Musings on Accent – a double-edged tongue? (by Dr Caroline Riches)

What is it about accents that we find so interesting? I am intrigued by accents in terms of language dialects and varieties, accents of plurilingual speakers in their language repertoire and accents of L2 learners. I am fascinated by the regional accents of French in Quebec [you can tell if a francophone is from Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean or Abitibi, for example, from their accent (Brad, 2014)], which I think are Canada’s answer to Trudgill’s example of regional accents of English in England in his Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society classic (2000). 

Although immediately, as I began to write this blog post, I wondered if everyone is as fascinated by different accents as I am. I am English-Canadian, and grew up in very WASP[1]ish areas of Toronto, Pittsburgh and Montreal – looking back now, I imagine that I did not hear a lot of language diversity in my formative years.  Do I notice accents more than other people? It is different for those who grew up in more multilingual environments? Or is it just that I am interested in anything to do with language?

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My name is Narjes اسم من نرجس است (by Narjes Hashemi)

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.

Our guest blogger this week, Narjes Hashemi, is a second-year master’s student in Education and Society in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. She has been working as a graduate research assistant (GRA) on the SSHRC funded project “Countering religious extremism through education in multicultural Canada”, under the direction of Dr. Ratna Ghosh. She graduated with a BA in Sociology degree from the University of British Columbia. Her MA thesis explores women’s roles in preventing religious extremism in Afghanistan.

My name is Narjes. اسم من نرجس است. It’s an Arabic and Persian name meaning a specific kind of daffodil (also known as Narcissus flower). It’s a very popular name in the Middle East as well as in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Iran and India. In Iran, it’s commonly known as Narges. In India, Tajikstan, and Afghanistan, where I’m from, it’s spelled Nargis but it’s really all one name, pronounced and written differently in different countries.

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Empathy and Diversity (by Jacqueline Peters)

The more a teacher knows about a student, the more equipped [they are] to organize an instructional program that caters directly [the student’s] social and intellectual needs (Warren, 2014).

My doctoral thesis examines empathy in social institutions, specifically medical institutions. One of my chapters will be on race and empathy. Recent events both here and in the US have got me thinking about diversity (or lack thereof) and empathy (or lack thereof). My questions here are on where empathy fits into a discussion on diversity, and on what, if any, effect empathy has on the creation of, or dealings with, diversity. To this end, and to bring to a close my blog entries for this academic year, I’d like to talk about how empathy affects diversity in the classroom.

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Translanguaging for communication and identity (re)building: The story of a 74-year old Brazilian woman in Montreal (by Dr Angelica Galante)

Angelica was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and has both Italian and Spanish heritage. Growing up, she would flexibly use Italian, Spanish and Portuguese in conversations and mixing languages has always been something natural for her. She attended Universidade de São Paulo, Brock University, and completed a PhD in language education at OISE/University of Toronto. Angelica moved to Montreal in 2018, when she accepted a position as assistant professor in Applied Linguistics at Concordia University and became a BILD member . For more about Angelica see our Active Members page.

After decades of research, the field of applied linguistics has finally recognized that languages in fact constantly and actively interact with one another, making it difficult to completely switch off one language while keeping another turned on. Continue reading

Le retour de la flâneuse (par Caroline Dault)

L’intérêt de Caroline (nouvelle membre de BILD/LIDA) pour la sociolinguistique est né lors d’une année passée comme assistante de langue en Angleterre où elle était, après une vingtaine d’années passées en contexte monolingue, non seulement immergée dans une nouvelle langue, mais également confrontée à la perception d’autres francophones de sa propre langue. De retour au Québec, devenue enseignante de français langue seconde, elle a obtenu sa maitrise en linguistique appliquée à l’Université Concordia. Questionnant la vision unilingue qui prévaut encore dans certains milieux d’enseignement où l’on exige que les apprenants laissent leur langue maternelle à la porte de la classe, elle a exploré l’utilisation d’une approche de comparaisons interlangagières en enseignement du français langue seconde auprès d’adultes immigrants. Continue reading