8 August 2017: Yale-NUS multilingual magazine Tones promotes intercultural understanding and diversity

By Wen Kin Lim | Images provided by Xie Yihao and Minsoo Bae

Inspired by the wide range of diversity and cultures on campus, some students at Yale-NUS College have published the College’s first multilingual magazine called Tones. The magazine, which is run entirely by students, provides an avenue for the student community to express themselves in different languages and celebrates the cultural diversity and talent of writers at Yale-NUS.

To date, there have been two issues published. Each issue of Tones adopts a different theme for writers to base their pieces around.

The first issue, which was published in January 2017, was themed ‘Makan’ (‘to eat’ in Malay). It featured 14 articles in 10 different languages centred on the theme of food. This theme was particularly apt because it recognised how food is a unifying experience for people of all races and cultures.

The second issue was published in April 2017. Themed ‘Dual’, the 13 articles in 11 different languages explored the experience of speaking a second language and the perspective it brings while also introducing a different manner of interpretation.

Each article emphasises a different cultural aspect that is expressed uniquely in the writer’s language. The magazine also provides an accompanying English translation to enable greater accessibility to wider audiences. Readers are also able to better appreciate the meaning of each article and the writing style of each author.

Xie Yihao (Class of 2017), co-founder of Tones, said, “We hope to promote multicultural understanding through the interchange of experiences and ideas from people of different backgrounds.” By publishing such a magazine, Yihao’s work on Tones helps to translate the statistical diversity of Yale-NUS’ student body into tangible learning and cultural exchange. “Tones can also showcase our peers’ writing talents and cultures that might not have been revealed previously, and kindle interests in language learning and cultural appreciation,” he said.

Minsoo Bae (Class of 2020), an editor of the magazine, said, “In a campus where the student body comprises over 60 different nationalities, of whom 97% of them speak more than one language, it is imperative to have a platform for diverse expressions.”

Laurel Fantauzzo, Writing Fellow at Yale-NUS and faculty advisor for Tones said, “There is such richness outside the English language and a magazine like Tones reminds us of the ‘music’ that the many languages available to us at Yale-NUS can create. The platform that Tones provides is an important and valuable one; even seeing the art of a different language on the page opens a new window of possibilities into human expression.”

The magazine draws inspiration from a similar multilingual publication, Accents, at Yale College in New Haven, USA. Minsoo, who had visited Yale in March 2017 with other Yale-NUS students, said, “Accent seems like what Tones would be after a few years; an expansion from its initial role of being a magazine to a platform to host multicultural events.”

The organising team hopes to have one issue every semester with quality content in a wide variety of languages. They also have plans to expand the magazine to other publication forms, such as comics.

Readers can view the articles online on their WordPress page. They can also follow the magazine’s activities on Facebook.