The Centre for Modern Languages and Literature seeks to study and develop knowledge of the application of modern languages in society, media and discourse. It also aims to develop Malaysian literary works aimed at furthering our cultural and linguistic heritage.
Its mission is to:
Conduct applied research in high impact projects
Share research and other forms of knowledge across disciplines and education systems
Extend, exchange, and apply this knowledge in the wider society and local community
Develop research and enterprise partnerships with other institutions and communities
Engage in collaborative links with other institutions of higher learning and think-tanks to produce academic studies that will be of value to nation-building
Dr Roy delivering a riveting talk on ‘The Life of Pi”
The Department of Modern Languages (DML) in collaboration with the Centre for Modern Languages and Literature (CMLL) organized a talk based on the novel, ‘Life of Pi’, given by Assistant Professor Dr Swagata Sinha Roy. The talk was held on 15 March 2014 at PC Gallery, Faculty of Creative Industries, UTAR.
On the day, FCI academic staff filled the room to listen to Dr Roy’s one-hour talk. The main objective of this talk is to promote discussion and analysis of the book and movie.
The talk opened with a brief introduction of the author, Yann Martel. Other than the undoubtedly popular ‘Life of Pi’, Yan Martel has also authored six equally impressive books. At the beginning of her speech, Dr Roy did not fail to emphasize the extent of the novel’s popularity. Then, she went in-depth on how the story was conceptualized by the author. In sharing the story with the audience, Dr Roy explained how the story was structured in three parts: Part 1 - Toronto and Pondicherry, Part 2 – The Pacific Ocean and Part 3 - Benito Juarez Infirmary, Tomatlan, Mexico. Analyzing a book or novel cannot be done without looking at the main characters in the story. Thus, Dr Roy described briefly the main characters in the story before analyzing them. There is no doubt that this literary piece has inspired most people or at least has touched some souls because it revolves around the will to live and the nature of religious beliefs which people could easily relate to. Other than the themes, Dr Roy also looked at two other literary elements such as the motif and symbol used in the story and their implications. In writing this amazing story, the author has used two important elements which are the setting (place and time) and foreshadowing. Before moving on to the film, Dr Roy has also shared the author, Yann Martel’s personal comments on his favourite character in the book, his direction in developing the story and certainly his own contributions and involvement in the making of the film.
The second part of the talk focused on the movie directed by the famous and skilled filmmaker, Ang Lee who has also given several other great films. With the magical touch of one of the greatest filmmaker of today, the movie turned out to be a visual treat to many. According to Dr Roy, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the differences between the novel and the film. Although there are a number of differences between the novel and the film in term of the length of the story, characterizations, description of certain elements and so on, we cannot denied that the ‘marriage’ between Yann Martel and Ang Lee has produced a great artistic work. In fact, Dr Roy concluded her talk by saying she believes Yann Martel and Ang Lee are a match made in paradise. The talk ended with a lively interactive Q & A session where the audiences asked a range of interesting questions pertaining to the novel and movie.
Talk on Sexual Oppression of Women in Literature Part 1: The Bondmaid, by Norhaniza bt Md Ismail
Norhaniza bt Md Ismail and Adzura with Dr Nadya Supian, Chairperson of CMLL
The Centre for Modern Languages & Literature recently organized a talk on Female Sexual Oppression in South East Asian Literature. The enlightening talk was given by Norhaniza Ismail, a lecturer with the Department of Modern Languages, Faculty of Creative Industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman on 23 May 2014. It was held at the PC Gallery, Faculty of Creative Industries.
The novel featured was “The Bondmaid”, written by Catherine Lim. Norhaniza began her talk by introducing the writer, Catherine Lim. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia. Her passion for writing began when she was in Singapore. She gets her inspiration from observations of townsfolk and recollections of childhood. Lim’s writings centres around women and oppression, life of unvalued female children and class distinction in the Chinese society.
Norhaniza summarized the short story and shared the statements of problem. The themes of the story are on how social hierarchy leads to oppression, women’s sufferings and men being the oppressors. She also aimed to enlighten readers on how social hierarchy and financial dependency have sexually tyrannized women in the past and also to highlight the bondmaid Han’s creative ways of surviving patriarchal sexual oppression.
Postmodern feminist theory was also explained in relation to this novel. Norhaniza asserted that women from similar nation, with equivalent culture may face diverse challenges. Different geographical locations and different customs and traditions cause hurdles to women in differing circumstances. However, women are not all passive as some are capable to limit oppression.
The talk ended with a brief summary of the novel and a lively Q &A session.
Members of FCI with Norhaniza Ismail
Talk on Sexual Oppression of Women in Literature Part 2 by Adzura Elier bt Ahmad
Adzura Elier with Dr Nadya Supian, Chairperson of CMLL
The Centre for Modern Languages & Literature recently organized a talk on Female Sexual Oppression of Women in Literature to UTAR staff members on 23 May 2014. The talk was given by Adzura Elier bt Ahmad, lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Mara and was held at the PC Gallery, Faculty of Creative Industries.
Adzura began her talk by explaining what we process and internalise by referring to the iceberg model. She also talked about how literature is a conditioning tool. The way fairy tales or stories are told varies according to gender. The way the media and society perceive things play a role in shaping the way readers look at things too. Adzura gave the first example of ‘Inem’ by Pramoedya Anata Toer whereby the protagonist in the story is an 8 year old girl who is forced into marriage due to poverty. She was brutalised for discontinuing her part in that sexual contract. However, it is socially acceptable for her family to punish her continually for that. Other examples quoted by Adzura include films such as ‘Water’ by Deepa Mehta.
Another text quoted by Adzura was ‘Perempuan’ by Shahnom Ahmad. This is a local example of the more subtle ways women are sexually oppressed. The protagonist’s father ordered her to marry his older friend who is revered, possibly as a way for him to also latch on to the ‘greatness’. Siti’s mother stood by her husband’s decision and overlooked Siti’s protests. The way she sees herself and how she is treated can be clearly seen in how she treats inanimate objects and her pet cat.
‘Collector of Treasures’ by Bessie Head and ‘Killing US Softly’, a documentary series by Jean Kilbourne are among the text and series further quoted by Adzura in this talk. The talk ended with a beautiful quote taken from the book ‘The Secret’ which talks about being positive and staying positive.
Talk on “Action Research: From Knowledge Discovery to Understanding” by Dr Radha M. K. Nambiar
Dr Radha (left) receiving a token of appreciation from Dr Nadya on behalf of CMLL and Yogesvary on behalf of DML
The UTAR Department of Modern Languages (DML) in the Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI), in collaboration with the Centre for Modern Languages and Literature (CMLL) had recently organised a talk in the UTAR PC Gallery in the Petaling Jaya Campus. Dr Radha M. K. Nambiar, Associate Professor at the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) gave a very inspiring talk on Action Research to UTAR staff members. The topic of her talk was Action Research: From Knowledge Discovery to Understanding. Organising the event was Head of the DML Research Committee Surita Mogan and her team. Attending the talk were CMLL Chairperson Dr Nadya Supian, Head of DML Yogesvary a/p Alahakone, all the lecturers of DML. A number of lecturers from FCI and the Faculty of Accountancy and Management also attended the talk to learn more on Action Research.
Dr Radha began her talk by emphasising the importance of doing research as educators and academics and gave a brief summary of the different types of qualitative research that can be undertaken. “Examples include grounded theory, case study, narrative research, and so on. Action research is one type of qualitative research, although it is possible to conduct action research using mixed mode methodology as well.” She explained.
She then went on to define action research in greater detail, stating that it is cyclical research that requires constant re-evaluation; action research is also participatory and collaborative in that the teacher as researcher and participant of his/her own project would need the collaboration of students for the research to be successful. Reflection is an important component of action research as the researcher will reflect on the findings of the research to then apply the findings in future classes. The ultimate goal of action research is not only to expand the pool of knowledge derived from the classroom but also to use the knowledge to transform the classroom in a more positive way so as to ensure more effective learning among students and also teachers.
Dr Radha outlined the different methodologies that could be employed to do action research; this includes teaching journals and learning diaries generated by teachers and students respectively. Interviews, focus groups, online forums as well as recordings of classes could all be used in action research. She stressed that merely conducting surveys would be insufficient for a successful action research project because researchers need to incorporate a reflective component to their research plan that could be applied to transform the teaching in classrooms that were the site for action research.
Dr Radha explaining about Action Research
The talk ended with Dr Radha sharing a few examples of action research undertaken by herself as well as her colleagues at UKM. Audience members were very active during the question and answer session and asked a range of interesting questions pertaining to action research and the feasibility of its implementation in their classrooms.
Talk on “Research in Action Part 1- Discourse Analysis: Persuasive Techniques in Internet Romance Scams” by Dr David Yoong
UTAR Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI) recently welcomed Dr David Yoong, a discourse analyst and senior lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya to give a talk entitled “Persuasive Techniques in Internet Romance Scams.”
The talk, held at the PC Gallery on 20 August 2014 was organised by the Centre for Modern Languages and Literature (CMLL) under its Research in Action series. In her welcoming address, Assistant Professor Dr Nadya Supian as Chairperson of CMLL, declared that this talk will be the first in a series that will feature presentations of published works that will serve as an impetus for further exploration of new and exciting developments in language-based research and methodologies.
In 2012 alone, the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) reports that Internet Romance Scams (IRS) have caused a loss of RM 32.09 million. Using romance and love as bait, romance scammers entice their targets into a romantic relationship before conning them to give money. In addition to monetary losses, victims also suffer psychological trauma. During the presentation, Dr David discusses the methods and some findings from a research project that examined a scammer's e-mails in a concluded IRS case. Dr David was granted access to these e-mails and that added credibility to his work.
The talk started with Dr David presenting some newspaper articles on IRS and statistics to show the seriousness of this crime in Malaysia. Then, he also talked about the implications of IRS to the victims such as post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, loss of money and so on. Before moving on to the technical part of his research, he also discussed the characteristics of scammers. Dr David then, outlined the type of analysis he has employed in his research namely genre analysis, thematic based analysis and rhetoric analysis.
The talk ended with a Q&A session with the audience members asking interesting questions on discourse analysis.
Workshop on English Pronunciation: Some Guidelines, by Ms Yogesvary Alahakhone
UTAR Department of Modern Languages (DML), Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI) and the Centre for Modern Languages and Literature (CMLL) joined hands to organise a recent English Language Pronunciation Workshop for UTAR staff at PC 206, FCI, Petaling Jaya Campus.
UTAR Head of Department of the Modern Languages Ms Yogesvary Alahakhone conducted the workshop with the title ‘Pronunciation of English – Some guidelines.’ Present at the Workshop were the Head of Academic Committee Ms Wee Kim Peck, Chairperson of CMLL Dr Nadya Supian, lecturers and management staff.
After the welcome speech by UTAR senior lecturer of FCI Paul Ang Ban Hock, Yogesvary briefed the participants about the historical background of English Language and elaborated on some borrowed words from other languages which are now in the English vocabulary. She also explained on the vowels and consonant sounds and demonstrated on the differences in voiced and unvoiced sounds.
She guided the participants on the sounds of vowels and consonants with explanation on the differences between voiced and unvoiced sounds. The participants also practised pronunciation of words in the worksheets with Yogesvary’s guidance on stress, sibilants and phonetic symbols.The Workshop ended with a question and answer session and Yogesvary gave some tips on improving pronunciation.