4 Yerim(s) and Language Development

Yerim Lee

‘How many identities do you have?’

‘Do those identities you have help you to improve your language proficiency?’

These are the questions that came to my mind from discussions in previous classes. I have 4 Yerim(s) in me: Korean Yerim for my family and friends who speak Korean, Korean language tester Yerim at work, international student Yerim at McGill, and Yerim who is a French speaking citizen in Montreal. I think each Yerim contributes to my language proficiency, so I’d like to talk about the relationship between my different identities and language improvement. Especially, among 4 different identities mentioned above, I think 2 identities, Korean language tester Yerim at work and French speaking citizen Yerim, affect Korean and French development these days.

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‘Gayspeak’ in China: a(nother) case study

Simon Desmarais

During the last two years, I lived and worked in China, and while I was there, I noticed a very interesting phenomenon, related to sexuality and gender. Once again, this is based on my own experience; I haven’t done any legitimate research on this, and also, very importantly, I am not Chinese, I’m not an expert on the Chinese LGBTQ+ community’s linguistic practices, nor do I pretend to be; this post should only be viewed as what it is, an attempt to make sense of my experience regarding specific linguistic practices while living in China.

I think Van Herk (2012) does a very good job of summarizing work on gender and sexuality and language, but I still want to include here the notion of ‘gayspeak’, a set of linguistic features (higher pitch, elongated consonants, etc.) that indexes the speaker as gay. Drawing on work from Cameron and Kulick (2003), he argues that ‘gayspeak’ is used to perform a specific identity, in this case being gay.

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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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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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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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Language vs Dialect

Kunyao Kuang

Inspired by the seminar and class discussion in class, I would like to share a similar case happened in China.

I was born in southern China, a city near Guangzhou, a Cantonese spoken area. All my family and neighborhoods speak Cantonese thus it seems that I was born to know it. Moreover, I grew up with the influential popular culture of Hong Kong since 1990s. Thus, the identity of Cantonese has rooted deeply in my mind.

When I was in primary school, Mandarin started to enter my life. The Mandarin promotion policy was carried out in 1980s, strictly adopted in 1990s among schools, administrations, transportations and all public areas. Since then, Mandarin became an official language and the others were all dialects. (An interesting point from my teammate is that she thought dialect is viewed as being subordinated to a language, containing the sense of discrimination to some extent. Language is regarded as paramount while dialects are secondary.)

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Coco’s language biography

Cocoa Puffs

I was born in Beijing, China. My mother tongue is Mandarin. My parents speak Mandarin to me, and I speak Mandarin to my parents and my Chinese friends. I do not speak any dialect. However, since my great grandmother and my grandmother were originally from Hunan, a province in the southern part of China, they spoke one of the numerous dialects in Hunan. As I spent every holiday with my great grandmother and my grandmother when I was a little kid, I could understand the dialect in Hunan. Interestingly, my grandfather was not from Hunan. He came from Shandong, the northern part of China. When he spoke to my grandmother, he would use Mandarin, the language that I understood well. Unfortunately, I failed to speak any dialect. Nevertheless, when I met people from Hunan or Shandong provinces, I would proudly connect myself with them, and I was keen to learn more about the dialects because the dialects represent my heritage.

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