The tale of becoming bilingual is like that of Tantalus reaching towards that succulent fruit and watching it retreat from his grasp—one never feels quite able to achieve semantic satisfaction. Few know the myth of second language acquisition, but herein lies the tale of how man learned to speak in tongues.
Language giveth and it taketh away.
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.
On the other side of the “Bonjour/Hi” controversy currently raging in Quebec (The Canadian Press, 2017, Nov 30), there is French Immersion (FI); suffice to say, perspectives on bilingualism differ within our province.
As a new language-learning-crazy-mom who tries to expose her child to a maximum of languages, I made what would seem a bad decision: I chose a monolingual daycare for my baby. Yes I did. Even worse than that, I chose a monolingual day care in the majority language. Adios! Goodbye! Au revoir! plurilinguisme, le sort en est jeté, direz-vous. Well, I had my reasons and I haven’t lost hope in raising a wonderful multilingual child. Here is why. Continue reading
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.