What Gets in the Way of Language Acquisition?

Posted by Cheryl Lingjuan Yan

Last week, we talked about language globalization in class. Language globalization allows language itself and its culture to spread and dominate on a global scale. And when Alison asked a question afterwards that whether there were some scenarios in our life we felt embarrassed to speak a certain language, it reminds me of some of my personal experiences, which I think is quite relevant to the issues we were talking about. This semester I registered two language courses, one Korean language course at McGill and another French course at Concordia. Both of them are very intensive.

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Is Montreal Really Embracing Immigrants and Their Cultures?


Last week, we talked about language, space and the influence of globalization on languages. And we had discussions and activities in terms of dealing with the immigrant children depressed by French learning in Montreal and their culture loss. I can’t help asking myself this question: Is Montreal really embracing immigrants and their cultures?

When I first came to Montreal last August, I was surprised by its multilingual environments. I can hear people speaking various languages in the street: French, English, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and others. People of different complexions greet each other at schools and workplaces. I thought that this city is embracing immigrants and welcoming people from all over the world. However, after a year, I felt that I am uncovering its veil gradually and there is a known secret, in which we are all a part of that: Montreal is not as friendly as it’s tagged.

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Globalization and diversity: Wrestling with the issues!


The presentation in our last class touched upon the topic of diversity and globalization, and led to some interesting discussion points. Not only did I reflect on my own experiences with diversity, but also I weighed up these experiences in terms of globalization. I can’t help but feel that when we discuss ever-increasing diversity as a by-product of globalization, we end up hitting a wall. We often decry globalization as a sort of cultural imperialism; yet we champion diversity as a marker of open-mindedness and tolerance. If globalization is forcing us to deal with how diverse the world is, as well as how much more diverse our communities of practice are becoming, then I’m all for it. Personally, I grew up in a very ethnically homogenous place and wasn’t confronted with much diversity until I moved to a big city. My exposure to all kinds of diversity since then has been a great learning experience. As a teacher, I now take it for granted that considering my students’ cultural differences is a key part of my job (and rightfully so!)

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