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University of Iowa News Release

Release: April 24, 2003

UI Professor Wins Grant For Seminar On Bilingualism

A $56,000 federal grant will fund a four-week seminar on bilingualism in Paraguay directed this summer by Mercedes Nino-Murcia, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The funding from the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program will pay for travel and other expenses for 10 graduate students and two K-12 teachers to attend the seminar, which is scheduled for the first four weeks in July.

Nino-Murcia, who is also co-director of the UI Latin American Studies Program, said the seminar would be of interest not just to linguists, but to sociologists, anthropologists, those interested in language policy, and many other disciplines. Anyone interested in participating in the seminar should contact her by April 28 at

Paraguay is an interesting case study because bilingualism is part of the national identity in a way that is not found in any other Latin American countries with strong indigenous populations. Nino-Murcia said that the country provides the perfect backdrop for studying the cultural, linguistic, political and social issues surrounding bilingualism. In Paraguay both the indigenous language, Guarani, and the European language, Spanish, are supported and most of the population speaks more than one language.

Nino-Murcia said those who participate will return with new perspectives on bilingualism that will inform their teaching and research.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Mercedes Nino-Murcia, 319-335-1085,