A Discussion on Identity and English as a Global Language

Posted by Cheryl Lingjuan Yan (Post #2)

The word “Multilingualism” refers to the use of two or more languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers (Tucker, 1999). When I first came to Canada, I found people here in Montreal to be amazing. Most people are at least bilingual and almost everyone can speak three or four languages. People all come from different background, or, to be more specific, have different identities, for instance, Canadian, French, half-Spanish, full-Korean, etc. The reason why Montrealers can speak so many languages derives from the city’s history, and it also may partially be because of its colonial culture. Quebec was founded and colonized by French settlers for a long time. Therefore, French culture has a strong influence on Quebec. In addition, Canada is one of the members of the British Commonwealth. Perhaps these are the reasons people in Montreal are at least bilingual in English and French.

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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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Mandy’s language biography – A Chinese girl and her Latin languages

Shengwen Xu

I was born in the Southern part of China. I speak a major dialect in China, Cantonese, with my families and of course, Mandarin, which is a mandatory subject for all Chinese students. Although Cantonese is only a regional dialect in China, its influence and exchange with other language is related to the immigration history. Most of the early Chinese immigrants in English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, the UK, etc. are from the southern provinces of China, thus bringing the language of Cantonese to the world. Now familiar English words like Dim Sum, Wonton, Wok, Chow Mien, mostly words of food, come from Cantonese instead of Mandarin.

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