Exploring thoughts while Riding the Waves of Variation (by Sumanthra Govender)

 

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BILD has given me the opportunity to discover multiple points of view about socio-cultural change and identity fluidity. This safe space has also allowed me to delve into and question different aspects of linguistic change and diversity. An inherent characteristic of language is its variation. In recent months, I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of language variation: how languages move on, change, and diversify themselves from their “root”. I’ve also had similar thoughts about the speakers of these languages. With my research focus on minority language communities, specifically adult heritage language learners and mixed heritage identities, I’ve been wondering how these learners and their identities are being realised in relation to the “three waves of language variation” (Eckert, 2012) in sociolinguistics. Continue reading

So what can we do? (by Dr. Monica Heller)

Monica Heller is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her most recent book, with L. Bell, M. Daveluy, M. McLaughlin and H. Noël, is Sustaining the Nation: the Making and Moving of Language and Nation (2015, Oxford University Press). 

A few months ago Mela Sarkar asked me to consider contributing a blog post. I told her I wasn’t sure what I had to say. Then, well, Autumn 2016 happened, and it became obvious that the least I could do was to write what I was thinking, which is that this is, once again, a time when attention to language-as-power is really, really, important. I was moved to write today, because before lunchtime I was drenched in evidence. Continue reading

Vers une prise en compte des variations intralinguistiques dans l’enseignement de la grammaire du français au Québec (by Joël Thibeault and Dr. Isabelle Gauvin)

Didacticiens des langues, Joël Thibeault et Isabelle Gauvin sont professeurs, respectivement à l’Université de Regina et à l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Ils s’intéressent, entre autres, à la prise en compte du répertoire linguistique des élèves, aussi pluriel soit-il, dans l’enseignement de la grammaire du français.  

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BILD, a three-year retrospective, 2013-2016 (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

It began in the fall of 2013. Patricia Lamarre of the Université de Montréal, my McGill departmental colleague Bronwen Low, and I finally managed to get together one beautiful autumn afternoon DieuDuCiel!Menu.jpgat the Dieu du Ciel! microbrewery on Laurier (the beer is extraordinary) and we tossed around ideas for spreading the word about critical sociolinguistics research, specifically as it might be relevant to education, while thinking out loud about how important, difficult and fundamental it is to mentor junior scholars. They are the future. But they have to feel very supported in their explorations into different ways of doing “being scholars.” Continue reading

Queer and here in Montreal: My perception of living as an Asian gay man in a bilingual city (by Daniel Mo)

Daniel Mo is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Second Language Education program at McGill University. His research mainly focuses on second language assessment. He is now working on his thesis investigating the effectiveness of formative assessment at the tertiary level.


 

 

I got my first tattoo on August 16th, 2016 to celebrate my one-year anniversary living in Montreal. I chose the pattern twenty-four in Roman numerals since it was also my twenty-fourth birthday just a couple of weeks ago. It has been such an amazingly delightful year that I felt I needed something personal and permanent to remember the good time. The graduate courses at McGill are absolutely enlightening; the friends I have met, mostly teacher-turned scholars, are both intelligent and inspiring; the multicultural social events happening every day are fascinating; the friendly neighbourhood makes it so easy to settle down and build a new nest for myself. This year, I live as an international student pursuing a master degree, which has been the core of my life; however, equally significantly, I live as an Asian gay man in a bilingual city. Continue reading

Oh là là! Responding to the Globe and Mail’s criticisms of French immersion (by Stephen Davis)

I have come to know French immersion deeply over the years as a student, teacher, and researcher in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Throughout my life, this instructional program has been a source of tremendous enrichment, as it has been for millions of Canadians before me since its beginnings in 1965. Moreover, the benefits of French immersion have been documented extensively in peer-reviewed research, which include strong French proficiency, positive cultural identity, and social closeness to native French speakers. Nevertheless, writers for the Globe and Mail have repeatedly cast French immersion in an uncharitable light. I would like to respond to two relatively recent and especially erroneous articles: French immersion could do with a dose of reality (Gee, 2016) and There’s just one problem with French immersion… well, several, actually (Wente, 2016). Continue reading