Are you just an -ophone?

Post 2 – Maxime Lavallee

Why do we use the words Francophone, Anglophone, and Allophone in Canada? I hear these used all the time and even tend to use them myself without really thinking about the impact of such words. I’ve employed them quite often in my writing as a student and have used these words to discuss a variety of education-related topics. After some reflection, I realized that in Canada and Quebec these words have developed a variety of connotations, positive and negative, and have essentially become restrictive labels.

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Can you believe that one day you wake up and the first word popping in your head is English?

by Haoqiu Zhang

In the first week after I arrived in Montreal, I found a place to stay through Airbnb. I lived in a locally owned accommodation. The neat, lovely apartment was managed by a young couple. The wife was from Alberta and the husband was from France. The wife was smart and pretty and the husband was handsome but a little bit shy. They were quite hospitable and we had great fun talking, in English, of course.

As far as I could remember, in the chatting I mentioned that my English was not very good, especially my oral English. Then the host said, “you know what, I could speak little English when I came to this city. I fell in love with this city first and then I found my wife. After many years of living with my wife here, one day I woke up, opening my eyes, and the first word in my head was English, not French any more.”

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Montreal code-switching

Natalie Lark

Like most other North American cities, if you wander down the streets of Montreal and through its neighborhoods, you will hear most of the languages of the world spoken and brought to the city by immigrants.

However, Montreal offers a particular twist to linguistic diversity in urban areas by the number of native-born speakers using two languages in their day-to-day lives (French and English), while the immigrants can use three or more languages. So, this final post is dedicated to my favorite topic called code-switching in Montreal, in which I am about to discuss the reasons of code-switching mentioned in the textbook and based on my own observations.

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Pros and Cons of Multilingualism

Natalie Lark

In chapter 10, Van Herk talks about multilingualism and multilinguals who grow up speaking different languages subconsciously without thinking about their language proficiency.

First, I would like to define multilingualism, and then to talk about its advantages and disadvantages. What is multilingualism? Who is considered mulilingual? And what are the benefits of being multilingual? To answer all these questions, I’d like to go over the definition of the word multilingualism first, and then to move on to multilinguals, speakers of two or more languages and their language skills.
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Problematizing “For Example”

Teachers often use examples to illustrate the point they want to make. As a language teacher, I am not an exception. While giving examples in my classes, I used to make many culturally embedded references, and when I did, many students’ showed a heightened interest. However, while I was reading Van Herk’s What is Sociolinguistics?, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the examples he used in the textbook. I have been thinking about this sense of unease for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to articulate it until I read an article written by Patricia Duff (2004), and I found what it was that bothered me.

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A Discussion on “Language Talents”

Jamie (Xuan Zhao)

We always hear people talk about whether a person is “gifted at languages”, and we are dying to know if “language talents” really exist: is it true that someone was just born to be so lucky that they learn a second language in no time? Recently I read an interesting article about language talents. The author was inspired by a BBC documentary: Horizon Unveiling the Baby Myth, which talked about the process of babies’ language learning and its relationship with external environment.

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A Special Case of Language Anxiety?

By Wai In Chan

In one of our last classes, Lauren Godfrey-Smith gave an amazing lecture on language anxiety and the experiences of people who went through language anxiety. It was a really emotional experience for me because I felt that the study was acknowledging and validating my feelings about speaking and learning French in Montreal. Over 25 years of my life I have been learning French as a second language in English as a first language schools, and I STILL feel so much anxiety using the language that I avoid it at all costs even until today.

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