Revisiting and Articulating Identity and Belonging in Hong Kong (by Casey Burkholder)

Hong Kong is a complex place. Languages, cultures, and identities are constantly interacting in public, private, and digital spaces. I think this complexity is part of why I first fell in love with the city. In my first life in Hong Kong 2008-2010, I worked as a teacher at a government funded school that largely catered to ethnic minority students. I taught in English. My multilingual students learned in English. They did not learn their home languages in school. They also did not really learn much Chinese. In my time as a teacher, I began to think about the ways that these language policies and—in the case of my school—practices of systemic racial and linguistic segregation, might affect the ways that young people see themselves as citizens in Hong Kong. These notions deeply troubled me as a teacher, and as time has passed, they still trouble me as a person and as a researcher.
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Television, language, culture, place (by Kathleen Green)

Not long ago, I got hooked on a television show called 19-2 (that’s pronounced dix-neuf deux – an important detail for this post). For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it’s a French-language drama about the police officers working in a fictional police station in Montreal. The show is now over, after three addictive seasons. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, don’t worry, I won’t give away any important details that would ruin the experience of watching it for yourself.
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Identités …Languages…& Culturalidades… (by Patricia Houde)

Mon identité, les aspects divers d’une réalité unique qui ne constituent qu’un seul et même être (Dictionnaire Larousse), se définie et est directement liée à la langue que je parle depuis ma naissance, le français, aux personnes qui m’ont permises de me façonner, et au lieux d’où j’ai grandit, St-Boniface. Dans le village à l’époque où j’ai grandit, on entendait parler seulement en français. Il y avait bien sûr les cours d’anglais à l’école primaire et au secondaire, mais on ne parlait pas anglais en classe. La première fois où j’ai eu à parler anglais, je devais avoir environ 16 ans, et c’était quand je suis allée l’étudier à Winnipeg pendant six semaines. Puisque j’étais à ce moment là entourée d’un groupe de jeunes francophones québécois, nous parlions tous en français à l’extérieur des cours. Ce fût ma première expérience enrichissante pour apprendre ma deuxième langue.
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But what about space? (by Casey Burkholder)

I am sitting in my office at the School of Creative Media at City University in Hong Kong. As I am writing, a colleague who sits behind me is editing and subtitling a documentary in Mandarin. Two colleagues sitting three cubicles over are speaking Cantonese. They are saying something about eating. My Chinese is getting better, but not enough to know the nuances about what and where and when these colleagues will be eating. I am sitting here writing in English. Each of these languages: Cantonese/English/Mandarin occupies space differently in the city. Minority languages, including (and certainly not limited to): Arabic, Hindi, Nepali, Tagalog, Thai, and Urdu occupy different spaces. As I live and work and research here in Hong Kong, I’ve been thinking more and more about spaces where languages are accorded privilege, and the spaces where languages and linguistic practices are bothered.
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