Jessica Irvine resides on Treaty 4 land – Home of the Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, Saulteaux, Nêhiyawak (Cree), and Métis. She completed her Bachelor of Education in French Education at the University of Regina. Currently she teaches grade 1 through 8 Core French with Regina Public Schools. She has also returned to the University of Regina and is completing her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Her research interests include curriculum development, language policy, identity theory, cultural, Indigenous language revitalization, creating curriculums based on one’s “place”, lifewriting, qualitative inquiry, Indigenous methodologies, bilingualism, and multilingualism. Jessica’s thesis will focus on the cultural outcomes of the Saskatchewan Core French curriculum from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives. When Jessica isn’t writing, reading, or researching, she is either out running or hiking with her 4-legged running partner, Ginny, or training for Spartan obstacle course races.
During my time in Montreal (and thanks to my student medical/dental insurance), I have had several visits to the dentist. On each occasion, the use of language in the dentist’s office in a bi(/multi)lingual city in a French-speaking province has fascinated me.
This week’s guest blogger, sociolinguist Dr. Davy Bigot, reaches out to BILD from the Département d’études françaises à l’université Concordia, where he brings a European French speaker’s perspective to the study of Quebec French. As he tells us, a fascination for the differences between the two varieties of French has occupied his personal as well as his professional life.
I discovered sociolinguistics 20 years ago. I was about to finish my BA in English Studies at Tours, in France. One of my last courses had this strange title which I no longer recall… It wasn’t “Sociolinguistics 100”, but more like “Language and society.” I had already had basic courses in English phonology, phonetics and syntax. I was not really into linguistics at that time. I remember that Professor Régis, who later became my Master’s thesis supervisor, said, at the end of the first course, something like “If anyone is interested in writing a master’s thesis in sociolinguistics about Star Wars, just tell me!” I thought he was joking… He wasn’t. To make a long story short, I wrote my thesis about “Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace”, and this changed my life.
In quantitative research terms, I am the margin of error. I am the thing that is ungeneralizable. I am the population that does not yield significant results. How would you characterize my dispersion? What behaviour could someone like me produce that typifies the general populace? What measure of mean, mode, or median would I show up on? How standard is my perceived deviation?
I think I’ve commented in past posts that I grew up with my English being questioned. It’s not that I couldn’t speak or write in the language; English is my first language and mother tongue. It’s that the variant of the language I spoke was not the variant of the majority around me. I spoke and in many ways still speak a mixed English with influences from South Africa, Ireland, Canada (West and East, English Speaking and French Speaking), and the US.