Matsunaga will be on sabbatical leave Fall, 2002 to conduct research at the Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.  She received a minigrant to help underwrite this project.


Spanish Section

Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu presented papers at the following professional meetings: “Metalinguistic Discourse and Nostalgia Among Three Generations of Rumanian-Americans,” MLA Convention, Washington, DC, December 27-30, 2000; “Variación en la expresión de los cumplidos,” AATSP Annual Meeting, San Franciso, Ca. July 5-9, 2001; “El cumplido en español a la luz de la teoría de los actos de habla corteses,” XVI Congress of the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, New York, NY, July 16-21, 2001; “Thanking and Accepting Thanks in Spanish: A Comparision Between Native and Non-Native Speakers’ Pragmatic Competence,” Annual Meeting of LASSO, Albuquerque, NM, September 28-30, 2001; “El acto de habla de formular votos en español, desde una perspectiva intercultural,” XIII International Congress of the Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de la América Latina, San José, Costa Rica, February, 18-23, 2002.  She was invited to talk about Hispanic Studies in the United States at the Cervantes Institute and at the University of Bucharest in Bucharest, Rumania, June, 2002.


She chaired linguistics sessions at the AATSP, AIH, LASSO and ALFAL; as chair of the Executive Committee of the MLA Division on Language Theory, she organized three sessions and chaired one at the MLA Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, December 27-30, 2002; she is co-chair of the local organizing committee of the Annual Meeting of LASSO to be hosted at Cal State, LA and the Pasadena Hilton Hotel October 4-6, 2002.


Her term as associate editor of Hispania (Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian World section) ended 2001.  She will continue to publish cultural notes in this section as a regular AATSP member.  She was elected Associate Editor of the Southwest Journal of Linguistics (2002-05). 


Professor Dumitrescu was included in the 2002 edition of Who’s Who in the World and received the Distinguished Women Award from CSLA, May 22, 2002.    She was instrumental in inviting on campus the Rumanian folk dance group, Timisul, and the Rumanian-American writer and filmmaker, Petru Popescu who read from his most recent book, The Oasis.


Igancio Lopez-CalvoDr. Ignacio López-Calvo’s book Religión y militarismo en la obra de Marco Aguinis 1963-2000 was published by Edwin Mellen Press, 2002. He also published the following articles: “La desaparición del prefijo ‘bi-‘ en la lírica femenina chicana.”  FEM 224(2001):40-3;  “Esbozo de una geografía histórica en Prosas profanas”. Revista/Review Interamericana 30 (2002).  April 15, 2002;  “El compromiso social involuntario en la obra de Enrique Anderson Imbert.”  La lógica del crítico en la creación lúdico-poética.  Ed. Juana Alcira Arnacibia.  Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2001.  247-56  (solicited contribution).  “Hacia una desmitificación y reconstrucción de la figura de Andrés Laguna.”  Andrés Laguna.  Humanismo.  Ciencia y Política en la Europa Renacentista.  Eds. Juan Luis García-Hourcade y Juan Manuel Moreno Yuste.  Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2001.  459-65.  “Sol negro, luna roja: una lectura apocalíptica de Borges.”  Borges. Nuevas lecturas.  Ed.  Juana Alcira Arancibia.  Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2001.  181-88  (solicited contribution).  “Rubén Vela: la lucha del poema por descifrarse a sí mismo.”  199-206.  La pasión americana en la poesía de Rubén Vela.  Ensayos críticos.  Ed. Juana Alcira Arancibia.  Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2001.  199-206  (solicited contribution).

He also read the following papers: “La fiesta del chivo y la novela del dictador latinoamericano: ¿Denuncian o promueven la dictadura?  Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica.  Lima, Perú.  Feb. 27-Mar.1, 2002.  “El sustrato ideológico en la obra de Manlio Argueta.”  Second International Conference on Central American Literature and Culture and Film Festival.  California State University, Northridge.  Northridge, Ca. Oct. 26, 2001.  “La mentalidad militar en la obra de Marcos Aguinis: La conspiración de los idiotas.”  Sesión “Militarismo, politización y literatura latinoamericana.”  LASA (Latin American Studies Association) Conference.  Washington, DC.  Sept.7, 2001.  “Rubén Vela: la lucha del poema por descifrarse a sí mismo.”  XX Simposio Internacional de Literatura del Mundo Hispánico.  California State University, Dominguez Hills.  Carson, Ca. Aug. 16, 2001.  “The implied reader and the implicit author in Roberto de las Carreras Al lector” at the conference Poetic Discourses at Play.  University of California, Irvine.  Irvine, Ca. April 20, 2001.  “Hacia una estética de la recepción  de Rubén Darío en España.”  Poetic Discourses at Play: Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian, and US Latino/a Poetry.  University of California, Irvine.  Irvine, Ca. April 13-15, 2001.  “El fundamentalismo y el narcotráfico en Los iluminados de Marcos ‘Aguinis.”  PCCLAS Conference.  El Colegio de la Frontera Norte.  Tijuana, México.  April 5, 2001.  “La politización del clero en La cruz invertida de Marcos Aguinis.”  Universidad Iberoamericana.  Tijuana, México.  April 5, 2001.  “The Feast of the Goat and the Novel of the Latin American Dictator: Denouncing or Promoting Dictatorship?”  Faculty Colloquium.  CSLA.  March 14, 2002.   

He also co-edited the proceedings of two PCCLAS conferences, Los Angeles, California, 1999 and  Tijuana, México, 2001, volumes 18-19.


Dr. Hildebrando Villarreal was invited to conduct two workshops on language teaching at the University of California, Riverside in September and October, 2002.  He presented a paper, “Sugerencias para la enseñanza del reflexivo en español” at the Southern California Chapter of the AATSP at Scripps College April, 2002. 

He is a coauthor of Puntos de Partida, a popular book for teaching Spanish at the university level.  The 6th edition of this book was published by McGraw-Hill in 2001.

His recruitment efforts for Cal State LA and the department included visits to Azusa Pacific University, Los Angeles Community College, and Compton High School.



Student Highlights


Chinese Program

At the Tenth Annual Poetry Recitation Contest in May, several CSLA students received awards. In the intermediate category, Karen Yang, Jinny Shen, and Karen Kuo were the first, second, and third place winners respectively. Janie Chien, Su-mei Wang, and Lixian Situ were the first, second, and third place winners in the advanced category.


              Poetry Contest Winners, May 6, 2002                        


The Chinese Studies Center also awarded scholarships to outstanding students in Chinese. The recipients were Janie Chien, Sang Sang Liu, Jinny Shen, and Lixian Situ. In addition, Janie Chien, Sang Sang Liu, and Kathy Wu received Asian American Women Scholarships in a  campuswide competition. Other achievements of our students include the initiation of Janie Chien, Tony Louie, Timothy Ng, and Steven Pan into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society on April 28, 2002.


Scholarship Recipients, May 6, 2002



French Program

During winter quarter the French section invited Charles Fathy, a French actor, to teach one of our French classes, and in conjunction with that course he produced and directed a play, Pour un oui ou por un non, in which several students from the department participated.  It was very well received by the university community.


Japanese Program

The Department hosted the annual Japanese Speech Contest organized by Professor Matsunaga during March of 2001 and 2002. More than sixty students participated in the two events with several universities, colleges, and high schools represented.  Prizes included a trips, gift coupons, and books.


Diane Emi Asato was awarded a $500 scholarship by the Japanese Studies Center for her superior achievement in Japanese classes.



Spanish Program

McNair Scholar

Jacqueline Vidal, a double major in Psychology and Spanish, has been selected as one of the 13 new 2002-2003 McNair Scholars. Her mentor will be Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu  The purpose of the McNair Scholarships to provide academic support, research opportunities and involvement in scholarly activities to students who are underrepresented at the doctoral level, in order to increase their likelihood of enrollment and success in PhD programs.


Congratulations to Mario Cuéllar for being awarded the Florence Bonhard Scholarship for $500. 


Sigma Delta Pi

The Cal State chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, under the guidance of Dr. Ignacio López-Calvo, had its gala initiation March, 2002.  It awarded the Gabriela Mistral Prize to Lizelda Saucedo and it inducted Dr. Alejandro Solomianski as an honorary member.  The guest speaker was Dr. Armand Mattelart, University of Paris.  An impressive number of outstanding students was initiated that evening:  Gloria Bautista, Héctor Barajas, Armando Botello, Carmelita María Bouie,  Hilda Clara, Carmen L. Delgado,  Laura Dueñas, Danilo Escalante, Luidmila García, Otilia Gaxiola,  María Maldonado, Gloria Martínez, Iris Martínez, Rafael Martínez, Delia Mata, Cruz McPherson, Elenilson Morales, Yolanda Muñoz, Margarita Pazos, Mariano Pérez, Marlene Prieto, Cynthia Ramírez-Gómez, Melissa Ramos, Yaír Ramos, Ruth Rodríguez, Marius Sapkus, Sara Z. Smolinsky, Víctor Soberanis, Beatriz Sztain, Sandra Torres, and Leticia Zamora.


On May 2, 2002 Dr. Arturo Arias, president of LASA (Latin  American Studies Association) and a two-time winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize, gave a talk  about Rigoberta Menchú.  The title of his presentation was “Two Versions of Rigoberta Menchú’s Truth: Máximo Cajal’s Version and David Stoll’s Ideological Construction.”  Sigma Delta Pi was the sponsor of this event.



Alumni News



Iliana Alcántar (BA, MA Spanish, 1997) is currently at UCLA working on a doctorate in Spanish-American literature.

Jacqueline Vásquez Arias (BA Spanish, 2002) and her husband, Sergio, are the proud parents of Aneissa Saraí who is one year old.  Jacqueline is substituting in the Baldwin Park School District while working on her teaching credential at Azusa Pacific University.

Gloria Arjona (BA Spanish, 1992) has completed the Ph.D. program at USC.  Her dissertation “La Malinche: Una figura fundacional en México y los Estados Unidos” deals with a controversial figure in Mexican literature and culture.

Eduardo Brambila (BA Spanish 2000) is finishing his MA in linguistics at the University of Illinois, Chicago.  His goal is to earn a Ph.D. with a speciality in pragmatics and second language acquisition.  He has also gotten married.

Myrna Díaz (MA Spanish, 2002) is the executive assistant to the president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elizabeth Gárate (BA MA Spanish, 1997) is a professor of Spanish at Citrus Community College.

Joanne Guillén Donohoe (BA Spanish, 1990) is married and currently teaching Spanish at Piedmont High School in the Bay Area.

Javier Galván (BA Spanish, 1991) earned his Ph.D. in linguistics from USC and is currently teaching at Harbor Community College.

Fermín Luna (BA Spanish, 2001) is a Spanish teacher for the El Monte Unified School District.  He is completing his credential at the University of La Verne and enjoying married life.

Felipe Méndez (BA Spanish, 2001) is taking graduate courses in linguistics at Cal State, Fullerton in preparation for a Ph.D. in this field.

Liliana-Cristina Dobrescu Mitrovici (MA Spanish, 1991) has completed her doctorate at UCLA. Her dissertation “Continuidad y reforma en el siglo XII: los diálogos de Pedro Alfonso” focused on an important medieval figure.  She has accepted a position at Minnesota State University, Moorhead starting Fall, 2002.  She will be teaching Spanish language and literature.

Sarah Novak (BA French, 2002) is in Paris, France.  She has applied to the Sorbonne to begin work on her MA in French medieval literature.

Cristián Ricci (BA Spanish, 1998) is completing his doctoral program at UC, Santa Barbara.  The title of

his dissertation is “Madrid en el discurso de los modernistas de entre siglos: 1890-1914.”

Patricia Rush (BA Spanish) is currently teaching at Ventura College.  She has co-authored a book, Spanish for Health Care recently published by Prentice-Hall.

Mariam Saada (BA, MA Spanish, 2001) has been accepted in the Ph.D. program at UCLA.  She will specialize in Romance linguistics.

Lilia Vidrio (BA Spanish, 2000) is currently teaching at Baldwin Park High School while finishing her credential here at Cal State LA.  She loves teaching Spanish and hopes to continue with her Master’s later in her career.

Sandra Vidrio Vivar (BA Spanish 2001), LiliaÂ’s twin sister, is now married, but she hopes to continue with her credential and eventually teach also.





In Memoriam


Mirella Gutiérrez (BA Spanish, 1999) died in an automobile accident in Mexico August of 2001.  She had been a Spanish teacher at Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Pasadena.  We remember her as a dedicated student who was just beginning to realize some of her dreams.  She is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Gutiérrez and a brother and sister.

Claude Stevenson (MA Spanish 2000) had a horse riding accident that resulted in a coma from which she never regained consciousness.  She passed away July, 2002.  Although French was her native language, she loved Spanish.  She was a person who was adventuresome and appreciated nature in all its forms.


It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Demetra Palamari. A longtime professor of French in the Department, she died this past February. She began her career at Cal State LA in 1963 and continued to teach until she retired in 1992.  Professor Palamari was a gifted violinist and violist and she used this musical talent in her language teaching.  Colleagues and students remember her for her personal charm, her dedication to teaching, and her commitment to humane causes, especially world peace.




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Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

California State University, Los Angeles

5151 State University Drive

Los Angeles, California 90032


Phone:  323.343.4230

Fax: 323.434.4234


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This issue of The Language Mirror © edited by Hildebrando Villarreal.  Contributors: Domnita  Dumitrescu, Kylie Hsu, Ignacio López-Calvo, Sachiko Matsunaga