Alma Simounet

Alma_Simounet_2017 closeupAcademic Degree
EdD, Interamerican University (1987)

Areas of Expertise: Bilingualism, Applied Linguistics, Language and Ideology,
Discourse Analysis, Ethnolinguistics

Contact Information

Office location: English Department, Pedreira Building, Office #10 and Office #4, Basement of Pedreira Building, College of Humanities
Office hours: Mondays 7:30-8:30 AM; Wednesdays 7:30-8:30, 10:00-11:00, 3:30-4:30 and by appointment.
Phone: (787) 764-0000 ext. 89654 (Director’s office)
Messages: (787) 764-0000 ext. 89611 (at the English Department office)

Brief biography

Besides my love of family, the two other driving passions that manifested themselves during my childhood were opera and the teaching of English. Opera has left me in ecstasy ever since I was six months old, according to my mother. While I was too young to remember this, I do remember the start of my other passion vividly. As soon as I began to attend school, I, a native speaker of Spanish who had just begun to learn English myself, would gather the neighborhood kids on the patio of our Santurce home and give them English “classes.”

My love of teaching was nurtured by many enriching experiences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I graduated with a B.S. in Special Education. I then traveled to Egypt where I taught English at the American Cultural Center in Cairo until July 1964. My trip ended with a three-month stay in Iran at my sister’s home. My adventures gave me the foundation for later sharing with students in intercultural and ethnolinguistics classes the deeply rooted Islamic cultural traditions, beliefs, and values that guide the lives of many of the people in this misunderstood and misrepresented region.

Back in Puerto Rico, I entered the University of Puerto Rico’s M.A. Program in English at a time when students were required to be versed in all the English literary periods and in English linguistics. This degree opened the door for me to be offered a tenure-track position in 1968. In 1987, I completed a doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics. Today, in 2011, after forty-three years of teaching, I am still working, enjoying to the fullest my undergraduate courses in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication and my graduate courses in Bilingualism, Ethnolinguistics, and Language and Identity. I have taught and/or directed theses and dissertations in the Departments of English, Hispanic Studies, and History and in the Graduate Programs in Translation and Linguistics. I have also taught Spanish as a Foreign Language at Middlebury College in Vermont and at the St.-Croix Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands.

People constantly ask me if I am planning to retire; however, retirement is not a lexical item in my active vocabulary. I enjoy teaching and interacting with my students too much to contemplate abandoning this very special pleasure in life. And so I continue teaching… and listening to opera in my office, enraptured by both pursuits.

Course Syllabi