Originally from Virginia in the US, Dr. Cassie Smith-Christmas completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2012 with the thesis titled ‘I’ve lost it here dè a bh’ agam:’ Language Shift, Maintenance, and Code-Switching in a Bilingual Family. Recently, her research on language revitalisation has taken a Family Language Policy approach, with her monograph Family Language Policy: Maintaining an Endangered Language in the Home (Palgrave) out earlier this year.
After the chaos of a summer filled with travelling, working, family visits and July 1st “déménagement”, I was grateful to barbecue with good friends in my new backyard. We
reconnected over food, stories and laughter, updating each other on our summer adventures. The stories were told in a variety of languages too, showing off the multilingual competencies of my friends. English seemed to be the common language, but at a few different moments throughout the evening, some groups formed to share and laugh in Arabic or Spanish, neither of which I speak or understand. I observed these small groups admiringly…but with the distinct feeling that I was an observer, an outsider.
My first year in Montréal, Québec, has been full of learning and adventure. My coursework in the Master of Arts in Second Language Education program at McGill University has expanded my knowledge of the developmental stages of language acquisition, the types of corrective feedback most conducive to students’ learning, and how to think critically about the social contexts surrounding second language education today. Beyond the classroom, I’ve prepared for my thesis research, improved my snowshoeing abilities, and have thus far evaded the clutches of death whilst navigating Montréal’s bike paths. But perhaps the most interesting lesson this city has taught me came in the form of a self-discovery. This year, I learned that I am a “typical Canadian.” Continue reading →
Bonjour. Hi, I’m Wendy, an Australian anthropology student visiting Montreal as an intern this summer, and now I’m a guest blogger on BILD this week which I’m pretty excited about. I also have my own blog (Wendy’s Out of Station). The research I do includes a focus on gender, which is sometimes a confusing area, so I invite you to come on a bit of a visual journey, and think about gender and identity.
Firstly, gender isn’t biological. Sure you’re born with genitals. Please don’t show me. And perhaps you like to get friendly and intimate with certain kinds of people. Again, please don’t show me. But, like your identity, you learn, evolve, live and perform your gender. You learn what behaviour you like. What clothes make you feel fabulous. You learn what people expect and sometimes you perform that for them. Different cultures have different expectations of gender which can lead to funny and not so funny confusions. Sometimes you experiment, change, perform, try something a bit crazy just for fun, just to stretch yourself. Some days you’re the straight guy in the suit, while other days you’re… well not. Some days you just like to play at confusing people. I mean a joke can be entertaining if it’s just to confuse – but it’s totally not cool if you act to hurt or use someone.