BILD is very happy to welcome Melissa J. Enns as our latest guest blogger. Melissa is a graduate student in McGill’s Master of Arts in Second Language Education program. Prior to entering the program, she taught ESL at an academic prep school in Saskatchewan. Her thesis research will center on bridging the gap between research and practice. She authors a language education blog, Ramblings of a Linguaphile. With an undergraduate degree in linguistics and Spanish, she is fascinated by all aspects of language, language acquisition, and language teaching.
In her discussion of translanguaging in Kolkata, Dr. Mela Sarkar beautifully said, “If one is prepared to be linguistically adventurous, I don’t see why there would be any limit to the number of places where one can feel local.”
Interestingly, that is something I have recently been thinking about a good deal. Upon arriving in Montreal last August, my linguistic self-perceptions were promptly turned upside down, as I suddenly found myself in a place where there was no prestige associated with speaking a second language. Instead, bi- and multilingualism are so normal that it felt it would be unusual if I didn’t speak at least two languages. Moreover, I quickly discovered that Spanish seemed to be the “wrong” second language to have here. I found myself insecure about speaking better Spanish than French, particularly when my basic French was most often acknowledged with a swift “Montreal switch.”
Last week, I attended the play J’Accuse, by Annick Lefebvre, at the Centre du Théâtre D’Aujourd’hui in Montréal.
The play is made up of a series of five monologues by five different (fictional) women. Each monologue is an expression of the character’s inner rage (mixed in with some joy and humour and sadness), and a sense of feeling misunderstood. The play is in French.
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 →
When we first started the blog, the BILD group discussed the types of topics and ideas that we wanted to discuss here. Alison spoke about the concept of “sociolinguistic noticing”; here we have a platform to share the little instances of language use that we notice around us in the day-to-day, from our perspective as critical sociolinguists (for example, see Lauren’s post from Australia last year, where she a business was promoting “accent training”, or a collection of Alison’s sociolinguistic noticings here). I would like to contribute something I recently noticed myself, and encourage all of you to consider your own response to this instance. Continue reading →
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.
For us at BILD, part of doing critical sociolinguistics means questioning, challenging, and pushing the boundaries of the way we consider language in society. It can also mean pushing the boundaries of the way we conduct research about languages in society. My PhD research is about non-classroom language anxiety, and when I started planning my study, I knew that I wanted it to reflect this notion of questioning, challenging, and pushing boundaries. One of the ways that I did this was at the methodological level, using walking interviews as one of my sources of data. So, in celebration of walking interviews, I present to you six reasons to love (and maybe try!) walking interviews. Continue reading →