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 WASPish 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?
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.
Today’s guest blogger, Yecid Ortega, brings us the first episode of his new podcast series, Chasing Encounters. Click on the link below to hear Yecid’s conversation with fellow OISE/UT (University of Toronto) PhD candidate Claudio Jaramillo. Yecid has also provided an abstract and a listening guide.
Chasing Encounters: Episode 1 — Our linguistic and cultural journeys
This conversation between Yecid and Claudio explores their own visions on ideology, capitalism, identity and language in today’s world. As a point of entry, we deploy our ideas based in the concept of investment (Norton, 2013; Peirce, 1995) as a form of identity navigation in our lived experiences as language educators and researchers in different contexts. We identified some key elements of what makes a good educator in today’s post-truth times. First, how tolerating the other is not enough but accepting and understanding is key to human development. Second, we posit that being an expert is not enough because we as teachers need to acknowledge the complexity and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) of our classrooms. And finally, we need the pedagogical, political and disciplinary knowledge in order to address contemporary issues inspired by plurilingual instruction (Galante, 2018). We conclude by hoping society will move from individualistic to more collective ideologies that would support our communities and our future generations.
That “language is a systematic means of communication” is probably the most precise and unambiguous definition of “language” that our ears have heard. Language, however, is more than a means of communication and a cultural behaviour. To me, it is an active, living, animated, emotional, dynamic, and breathing entity, which characterizes us and is a “character” itself. What made me ponder over the latter (i.e. seeing language as a lively character) is the way I invest in maintaining the languages in my plurilingual repertoire. Continue reading →