Why only now?

Géraldine Gras (post #3):

For my third and last blog post, I wanted to focus on an issue that was made evident from our second class of Educational Sociolinguistics: the lack of teacher preparation for second language teaching (beyond the second language itself). My group and I presented on the second week, on the topic of language identity amongst others.  “How embarrassing! I knew nothing about language identity as a language teacher”, I thought to myself. This was followed by a ton of readings, hundreds of questions and self-doubt. It wasn’t until I spoke with teachers around me (from my schools and other graduate students) that I realized, my lack of knowledge was shared. Why is it that many of us, teachers, have never heard of certain concepts in our second language education despite completing an undergraduate?

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The Choice of Language

By Jia Pu——the third post

A couple of days ago, I happened to watch a video on YouTube, which inspired me to say something about immigrants and their choice of languages. The video is actually a pretty short  interview of several second generation immigrants, whose parents speak broken English and suffered all kinds of difficulties due to their low proficiency. The link of this video is attached in the reference section so that anyone interested can have a look. It is touching and it reminds me of the language maintenance in immigrant families.

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Taking a stand

Emmanouela Tisizi

This post is inspired by the Telegraph’s article[1] which, based on linguists’ predictions, prepares the readers for the extinction of the ‘th’ sound from English by 2066. Such predictions very often attract people’s attention irrespective of their interest in or familiarity with the field of linguistics. And while reading about something that may or may not happen in the future is intriguing, it is at the same time a safe topic exactly because it refers to the future, and people, especially linguists and educators, are not confronted with the need to decipher what it may mean for their current decision-making in terms of using, teaching and researching language.

Language change, however, happens every day, especially nowadays when English is mostly used by and among people for whom it is not the first language. English is thus used as an international language, or a Lingua Franca. In short, English is now used as a means to communicate effectively and not as a means to demonstrate knowledge of and adherence to the norms of Standard English. In Seidlhofer’s words, English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) refers to ‘‘any use of English among speakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice, and often the only option’’ (Seidlhofer, 2011, p.7)[2].

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Sociolinguistic noticing for language learners

By Melissa J. Enns

Have you ever noticed how effortlessly you switch registers in your first language? Have you ever wondered why it’s easy for you to identify where a character in a story or movie is from based on the way she speaks? Probably not, because mostly, you just know.

It may be easy for you, but second language learners are often at a disadvantage in picking up on these subtleties, and this can be socially and academically problematic. Van Herk (2012) states that “although teachers are aware of the stylistic range that their students might need, their own language ideologies or limited teaching time lead them to focus on the standard end of language” (183). While I agree with his statement, I dislike the truth of it. As teachers, we (hopefully) strive to meet students’ linguistic needs to the very best of our abilities, but failing to give them the tools of sociolinguistic evaluation leaves them disadvantaged socially and academically. Please allow me to explain.

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Social and cultural factors effects on language learning

Faten Alzaid

Hello everyone. It is nice to share ideas in this blog area. Hence, I would like to share with you and write my first comment.

I am originally from Saudi Arabia. I speak three languages; Arabic, English and a little bit of French. Arabic is my first language and most of my educational life was in Arabic too. Being immerse with Arabic all the time, I always have a desire to teach a new and different language than Arabic. Hence, I decided to specialized in the English language teaching field in my bachelor degree. Since then, English became my favorite and second language. Honestly, I have never been fluent in English and satisfied until I arrived to Montreal four years ago and started learning English language from the zero again. The reason behind that was due to the fact that when I was at my hometown, I was not able to match the language with its cultural content and applied it out side the classroom. I also never practiced speaking in English out side academic contexts due to two reasons; 1) I was not confidant of my language ability at that time 2) there were not enough daily contexts to practice in real life, out side the classroom.

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Time for a change in the educational practice

Emmanouela Tisizi

Trying to differentiate between language and dialect is definitely not an easy task. While brainstorming in groups on the matter, criteria such as the proportion of a population that uses a language variety over another, the region where a language variety is most frequently used and the context of language use came to mind. The more our group tried to come up with examples of language use to determine whether these fell into the category of a language or a dialect, the more we started discussing issues related to power and the institutionalization of certain language varieties.

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Matthew’s language biography!

Matthew

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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