I was recently teaching an ESL class of intermediate-level adults when the topic of being bilingual/multilingual came up; we’d been listening to a news story about how being bilingual boosts brainpower and decreases the chance of memory problems later in life. When I asked my students if they felt bilingual, I was sorry to see only a few of the two dozen students raise their hands. And yet, when I asked them to tell me whether they used English every day for communicative tasks like doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping and parent-teacher interviews, they all said yes.
As many of our readers will know, part of being a BILDer means being critical, pushing boundaries, and speaking back to established academic norms of in terms of the way that we do, share, and talk about research. In the last several years since we started BILD, this has taken shape through a number of small and large projects, one of which is this blog, a space where we and other members of the extended BILD community can talk about critical issues that matter to us without the restrictions and wait-times of the peer-review journal process. Ultimately, we seek innovative and creative ways to engage critically as scholars. At the personal level, this critical boundary-pushing revealed itself at the methodological level through my autoethnography, walking interviews, and other innovative research methodologies that I used in my field work. Continue reading
For us at BILD, part of doing critical sociolinguistics means questioning, challenging, and pushing the boundaries of the way we consider language in society. It can also mean pushing the boundaries of the way we conduct research about languages in society. My PhD research is about non-classroom language anxiety, and when I started planning my study, I knew that I wanted it to reflect this notion of questioning, challenging, and pushing boundaries. One of the ways that I did this was at the methodological level, using walking interviews as one of my sources of data. So, in celebration of walking interviews, I present to you six reasons to love (and maybe try!) walking interviews. Continue reading
I’m writing this from my brother’s house in Melbourne, Australia, where outside the window in front of me are the same (or similar) Monet-esque winter skies, red tiled rooves, and native birdsongs that I remember from growing up in Tasmania. When I was a teenager, I left Canada and moved to Australia, and by the time I was in my early twenties, I had a stronger sense of Australian citizenship and identity than I’d ever had about being Canadian. Yet, my persistent Canadian accent and the almost daily question, “Where are you really from?” caused a kind of ‘identity dissonance’: In my heart, I was an Australian with a long family history and strong cultural heritage, but I was marked as a Canadian by the way that I spoke English.