Sapir in Montreal (by Patricia Houde)

In this post, I will discuss ideas that emerged while reading Mehdi Babaei’s post as well as the first chapter of Aneta Pavlenko’ (2014) book: The bilingual mind and what it tells us about language and thought. Thanks to Mela Sarkar for recommending it. Since the city of Montreal is at the centerpiece of this reflection, I’d like to provide a brief description as offered by Wikipedia:

«Montréal est la deuxième plus grande ville du Canada et se situe dans le sud de la province du Québec, dont elle est la principale métropole3. Elle est la ville francophone la plus peuplée d’Amérique4 et aussi l’une des plus grandes villes francophones du monde. Montréal est considérée comme la quatrième ville francophone au monde après Paris5,6,7,8. Sa population est trois fois plus nombreuse que celle de la ville de Québec, la capitale de la province9. En 2014, la ville comptait 1 988 243 habitants10 et son aire urbaine plus de quatre millions11. En 2011, environ 50 % de sa population était de langue française, 13 % était de langue anglaise et 33 % était d’une autre langue12, faisant ainsi de Montréal une des villes les plus cosmopolites du monde13.» 

Continue reading


Multilingualism, Translation and Identity (by Mehdi Babaei)

In this post, I will address the question Lauren raised in her post last week: what makes you feel bi/multilingual? First, I will explain how I perceive multilingualism, and then I will present my experience with translation as an example of what makes me feel multilingual. While I find Lauren’s question intriguing, I even have some further questions: what does it mean by bilingualism/multilingualism? If multilingualism refers to someone being able to use or speak several languages, then what level of proficiency serves as an indicator for a person being bi/multilingual: limited, professional, full, or native (native-like)? How is proficiency defined? And more specifically, does the term multilingualism have the same sense in the eyes of those who belong to a language education community (like BILD members) and those who are outside the field?
Continue reading

On (re)claiming my bilingualism (by Lauren Godfrey-Smith)

I’m writing this from my brother’s house in Melbourne, Australia, where outside the window in front of me are the same (or similar) Monet-esque winter skies, red 11421620_10153245919386355_1107122113_ntiled rooves, and native birdsongs that I remember from growing up in Tasmania. When I was a teenager, I left Canada and moved to Australia, and by the time I was in my early twenties, I had a stronger sense of Australian citizenship and identity than I’d ever had about being Canadian. Yet, my persistent Canadian accent and the almost daily question, “Where are you really from?” caused a kind of ‘identity dissonance’: In my heart, I was an Australian with a long family history and strong cultural heritage, but I was marked as a Canadian by the way that I spoke English.
Continue reading