Skip to main content

Language Table: Something to Talk About

Our Language Table series, Something to Talk About, offers a chance to meet other people for fun, informal activities and casual conversation. Anyone in the Northwestern community is welcome to join and participate.

  • Free and open to all members of the Northwestern community
  • Events are mostly held online throughout the academic year
  • Advanced registration is required to access the session.
  • Each event highlights a specific aspect of US English and/or American culture
  • Ask questions, share experiences and opinions with peers and ELP staff
  • A supportive environment for speakers at any level of English proficiency

Winter Quarter 2024 - Something to Talk About Language Table Events Series

  • One sign-up form (click here)
    • Register for one, two, or all of the language table events for this quarter
    • If you sign up for an event, but your availability changes, contact us by email or submit the form again
    • ELP will contact you with ZOOM meeting information for events that you have registered for
  • Format for language table events for Winter 2024 -> 5 remote events (via Northwestern ZOOM) + 1 in-person event (see table below for more information)
  • Language Table Event Schedule for Winter 2024 
ELP Lang Table Event Schedule Winter 2024
Date Time Event Name (format) Event Description Hosted By

1/12/24 (Fri)

- CANCELED

11:30 - 12:30 PM Language Focus: Making Requests (Remote) 
This language table event features a language focus on making requests.
How comfortable (or uncomfortable) do you feel when you need to make a request to a colleague, peer, family member, or a complete stranger?  In your native language, you don't need to give it much thought.  You choose the right words and make your request.  However, in any language that is not your native language, there are linguistic, sociolinguistic, and pragmatic steps that must be taken into consideration before making the request.  This session will highlight the language function of 'making requests', including the range of polite requests to requests made when you are upset or angry.
Brian Hampson (ELP Assistant Director)
1/19/24 12:00 - 1:00 PM Wintertime Activities Around Chicagoland (Remote)
This language table event will discuss various types of winter activities that you can enjoy in and around Chicagoland.
Winter in Chicago has a bad reputation for being cold, snowy, windy, and miserable.  Although it has been unseasonably warm for most of winter so far, that doesn't mean that all winter activities are canceled this year!  If you're looking for something to do outside or inside during the winter months, this session is perfect for you!  
Jen will discuss a variety of wintertime activities that are interesting and fun.  These activities can help you get through the cold months to come as we set our sights on spring.
Jen Alexander (ELP Language Pedagogy Specialist)
1/26/24 12:00 - 1:00 PM American Memes, Emojis, & Corny Jokes (Remote)
This language table event will focus on humor and comedy found within American memes, emojis, and corny jokes.
Understanding what is funny and why in a second language can be extremely challenging.  Humor is loaded with both cultural and/or linguistic references.  
Autumn will discuss a variety of American memes, emojis (and their meanings), as well as corny jokes.  This event will challenge participants to think about why something is funny and to break down the source of this humor in memes, emojis, and jokes. 
Autumn Bryant (ELP Speech Language Pathologist)
2/2/24 12:00 - 1:00 PM Working with Advisors, Mentors, & PIs (Remote)
At this language table event, participants will discuss the experience of working with advisors, mentors, and PIs.
Your graduate student experience will be greatly impacted by those who oversee your work. This session will discuss the factors that go into developing an effective and supportive relationship with advisors, mentors, and PIs, including preparation, expectations, initiative, and feedback. 
Julia Moore (ELP Senior Director)
2/9/24 12:00 - 1:00 PM Valentine's Day + Relationships, Dating, & Marriage in the U.S. (Remote)
Join us for a Valentine's Day special event: Valentine's Day + Relationships, Dating,  & Marriage in the United States.
Join us for a jam-packed language table event that will focus on the Valentine's Day holiday, including the history of this day as well as how it is typically celebrated now.  Mark will spend some time during this language table event to focus on dating and relationships: what dating is like in the U.S., what types of relationships are common, and what marriage and households look like in the United States.
Mark Temenak (ELP Speech Language Pathologist)
2/16/24 - RESCHEDULED TO 3/1/24 Improv for English Practice (In-Person) Rescheduled to 3/1/24 (see below)
2/23/24 (rescheduled from 1/12/24) 12:00 - 1:00 PM Language Focus: Making Requests (Remote)
This language table event features a language focus on making requests.
How comfortable (or uncomfortable) do you feel when you need to make a request to a colleague, peer, family member, or a complete stranger?  In your native language, you don't need to give it much thought.  You choose the right words and make your request.  However, in any language that is not your native language, there are linguistic, sociolinguistic, and pragmatic steps that must be taken into consideration before making the request.  This session will highlight the language function of 'making requests', including the range of polite requests to requests made when you are upset or angry.
Brian Hampson (ELP Assistant Director)
3/1/24 (rescheduled from 2/16/24) 3:00 - 4:00 PM Improv for English Practice (In-Person)
For the final language table event in Winter 2024, join us for an in-person language table event that will introduce the concept of Improv (Improvisation) for English Practice.
This event will be held in-person, on the Evanston campus in the TGS Commons room (2122 Sheridan Road).  Tami will lead participants through fun games focused on verbal and nonverbal communication. Don’t miss this chance to laugh, relax, have fun, and learn more about communicating in English. (Light snacks will be provided).
Tami Wysocki (ELP Language Pedagogy Specialist)