Reflection on Ideologies and My Language Biography

By Jamie(Xuan)

It might be a bit late to mention about language biography now, but today’s class really inspired me on the concept of ideologies and how they are related to my own language learning/use in real life experience.

As a Chinese, Mandarin as my native language have made up most of my life so far, and as I’ve been exploring more parts in China, the change of locations really contributes to my understandings of ideologies (which I was not even aware of at that time). Here I will share some of my experience and my thoughts.

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My Language Biography of Two Identities

By Wai In Chan

Hello everyone! This is a bit late in the semester, but I still wanted to share my language biography with all of you and hear your thoughts about how I identify myself. I am of Asian descent, born in Hong Kong, China. I speak Cantonese, English, and French (very basic!).

My family immigrated to Canada in order to start a better life when I was two years old, and we have lived here ever since. My mother had gone abroad to Canada as an international student prior to her marriage and my birth. Therefore, she had some knowledge of the English language and completed some education here. Due to these circumstances, I was able to complete my studies here in Canada in English.

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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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Language “Hotpot” in Montreal

Monica:

I am a Chinese student, here in Montreal. I have my stories concerning learning English and French. I bet you have your languages and stories as well. And I would like to share my interesting language stories after living in this language “hotpot” for a year. It’s “spicy” and makes me happy with tears.

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Positives​ and negatives of language learning

Sophia G

Language is a tricky thing. On one hand, it is given to us freely; on the other, we really have no choice in the language that we are given. Some of us are even gifted with multilingual families and learn many languages, others are gifted a small snapshot of one language.

Language and the composition of a person’s languages can largely impact their whole life. When asked to look at the positives and negatives of my language learning and my language composition, it came out strangely negative. I found this quite sad. First, let’s start out by explaining my language composition.

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Language Biography

Aisha Abokraa

My native language is Arabic. There are many varieties of Arabic spoken in different regions and countries in the Arab world (Middle East). I speak the Libyan dialect, which I learned as my first language and which I use in everyday speaking situations. At school I also learned the standardized Arabic (Classical Arabic), which is used in writing and in formal prepared speech.

Formerly, the formal standardized Arabic was the norm; however, over time and for different reasons, different dialects started to appear in different  regions. These different dialects make it a bit challenging for Arabic speakers to be clearly understood by speakers of different Arabic dialects. I tend to adjust my speech to communicate with people from different Arabic-speaking regions. For example, I tend to switch dialects or to avoid using unfamiliar words from my dialect, or attempt to communicate using a commonly understood dialect, such as Lebanese, Egyptian or Syrian. These dialects tend to be commonly understood because of their strong media presence in many countries in the Arab world.

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Reflecting on my Language Biography

Maxime Lavallée

Hello! Having grown up in several countries and spoken different varieties of the same languages in different places, I decided to begin with a brief timeline for some context.

  • Born in Quebec to French-Speaking parents.
    • Native speaker of French.
  • Moved from Quebec to California at the age of nine.
    • Became a minority language speaker of French.
      • No prior knowledge of English before moving to California.
    • Went to primary school in English.
    • Continued on to high school in English.
      • Became indistinguishable from native speakers of English.
      • Adopted Californian vernacular and accent.
    • Moved to Australia at the age of sixteen.
      • Had to adapt to Australian English.
        • New vocabulary, sentence structure, cultural norms, spelling, and more.
          • Over time, adopted Australian vernacular and accent.
    •  Moved back to Quebec at the age of twenty-one.
      • Had to acclimate myself to Montreal English.
        • New vocabulary and cultural norms very different from Australia.
      • Found a job and made some serious improvements to my stagnating French.
      • Began to learn Spanish.
      • Adopted Montreal English vernacular and accent

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