The LiTgloss project is a collection of texts written in languages other than English. The texts are of literary, cultural, or historical interest to speakers of English, and likely (we think) to be better appreciated if read in the original language. Our goal is to make them accessible by providing semantic and syntactical help, and to provide supplementary materials which help the students see the text in its literary, artistic, historical, cultural context. The site was created in 1999, and is a work in progress.
The project is the fruit of the conviction that American students of foreign languages should have the opportunity to read important and complex texts written in the languages they are learning. We hope to encourage further study of the language by offering a glimpse of the intellectual wealth to which fluency would give access. We want to enable American students to appreciate the complexity and sophistication of other cultures, which media portrayals sensationalize or trivialize. It is difficult to achieve this mission via traditional language pedagogy, yet it is important that the cultural and linguistic "veil" separating American students from other cultures be sometimes lifted. The LiTgloss project is intended to promote a meaningful engagement with important texts on their own terms.
The LiTgloss site was made possible by an educational technology grant from the Office of the Provost of the University at Buffalo. Volunteer efforts by UB graduate students, undergraduates, alumni and faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences have sustained momentum well beyond initial goals. Generous and cheerfully given technical support has been indispensable, and thanks for this help are due to the staff of Computing and Information Technology, especially the Wings web team and the graphic designers at iMedia. Past and present chairs of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures have provided unstinting encouragement, as have colleagues. Special thanks are due to the high school teachers whose students were among the first to use and evaluate the site: Mr. Paul Maher, of West Seneca East Senior High School, and Mrs. Laura Loehr, of the Amherst Central High School. The original tech support member of the team and the chief technical advisor for the project is Joseph S. Testa II of Buffalo, currently a Computer Science major at the University of Maryland. The founder and director of the project is Maureen Jameson.