Newsletter (

Volume 3, Winter 2001



If you have stopped by the main office of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures any time this year, you probably noticed a lot of new faces – or, more appropriately, a lot of familiar faces in unaccustomed places. For example, I am now honored to address you as the Acting Chair. Some other new appointments that I would like to announce: Eileen Portillo is the new Department Secretary as of August, 2000; Men Tran, formerly of ATS, is the new Language Lab Director; and Lizette Rivera, a former student employee, is currently working as Graduate Secretary for the Department.

The year 2000 was also a year for saying goodbye to some familiar faces. Colleagues and students gathered at a talent-filled party this past November to wish Dr. Jeanine Gaucher-Morales a happy retirement. Roger Dorrell, the former Language Lab Director, retired after 35 years of service. And in September 2000, Dr. Joseph Chrzanowski completed his second distinguished term as Department Chair.

There have been new developments and activities. The Chinese B.A. proposal was submitted for approval. If all goes well, we expect to have this program in place by next year. The Japanese Studies Center celebrated its 25th anniversary with a very successful Japan Week. Our Sigma Delta Pi chapter inaugurated a poetry reading/lecture series. Faculty members in French and Chinese are involved in exciting new projects to integrate web technology to instruction. Our faculty, as in years past, publish prolifically, present papers at important conferences regularly, hold executive positions in professional organizations, and receive prestigious awards. Our students, meanwhile, keep graduating and moving on to exciting careers.

I am proud and honored to serve as Acting Chair of such a vital and flourishing Department, but I know that the best is always yet to come. Welcome to the first MLL newsletter of the 21st century.

Those who wish to learn more about the Department’s program and services are invited to access its home page at:  /academic/mld/mainpal.htm.

 Maria Dolores Costa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Spanish

and Acting Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures






The Chinese Program has submitted to the University a BA program proposal, which also includes 14 new course proposals.  Once implemented, CSULA will be the first campus to offer the B.A. program in Chinese within the CSU system in Southern California. This news appeared in the following article, "Establishing a Credential Program for Teaching Chinese at Cal State L.A.," Chinese Daily News, March 6, 2000.


The Chinese Studies Center


From January 2000 to January 2001, the Chinese Studies Center sponsored two guest lectures:  “Contemporary Literature and Culture in Taiwan” by Dr. Dominic Cheung, the renowned poet and scholar, on February 24, 2000;  “New Literary and Cultural Trends in China Today” by Professor Dai Keqiang, the famous scholar from the Mainland China, on November 9, 2000.


Local Chinese communities gathered around the Confucius statue on the CSLA campus to celebrate the 2551st anniversary of Confucius Birthday on September 24, 2000. This event was covered both in Sing Tao Daily and Chinese Daily News, September 25, 2000.  The Center also co-sponsored such important events as the Dinner for Excellence Scholarship Awards and the guest lecture, “Yung Wing (1828-1912) and 120 Young Chinese students in America (1876-1881)” by Timothy Kao.  Other exciting events for the Center in the Spring quarter 2001 include the Ninth Chinese Poetry Recitation and the competition for the Major Tsai Scholarship in Chinese studies. The Center’s activities also appeared in a newspaper article, "Major Tsai’s Donation to Cal State L.A. Chinese Studies Center," Chinese Daily News, February 17, 2000.




Student Highlights

Huan Pong (Steve) Tseng, a student from the Early Entrance Program majoring in a Finance/Economics, is also pursuing a minor in Chinese.  He is currently is participating in the CSLA Study Aboard Program, taking courses in Chinese language, culture, and history at the National Chengchi University in Taipei.


1999-2000 Faculty Activities



Dr. Qingyun Wu published three articles and a book review.  She also presented numerous papers, including, “Chinese Women’s Literature Towards the 21st Century,” at the MLA Annual Meeting.  She was invited as the chair and discussant for the panel, “Classical and Comparative Literature,” at the annual conference organized by the West Coast Association of Asian Studies (October 6, 2000, Long Beach).  Dr. Wu’s bibliography is listed in Who’s Who in America and The Writers Directory.

Dr. Kylie Hsu produced four publications and delivered five presentations. She also participated in four workshops and conferences on instructional technology. She was awarded an Innovative Instructional Award for developing web-based audio files for Elementary Chinese. She taught a new course in Introduction to Chinese Linguistics. Dr. Hsu’s biography is featured in Who’s Who publications of Marquis, International Biographical Center, and American Biographical Institute.overb ~ 




The Japan Club

Dr. Sachiko Matsunaga, director of the Center, organized the "Japan Week 2000: Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Japanese Studies Center at CSLA.”  This celebration, which took place from November 6 to 9 was filled with exciting events such as a lecture on Japanese culture, a Japanese traditional music performance, an Ikebana (flower arrangement) workshop, as well as a Japanese film screening.  Each of these events drew large and appreciative audiences from CSLA and the Japanese communities.


The center also hosted the Third Japanese Speech Contest on March 4, 2000 at Maxwell Theater.  Eighteen contestants from CSLA, CSLB, Alhambra High School, Artesia High Schools, among other schools, presented inspiring, entertaining, and engaging speeches.  Dr. Eri Yasuhara, former Associate Dean of School of Arts and Letters, graced the occasion with her warm welcoming remarks.


Throughout the academic year of 1999-2000, the Japan Club has been very active, sponsoring many social gatherings, such as ice-skating, garden viewing, screenings of Japanese films, taking trips to Little Tokyo, and enjoying Japanese cuisine.  Jeff Torii was the winner of the Japan club T-shirt logo contest.  The Japan Club meets Fridays at 11 a.m. in the Asian Pacific American Student Resource Center.  The Japan Club's web site may be accessed at: /orgs/japan/

Student Highlights

Steve Nguyen participated in the Kagoshima Internship Program in the summer of 2000.  He described his experience in this way:  “Although I had traveled in foreign countries before, my time in Kagoshima was the first chance I ever had to be anything more than just a tourist.  My time in Kagoshima stands in my memory as one of the most powerful life experiences.  As a total stranger, struggling to communicate in a language I had only studied for five quarters, I nonetheless found myself enveloped by such warmth and kindness, that I struggle even now, in English, to express my feelings.  So, by the end of my stay, I had come to see that it had not just been a vacation, or a language learning experience, but a time of learning to love life and the people of the world, with sincerity.”


At the Third Japanese Speech Contest, Cal State L.A. students Guowei Lu and Freda Yoshioka won the second and third prizes, respectively.  Yueh-Chu Chen is another Cal State L.A. student who distinguished herself at the contest.  She received the honorary award.

1999-2000 Faculty Activities

Dr. Eri Yasuhara took a new position as Dean of the School of Arts and Letters at California State University, San Bernardino.  Her presence and her bright smile will be greatly missed.


Dr. Sachiko Matsunaga published two articles: "Universality in reading processes: Evidence from an eye-tracking study." Psychologia, 42 (1999): 290-306, and "Automaticity in reading Japanese as L1 and L2, "Proceedings of the 12th World  Congress of Applied Linguistics, Tokyo: AILAƒ†99 (1999).  Dr. Matsunaga also presented four papers, including "Developing a web-based language proficiency test for college-level learners of Japanese as a second/foreign language, " Teachers of Japanese in Southern California Fall Workshop, Santa Monica, CA, November 12, 2000, with Yasuyo Sawaki (University of California, Los Angeles), and "Learner needs arising from different backgrounds: performance-based analyses, " National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Language Third Annual Conference (Washington, DC, May 6-8, 2000).


Dr. Catherine Ryu has been appointed to serve as Associate Director of the Japanese Studies Center.  Dr. Ryu is also faculty adviser to the Japan Club.  She is currently working on a new research project, “Crisscrossing Cultural Boundaries: Diasporic Experiences of Korean-Japanese Women Writers.”  For this project, she received the Asia Library Travel Grant (December 8-21, 2000) from the Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan.


We Japanese enjoy the small pleasures, not extravagance. I believe a man should have a simple lifestyle -- even if he can afford more. 

~Massaru Ibuka~



The French Club

 Le Cercle Français took field trips to Whittier College for a performance of Tardieu during National French Week (November 10, 99), to a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Luckman Theater (October 30, 99), and to a performance of Ionesco’s "La Leçon" at Whittier College (November 7, 2000).  The club also organized a three film French series, "Dearly Departed" (Spring 2000).

Student Highlights

Sarah Nowak, former president of Le Cercle Français (French club) and a double major in English and French, is enjoying her year as an International Program exchange student in Paris.  She loves Paris so much that she is considering returning to Paris for another year, after she finishes a couple more courses at CSULA this summer.


Merdith Gibson, another French major, has also applied to the same program in Paris for the coming academic year.


Two other students in French, KC and Maria, have applied to our one-year International Program in Aix-en-Provence.

1999-2000 Faculty Activities

Dr. Christophe Lagier taught a six-week undergraduate course at Institut d'Etudes Françaises d'Avignon/Bryn Mawr College during Summer 2000. This course dealt with "Aspects de la France contemporaine:  reflets des problèmes d'immigration, racisme, et identité dans la culture populaire (musique,littérature, cinéma).”  He also developed of a Commercial French Course Website funded by an Innovative Instruction Award obtained in June 99 (Spring 00).  The website, which has numerous links to French newspapers and radios, can be accessed at Dr. Lagier published a book, Le théâtre de la parole-spectacle: Jacques Audiberti, René de Obaldia et Jean Tardieu (Summa Publishing Inc.: June 2000).  In addition, he presented four papers, including, “De l’absurde au potentiel de regénération infini de la langue: Jean Tardieu ou le théâtre de la parole-spectacle" at the XXIst Century French Studies 2001 Conference (UC Davis: March 29-April 1, 2001).


A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.

~Gaston Bachelard~


Sigma Delta Pi

The Cal State L.A. Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi Hispanic Honor Society (Gamma Psi) organized several poetry readings under the direction of Dr. Ignacio Lopez-Calvo, its faculty advisor.  Sigma Delta Pi also presented three distinguished speakers:  Dr. Carl Jubran (University of San Diego) focused on the discrimination of Arabs in Medieval Spain (January 24); Dr. Felipe Diaz (CSULS) delivered a paper on "Américo Castro, Sánchez Albornoz y la controversia sobre el destino de España" (February 7); and Dr. Manuel Aguilar (CSULA Dept. of Art) discussed "El proceso de transculturación en la sociedad mexicana" (March 5).   Sigma Delta Pi will also be organizing an excursion to Univ. of California, Irvine to hear a talk by Portuguese Nobel laurate José Saramago.

Teatro Universitario en Español

Teatro Universitario en Español featured Aguila Real (Royal Eagle), the historic play by Hugo Arguelles, at the Japanese American Theater  (March 16-17, 2000).  The play, directed by Roberto D’Amico and Alejandra Flores, tells the story of Isabel de Moctezuma, a major figure of the Mexican conquest.  The body and last will and testament of Princess Tecuixpo (“cotton flower,” later christened Isabel by the Spaniards) were found among the remains of the ancient Aztec capital discovered under the cathedral in downtown Mexico City.  The excavation of this discovery revealed a figure of historic importance, a remarkable woman whose spiritual strength was the equal of the worldly power of Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico whom Isabel continued to defy throughout her lifetime.  Shortly after this discovery, the Mexican playwright Hugo Arguelles turned Isabel’s story into the drama Aguila Real.

Angelica Aragon played Isabel de Moctezuma. Roberto D’Amico, actor and director of international fame, was co-director of the production and played the part of Hernan Cortes.  Alejandra Flores, actress and director at the Bilingual Foundation of theArts and host of Foro 22, co-directed the play with D’Amico.  Gema Sandoval, artistic director of Danza Floricanto/USA and winner of several awards in choreography, created the dance numbers for the work. Danza Floricanto/USA, the oldest folklorico company in Los Angeles, worked side by side with the students in Teatro Universitario en Espanol in both the dance and choir numbers.

Student Highlights

Congratulations to the following students who are receiving the Alumni Certificate of Honor for 2001:

Felipe Mendez, Cynthia Ramirez (Undergraduates)

Ronald Spriestersbach, Karen Castle (Graduates)


Cristián Ricci, a former student in the Spanish program, is the recipient of the Forgivable Loan award in May 2000. 


Mariam Saada is this year’s recipient of our Sigma Delta Pi Chapter’s Gabriela Mistral award.

1999-2000 Faculty Activities

Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu hosted a retirement party for Dr. Jeanne Gaucher-Morales at the Castaway Restaurant on November 11, 2000.  Many students, colleagues, and family members attended the party to honor Dr. Gaucher-Morales, Professor of Spanish, for her thirty-five years of service.  This event was sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Teatro Universitario en Espanol, and the Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi (CSLA Chapter: Gamma Psi).


Dr. Dale Carter (Emeritus, Spanish) will complete, at the end of winter 2001, one and one-half years as Acting Chair of the Theatre Arts and Dance Department.  He was called out of retirement to lead the department while a search for a permanent chair was conducted and will return to campus in winter 2002 to resume his FERP assignment in Spanish. In June 2000 he organized and chaired a panel on Julio Cortázar at the XXXIII Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana held at the University of Salamanca, Spain. The focus of his presentation was Cortázar's fantastic short stories. In October, he also organized and chaired a panel at the American Literary Translators' Association Annual Meeting held in San Francisco.  Along with three other published translators, he addressed issues relating to serving the needs of accuracy while at the same time achieving artistic results.


Dr. Felipe Díaz carried out research at several Spanish archives and private collections during the Summer 2000, and presented a paper, "Conflictive Aspects in Carmen Martín Gaite's Short Narrative," at the II International Congress on Spanish & Spanish American Women Before the New Millenium, Seville, Spain, July 23-25.  In the Fall, he received an invitation to join the Irvine Hispanic Theater Interest Group and participate in evaluations and discussion groups at the International Theatre Festival at Cádiz, Spain. He was also invited by the University of California, Irvine as Visiting Associate Professor to teach a graduate seminar on "Female and Cluniac Voices in Medieval Spanish Literature." He also presented a conference on the topic of "Literature, Philosophy and Art in Al-Andalus" on November 16, sponsored by the Spanish National Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi at UCI. Recently he was invited to contribute articles on the education systems of several countries in Europe and Latin America for the International Education Encyclopedia, and to publish a book review on a new edition of Pero López de Ayala's Rimado de Palacio in The Medieval Review.


Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2000 Award (college and university level) from the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Her biography is included in the 55th edition of Who’s Who in America.  She also published the final revision of the manuscript of Gramatica limbii spaniole prin exercitii, in collaboration with Dan Munteanu, from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to appear in Bucharest in 2001.  In addition, she attended six domestic and international conferences and presented a number of papers, including a poster presentation, “Thanking and accepting thanks in Spanish: A comparison between native and non-native speakers’ pragmatic competence,” at the 7th International Pragmatics Conference, Budapest, Hungary, July 9-14, 2000 and  “El cumplido y el agradecimiento en español, a la luz  de  la teoría de los actos de habla corteses” at the Annual Meeting of  the Linguistic Association of the Southwest (LASSO), Puebla, México, October 13-15, 2000. At this meeting, Dr. Dumitrescu chaired a session on Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis.  She also taught a course in Spanish Phonetics at the University of California at Irvine, in spring 2000, as a visiting professor.


Dr. Alfonso Gonzalez sponsored and mentored Elsa Montiel, a pre-doctoral Sally Casanova Scholarship recipient.  He also participated in the grading of the AP exam on June 11-18, 2000, as well as in the grading of the PRAXIS exam at the Oakland office of the Educational Testing Service on: Oct 1-3, 1999; Dec 10-12 1999; Jan 28-30, 2000; Mar 24-26, 2000; May 21-23, 2000.  In addition, Dr. Gonzalez published the translation of Madero, el otro (York Press: November 1999) in collaboration with Juana Wong, an MA, CSLA graduate, and presented four papers, including, “Hacia un nuevo concepto de la historia: El caso de Fernando del Paso,” on October 29, 1999 at the Biannual Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies Conference held at CSULA, and “El teatro de Fernando del Paso” at the Fourth Latin American Theater Conference at the University of Kansas on Mar 30, 2000.  He also chaired two sessions: “La novela mexicana en las postrimerias del siglo” at the Biannual PCCLAS Conference on November 29, 1999 at CSULA, and Mexican Theater, at the 4th Latin American Theater Convention in Lawrence, Kansas, on March 30, 2000.  Dr. Gonzalez is currently preparing a third edition of Español para el hispanohablante.


Dr. Ignacio López-Calvo will publish two books in the year 2001: Written in Exile. Chilean Fiction from 1973-Present  (Routledge Publishing: February 2001), and De la fe y los militares: la narrativa de Marcos Aguinis 1963-2000  (Edwin Mellen Press: June 2001).  Dr. López-Calvo also published five book chapters and articles, including "La negociación de las diferencias sociales en Marcos Aguinis: descolonización de la identidad cultural judía ante la adversidad,"  Revista Iberoamericana 66.191 (2000): 393-405, and three book reviews, including “Teatro chileno y modernidad: identidad y crisis social,” María de la Luz Hurtado, Alba de América 19.35-6 (2000): 393-6.  In addition, he published four dictionary entries in Notable Twentieth-Century Latin American Women: A Biographical Dictionary.  Cynthia Tompkins and David W. Foster. Eds. (Westport, Connecticut:  Greenwood, 2001).  He also presented seven scholarly papers, including "La imagen distópica del militante y de 'los ingleses de América' en la narrativa chilena en el exilio" at Modern Language Association (Chicago, Dec. 27-30, 1999).  He will be teaching in Madrid this summer as part of FORSPRO (Foreign Study Program), in which several students from our program will participate.

We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.

~Jose Ortega y Gasset~

By Men Tran, Lab Director

The Language Lab of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is located in King Hall D-1041.  It now has thirty-five Sony-5030 audio units that use standard cassette tapes and eight Panasonic AG-500R video playback units.  Students can use the facility to carry out their independent practices or watch videotapes as part of their homework assignments.

 The Language Lab also carries more than 600 recordings of music and literary works in Chinese, French, German, Japanes, and Spanish.  The Lab also features a video library, which consists of nearly 500 titles and a collection of more than 15,000 slides.  A growing number of CDs and computer programs are also part of rich resources available at the Lab.  This year we underwent a major computer upgrade in the Language lab.  We replaced the old Macs with sixteen new PCs.  The new computers are Dell Pentium III 733mhz with 128mb of RAM.  In addition to these sixteen new computers, we also installed a video streaming server, a database server, and an ICM (Information and Communication Manager) teaching console plus sixteen DIVACE Duo student stations.  DIVACE is the most comprehensive tool ever available to explore digital media from a media server, the internet or a hard disk.  Unlike other media players in the market, DIVACE is not only a digital player but a recorder as well, thus opening unlimited venues for instructional usage.  If everything goes according to the schedule, the upgraded lab will be open for students in the Spring quarter of 2001.


Hiroko Ardnt, BA, Japanese, is currently pursuing her teaching credential at the Charter College of Education, CSULA.


Veronica Billan, BA, Spanish, 2000 is currently in the Single-Subject Waiver Program in the Charter College of Education.  She is also teaching Spanish at Grant High School in the San Fernando Valley.


Eduardo Brambila, BA, Spanish, is enrolled in the MA program in applied linguistics at the University of Illinois, Urbana.


Froylan Cabuto, BA, Spanish, 1996; MA, Spanish, 1998 has just been hired in a tenure-track position at Cerritos Community College.


Rosa L. Cázares-Luna received her BA in Spanish in 1993.  Later she earned an MA in TESOL, a BA in Latin American Studies, and she is currently working on her doctorate in Education at the Claremont Graduate School of Education.  Rosa has taught at Malabar Elementary School since 1996.  She is married and, in December 2000, she and her husband became the proud parents of Andrés.

Lizbeth Sánchez Gastelum, a double major in Spanish and Speech Communication, received a BA in 1998.   Upon graduation she worked for Universal Studios’ Corporate Communications Department and later taught at Holy Family High School.  Fall, 2000 she entered the MA program at New Mexico State University.  After her first semester at NMSU, she is well on her way toward earning her Master’s in Spanish literature.


Deborah J. Gill (B.A. in Spanish from CSLA) defended her doctoral dissertation at USC and accepted an Assistant Professorship of Spanish at Penn State University, Du Bois.


Mirella Gutiérrez, BA Spanish, minor in Comparative Linguistics, 1998 was the 1999 recipient of the Summer Workshop on Foreign Language Teaching.  The award is given to only one student from each California State University campus.  Mirella is currently employed as a Spanish and English teacher at John Marshall Secondary Fundamental School in Pasadena, California.


Claudia Ossorio, MA, Spanish, 2000 was selected to participate in an NEH Summer Institute for middle and high school teachers of Spanish.  The Institute was held at UCLA this past summer.  The goals of the Institute were to develop instructional strategies suitable for heritage Spanish speakers, and to develop leaders in the teaching of Spanish to Spanish speakers in the schools.


Sonia Ramos Romero, BA, Spanish, 1996, married Ricardo Romero and they are the proud parents of Timothy Romero who is now four months old.


Gloria Maritza Ramos, BA, Spanish and Child Development, 1998 is currently teaching at Blythe Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.


Lesly Robles, BA, Spanish, 1999 is currently teaching at Garfield High School in Los Angeles.


Patricia Ruiz, BA, Spanish, 1994 and Olivia Ramírez, BA, Spanish, 1994 are both teaching at Belmont High School in Los Angeles.


Elvira L. Vilches (M.A. in Spanish from CSLA) joined the Spanish faculty (one of whom is Jorge Marí, her husband, who also holds an MA in Spanish from CSLA) at the University of North Carolina at Raleigh. Both presented outstanding papers at the most recent MLA Convention in Washington.


To have another language is to possess a second soul.



The editors of The Language Mirror welcome comments and suggestions:

Dr. Joseph Chrzanowski

Dr. Maria Dolores Costa

Dr. Qingyun Wu

Dr. Catherine Ryu

Department phone: (323) 343-4230