Matthew’s language biography!


Hello everybody! In class, we were asked to think about our own language biographies and discuss them. This is also a great way of getting the ball rolling for the blog posts. It looks like I’m one of the first students to post anything, so here goes nothing.

Where to start? I’m originally from the north of England, but I’ve been in Montréal since 2008. My first language is English. It’s the language I grew up speaking and it’s the language I still speak for the majority at home. Since being in Montréal, I’ve come to realize the difference in how I use English between my home country and my adopted country. Actually, I tend to think I have two main English identities.

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Language and cultural identity


I teach ESL to immigrants who work very hard to lose their accent. They feel they need to eradicate their foreign accent in order to be taken seriously at work. Although it is my job to help them do this, I really think that it is sad that this variance is regarded as a negative attribute.

The first language that I learned was English, and because I lived with my Grandmother, she was my first model for my native tongue. My Granny was an immigrant; she came from Russia when she was 4 years old and spoke in broken English. She had a very basic vocabulary and syntax and would stick to two or three word sentences: “Come eat!”, “ Don’t walk barefoot!”. I thought about this when I had trained myself to use simpler sentences for ESL class.

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