An ordinary neighbourhood (by Dr Mela Sarkar)

Ruelle (alley)

It was just about thirty years ago that we moved in. Coming from a few years away in impeccably, obliviously Anglophone North Toronto, it was a change to suddenly hear nothing but French on the street. The older child was three and a half in September 1989, the younger not quite two. This part of Montreal is called La Petite Patrie. On the eve of leaving it, I still don’t know why. It’s just west of the much better-known borough called Rosemont; just east and south of the Jean-Talon market and Little Italy; and just the wrong (north) side of the track. It’s really not anywhere in particular, except that it has a peculiar name all its own.

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The International Doctoral Summer School in TESOL and Applied Linguistics in Malta (by Jennifer Burton)

Welcome back BILDers! This year, I’m excited to join the BILD community as an Affiliate Member and kick off the new school year with a post about how I spent (some of) my summer.

The Mediterranean Sea from the coastline of Malta 

A large part of my work as a critical language researcher and educator results from the accumulation of my personal experiences abroad that have called me to question taken-for-granted assumptions about particular ways of being in the world. So, when my former supervisor sent me a link to the Doctoral Summer School in Malta, I did not hesitate to take part in this adventure. I booked a (one-way!) ticket to this Southern European island country–located South of Italy and East of Tunisia–in the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of 450,000.

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Welcome, northern summer!

From all of us at the BILD blog and the J-BILD journal

Summer has been a long time coming in this part of the world—but large parts of Canada are finally green again.

Our regular bloggers at BILD/LIDA and all of us who work on our J-BILD journal will be taking some time off. We encourage our readers to do the same.

Regular posts will start again along with September and school. Please come back then!

In the meantime, check out our most recent J-BILD issue here—it’s going live as we write this.

Also, over the next three months, don’t forget to follow us on, as we continue to share thought-provoking posts from our archives and from various articles we discover. Jump in and comment on our content or our likeability any time.

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The problematic paradoxes of white race scholars (by Scott Stillar)

This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

Scott Stillar, our guest blogger this week, is a PhD candidate in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His doctoral thesis will discuss the role of raciolingustic ideologies in the reproduction of globalized white supremacy via English language standardization in post-secondary ESL contexts. His other recent work includes analyses of the reproduction of racist ideologies within online gaming communities and the demarcation of white public space via geosemiotic discourses.

Echoing the sentiments of James Weldon Johnson (1912), there are few things I am more certain of than the fact that People of Color understand whiteness better than white people. Considering this, difficult questions arise regarding the role of whites and the performance of scholarship on race. Are white race scholars even necessary? What can they actually contribute that hasn’t already been said? As a white male whose scholarship focuses on intersections of race and language, I genuinely struggle with these questions. What I can say with a degree of certainty, however, is that race scholarship performed by whites has several inherently problematic paradoxes.

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The emotional load of multilingual parenting (by Dr Sabine Little)

This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

Sabine Little, our guest blogger this week, works and researches at the University of Sheffield, UK. She can be contacted at, Twitter @sabinelittle.

In my research, I work with multilingual families, exploring emotional and pragmatic attachments to heritage languages (Little, 2017), and heritage language maintenance, in general. My conversations with families are often tinged with exhaustion and guilt – parents worry that they are not doing enough to maintain the heritage language, that they don’t have access to the right resources, or that they are simply doing it “wrong”. I uncovered, like other researchers before me (Okita, 2002; Czubinska, 2017), the emotional load of multilingual parenting. What intrigued me was why some parents felt compelled – despite this emotional load, despite inter-marital arguments, and ongoing fights with their children – to insist on speaking the heritage language to their children, whereas others were happy to adopt a more laid-back approach. At times, I felt a disconnect – our own son, Toby, at age 4 (having just started Reception school in the UK), declared that he would like to ‘take a year out’ of speaking German, while he was learning to read and write in English – and I agreed. I agreed, even when, after that one year, he asked to take another year out, because he didn’t feel confident in reading and writing in English yet. For two years, German all but disappeared from our lives – and I thought it would be gone forever.

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