A Special Case of Language Anxiety?

By Wai In Chan

In one of our last classes, Lauren Godfrey-Smith gave an amazing lecture on language anxiety and the experiences of people who went through language anxiety. It was a really emotional experience for me because I felt that the study was acknowledging and validating my feelings about speaking and learning French in Montreal. Over 25 years of my life I have been learning French as a second language in English as a first language schools, and I STILL feel so much anxiety using the language that I avoid it at all costs even until today.

Continue reading “A Special Case of Language Anxiety?”



Growing up attempting to speak multiple languages was not an easy task and there were many struggles that came with it. I always felt as though, I was not competent enough in any of the languages I was speaking, whether it was my mother tongue or a new language. This lead me to being a very shy and introverted child, I was to afraid to speak any language for fear of being inadequate. Ironically years later, I learned that many others feel this way and that there is actually a name to it, Language Anxiety. I realize now it was silly of me to think I would be the only person feeling these struggles, but having someone put a name to it, was a moment of clarity.

Continue reading “Anxiety”

Monolingualism or multilingualism?

                                                                                                                            By Wei Yang

Recently I read a few articles about different foreign language teaching pedagogy, there are two main streams, monolingualism and multilingualism. Monolingualism was really popular in the past 100 years, while received plenty of criticism recently.There are three inter-related assumptions regarding best practice in second/foreign language teaching. These assumptions are that: (a)the target language (TL) should be used exclusively for instructional purposes without recourse to students’ first language(L1); (b) translation between L1 and TL has no place in the language classroom; and (c) within immersion and bilingual programs, the two languages should be kept rigidly separate (Cummins, 2007).

Continue reading “Monolingualism or multilingualism?”

I pledge to be a better teacher

Ethan’s 3rd post:

In the closing plenary of yesterday’s Learning to Teach workshop, Doctor Andrew Hendry, professor of Evolutionary Ecology at McGill, demonstrated a terrific example of what he called an ‘inspirational class’.

According to him, since information is easy to access nowadays, what distinguishes a good teacher from a mediocre one is whether he or she is able to inspire the students and make them feel sad when the class is over. He surely can do that. In his lecture, he demonstrated how to pass on hands-on learning, how to use social media to inspire students and how to ‘perform’ in front of the class. At the end of his lecture, I could literally sense the energy in every audience and feel that the spirit of the entire hall was lifted up. A picture says a thousand words, and here is a youtube link of how he teaches evolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcMUnYIYUjE. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

Continue reading “I pledge to be a better teacher”

Politeness across cultures and language teaching


In the 21st century the field of language teaching and learning has shifted from focusing on form and structure to give more attention to the integration of the culture of the target language. As meaning is usually created within a social context, culture is very important to understanding and interpreting words and sentences. As such, in order for language learners to effectively communicate with other speakers of the target language, they should not only master the language but also understand the culture of that language.

Continue reading “Politeness across cultures and language teaching”

“What is texting doing to language?” Suprasegmentals and acronyms in English texting

By Melissa J. Enns

In our last class, we talked about some effects of globalization on language. In the course of the discussion, a question was raised as to how expressive one actually can be when using mobile keyboards with predictive text. Based on my experience, I would argue that despite the limitations imposed by predictive text and autocorrect, “text speak” is a phenomenon in which (in particular) young people enact identities through creative use of acronyms and techniques to achieve the effects of suprasegmentals such as intonation and stress (see O’Grady and Archibald (2009) below). For copyright and privacy purposes, the following examples are my adaptations of the types of text samples I have seen, not word-for-word quotations.

Continue reading ““What is texting doing to language?” Suprasegmentals and acronyms in English texting”