Dialect Integration into L2 Classrooms

Mansour Ahmed:

Hi folks,

As we delve deeper into the area of educational sociolinguistics, I hope everyone is enjoying the variety of topics that we have surveyed thus far. Today, I am going to write about dialect incorporation in L2 learning settings/curriculum. I am sure most of you, if not all, have been in L2 (or L3) teaching-learning settings one way or another, i.e. as language learner (L2ers) or as language teachers. Typically, the goal of most L2ers is to become proficient in the target language (and culture) such that they actively and appropriately can participate in a range of communicative contexts and situations. Put differently, while it is vital that L2ers achieve a superb mastery of the grammar and phonology of the TL, it is pivotal that they be Sociolinguistically/interactionally competent. Part of this sociolinguistic competency, I argue, is to have a strong command of the TL dialect(s) and/or varieties; therefore, we as teachers should give them access to informal registers and dialects that are geographically and ethnically different, particularly in foreign language contexts. While textbooks and teaching materials should be designed with this goal in mind, almost all, unfortunately, however, lack this linguistic feature for a range of political and pedagogical reasons. What’s more, most language educators adhere to the prescribed curriculum. As L2 instructors, would you supplement the curriculum and consider integrating common dialectal expressions and use into your L2 activities/teaching? I know that this may be sensitive as some languages have multiple dialects, I am curious which dialect would you choose? Would you be eclectic? Or would you choose one or two dialects over others? Ultimately, we all want our students to use the language effectively and fittingly. For instance, L2ers of Arabic should be able to use and comprehend the language well whether they are in the streets of Sana’a, Damascus, or Cairo. Similarly, L2ers of French should be able to use it suitably whether they are in Quebec City or Paris, and the list goes on.

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Both Particle and Wave: A Discussion on Identity

By: Dean Garlick

During our class on gender and identity, Alison mentioned the fact that when writing about identity we need to establish which frame of reference we are working from. Are we looking at identity as fixed in the structuralist sense, or as fluid and contextual in the post-structuralist sense? This is very good advice for maintaining a clear frame for discussing the topic, yet in thinking about the complexity of identity, it seems to me that in the same way physicists see light as both particle and wave, we may need to see identity as simultaneously fixed and fluid.

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When English is getting increasingly popular in China

By Wei Yang

This is the first time that I come to study and live in a native English speaking country. I have to say that this has been my dream for a long time because of my passion for learning and speaking English started when I was 8 years old. I even imagined myself as an English teacher. I think this imaginary had help me to become who I am today. So now I would like to talk about the influence that English has had on Chinese students.

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Languages change faster than we might think!

Raheel

In the third chapter of the textbook, we read about physical isolation and language change. Van Herk shed some light on some types of linguistic isolation and he touched upon the idea that usually when immigrants revisit their home counties, they find that the spoken language has changed slightly – or even significantly – from how it was when they lived there. Reading that chapter made me think about my own experience. In fact, even though I have been away from my homeland for a relatively short period of time (2 years and a half), I cannot recognise some aspects of language now commonly used in my home country.

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Chinatown vs. Chinese Identity

By Jia Pu——second post

What is your impression of Chinatown? Before coming to Montreal, my understanding of Chinatown all came from online videos and TV programs about it. For me, Chinatown should be a place filled with traditional Chinese features, like the honorific archway, red lanterns and, of course, Chinese characters, which can help to maintain and propel Chinese identity of the immigrants and their offsprings. Meanwhile, as a tourist attraction, Chinatown can provide tourists from all over the world with an experience of Chinese culture. However, what I saw in Chinatown here completely changed my impression of it. I made the decision to visit Chinatown in Montreal the second day after arriving because I thought it would be a good way to relieve me from my homesickness since I could enjoy Chinese food and talk to people  in Chinese instead of French. But what I saw there was almost nothing like what I had imagined before. To my disappointment, there were just a few restaurants and stores operated by Chinese immigrants, which covered quite a small area and looked shabby. Besides, I noticed that even Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese  restaurants could be found in Chinatown, making me more confused about the purpose of building it in the first place. Therefore, I read several articles concerning Chinatown and tried to find the answer.

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‘Gayspeak’ in China: a(nother) case study

Simon Desmarais

During the last two years, I lived and worked in China, and while I was there, I noticed a very interesting phenomenon, related to sexuality and gender. Once again, this is based on my own experience; I haven’t done any legitimate research on this, and also, very importantly, I am not Chinese, I’m not an expert on the Chinese LGBTQ+ community’s linguistic practices, nor do I pretend to be; this post should only be viewed as what it is, an attempt to make sense of my experience regarding specific linguistic practices while living in China.

I think Van Herk (2012) does a very good job of summarizing work on gender and sexuality and language, but I still want to include here the notion of ‘gayspeak’, a set of linguistic features (higher pitch, elongated consonants, etc.) that indexes the speaker as gay. Drawing on work from Cameron and Kulick (2003), he argues that ‘gayspeak’ is used to perform a specific identity, in this case being gay.

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English pronunciation – Can it be a criterion to measure English level?

Yerim Lee

As a speaker, learner, and English teacher, I’ve been wondering what good English pronunciation is. There are numerous kinds of pronunciation in this world, but there’s no definition or criteria of which pronunciation is the ‘good’ one. When I was young, my English teachers used to tell me that I had a good pronunciation, which led to the situation where I often was selected to read the text book out loud. In addition to that, some friends thought my English was very good and even asked me whether I came from the States. Looking back to those days, I think it is a very funny thing that people saw me as having very good level of English only because of my pronunciation. But, did I really have a good pronunciation? What are the criteria to decide so? In my personal opinion, the basis of good pronunciation depends on the perception of listeners.

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