Learning to learn about acquiring Indigenous languages (by Dr Mela Sarkar)

Twenty-one McGill Master’s students in Education and I have just finished a wild ride through what’s called a “Special Topics” course from January through mid-April. It was called “Acquiring Indigenous languages as second languages,” and was quite possibly the most exhilarating, tormenting, troubling and ultimately satisfying experience I can recall in 25 or so years of teaching graduate courses in applied linguistics.

But I have to re-think that word “teaching,” because I have no illusions that I taught that course. It taught me.

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Educating young Canadians about Indigenous language and culture: then and now (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

When I was growing up in downtown Toronto in the 1960s, I expect our elementary-school social studies textbooks must have said something or other about the early encounters of white European settlers with Indigenous peoples in Canada, although I don’t actually remember any words or images from the textbooks we were issued at Brown Public School, Jr. Almost certainly, though, the 1967-ish Ontario social studies curriculum referred to “explorers” and “Indians” and did not use words like “invasion” or “exploitation.”

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Cowboys & Indians at YYC (by April Passi)

This year, the annual conference for the Association canadienne de linquistique appliquée/ Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (CALL/ACLA) was held in Calgary, Alberta. I participated in my capacity as an RA and a member of BILD. It was wonderful to support one another during our presentations and to debrief afterwards. After squeezing in a visit with my sister, I’m ready to head back to Montreal. As I wait for a green tea in the Calgary airport, feeling slightly grouchy due a half-hour delay before take off, my eyes wander up to a large and very colourful mural that covers the entire upper archway and wall. Continue reading

Language revitalisation from the ground up in Mexico (by Dr. Josep Cru)

Josep Cru holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Barcelona and an MA in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of California at Berkeley. From 2001 to 2007, he worked for Linguapax, an international NGO based in Barcelona which promotes language diversity worldwide. Since 2007, he has taught Spanish, Catalan and Sociolinguistics at Newcastle University in the UK. In 2013, he finished a PhD thesis on language ideologies and revitalization in Yucatan, Mexico. His publications can be found here and his profile, here.  Continue reading

On being an outsider, or not (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

The Canadian Anthropology Society / Société canadienne de l’anthropologie (known to its members as CASCA) had its annual conference a few days ago at Université Laval in Quebec City, and although I am not usually a member of CASCA or a presenter at this conference, it happened that this year I got asked to be on not one but two panels, so off I went. My research energy over the past few years has gone into into two main projects, one still funded (on Indigenous language revitalization), the other not any more (on Hip-Hop language in Montreal), and I got to talk about both. In the unfunded category, I was part of a panel on multilingualism as play, which is (as it should be!) such a fun idea. In academic-ese, people say “ludic” instead of “playful”, quite a lot. And sometimes they say “carnavalesque”. But this was a very relaxed panel where people did feel free to say they were being playful.
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