National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC)

The Department of SLS has been heavily involved in the development and maintenance of the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) at the University of Hawai’i, whose structure and mission is outlined below. Professor Richard Schmidt currently serves as Director, and several additional faculty serve as project leaders or in an advisory capacity. Numerous department students have served as research or administrative assistants.

The NFLRC at the University of Hawai’i was established in 1990 under a grant from the US Department of Education, with the broad mission of improving foreign language education in the United States. Originally, the UH NFLRC was one of three such national centers; by August 2002 the number will have increased to 14. The UH NFLRC seeks to contribute to this effort through projects that focus primarily on the less commonly taught languages of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, drawing on institutional strengths at UH in the teaching of these languages as well as the expertise of the SLS department in the fields of applied linguistics and second language acquisition. Total funding from establishment of the NFLRC in 1990 to the present has been $6 million.

The UH NFLRC conducts research on effective strategies for teaching and learning foreign languages, designs new approaches for assessing foreign language ability, and develops instructional materials. Annual summer institutes offer professional development for foreign language teachers from across the U. S. at all levels of instruction. Research results, materials, and assessment instruments are disseminated widely to the foreign language community via the center’s publications division, television linkages, and internet facilities.

Recently completed and about-to-begin NFLRC projects include the following:

  • Task-based language teaching in foreign language education
  • Corpus linguistics for foreign language teaching
  • Conversation analysis as an approach to SLA Heritage language education
  • Distance education for East Asian languages
  • Placement testing & articulation across language programs
  • Elicited imitation as a measure of oral proficiency
  • Sponsorship of the electronic journals Language Learning & Technology and Reading in a Foreign Language
  • Development of databases of resources for foreign language teaching

For more information on publications as well as other aspects of NFLRC projects, contact the Program Coordinator (Jim Yoshioka) at or see the website at


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