Is Translanguaging an Ideal Method to Use in an ESL or FSL classroom?

Posted by Cheryl Lingjuan Yan (Post #3)

Translanguaging has had a forceful impact on the field of Applied Linguistics. It also has contributed greatly to our understandings of language, bilingualism and education (Garcia & Wei, 2013). Translanguaging is such a powerful method of language teaching, that it has been applied widely into a great number of ESL or FSL classrooms by language teachers. It reminds me of how a second language classroom is like in China. Learning English is mandatory in the Chinese Education system starting from the 3rd grade in elementary school through college. As a Chinese student, I acquired English as a second language since 9 years old. I remember when I was learning English, teachers did the code-switching all the time. Of course he/she would speak English in class in order to make us get more English exposure, but the good part is he/she would switch back to Mandarin as long as we had something hard to understand. English, to many L2 learners in China, represents a better future, more job opportunities and higher living standard. Therefore, people in China really have a strong motivation in learning it. Doubtlessly, it is not only in China, thanks to English’s dominant stance in in almost all facets in our society, such as politics, economy, education, etc. L2 English users continue and will continue to grow, far exceeding the the number of native English speakers.

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No French in English class!

Miss Education says:

As an undergrad studying to become an ESL teacher, I was constantly told that there was no room for French in English class (except if there was a severe problem that needed to be addressed). Five years after finishing my bachelor’s degree, I have had the opportunity to work with other ESL teachers and discuss about this issue. Some teachers did not use French at all, while others found it difficult not to speak it during their teaching. Clearly, ESL specialist go about this in different ways. What we largely have in common, though, is that we believe there should be very minimal to no use of the students’ L1 in the L2 classroom. This suggests that ESL teachers believe that the best way to learn an L2 is to be fully soaking in a tub of the second language in question.

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Politeness Theory and Second Language Learning

Xiaoke Sun # Post 2

Politeness, which is regarded as a sign of good education, is highly praised in our society. Having acquired proficiency in different languages, I found out each language has its particular way to show politeness, explicitly or implicitly. For example, Mandarin has two different pronouns (“ni” and “nin”) of the second personal singular. By altering between them, speakers are able to show different levels of respect and politeness. The similar linguistic trait can be found in French. People use “vous” as a respectful form to address the second person singular, (as “nin 您” in Mandarin) while using “tu” (as “ni 你” in Mandarin) in the casual, or peer interaction. In English, however, only “you” is employed to address the person (or people) that the speaker is associating with, regardless of their age or social status. It is not to say that English lacks preciseness or politeness. Instead, it highlights the variety and complexity of linguistical features among different languages. The way to show politeness in English is unique in its use of conditional tense or in its increase of the length of sentence. This feature can be well explained by Alison’s example of using “Could I bother you to lend me your pen?” instead of shortly saying “Pen”.

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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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