A Father’s Language Anxiety

Ethan – second blog post

I’ve just read some wonderful blog posts like Hsinhua’s and it seems the buzz word in our recent discussion is language anxiety. I want to talk more about it, but not like Lauren Godfrey-Smith who talks about her own experience as a French learner and speaker in Montreal.

I would like to talk about language anxiety from a parent’s perspective. It might be difficult for those who have never had the experience of L2 learning or raising a baby to make sense of the meaning of ‘a parent’s anxiety for his child language learning’. Well, I might have coined this term, but I believe I’m not the first to be concerned about it.

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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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My accent is obviously not British or Australian!

Hi, my name is Samuel Marticotte.

I grew up in on the north-shore of Quebec, speaking French in an area where it is spoken by over 90% of the population. As I grew up, I picked up some English in school, in video games, on the internet, but only really learned it later when I started working in the navy in Halifax, N-S and Victoria, B-C. After a year of software engineering, I stopped my studies to go to Japan, where I became somewhat fluent in Japanese over the course of nine months; travelling, working in a restaurant and helping an elderly woman with her farm work. When I came back to university, I changed program for one in which I could study two modern languages. I decided to keep studying Japanese and chose Russian as a second language. On my second year, I did a nine-month exchange program in Russia where I had the occasion to improve my reading and listening abilities. Upon my return I was not perfectly fluent orally, but I could read novels and translate literature from French or English. Upon completion of my B.A and certificate in Russian Studies, I was chosen to participate in the JET program. I left for Japan and taught in an elementary school for two years. In Japan, I worked in Japanese, every week explaining to my coworkers lesson plans, and engaged with friends and the local community, sometimes in the local dialect (Kansai-ben), sometimes in standard “Tokyo” Japanese, a more polite variety of the language. When I returned to Canada, I moved to Montreal and started the M.A. in second language education I’m actually in. Being at McGill is an interesting experience, because it is my first long-term experience in an “English community” in Canada.

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