For a year now, my main weekend outing has been visiting playgrounds – in my Montreal neighborhood, mostly, but also in Toronto, England and Wales. What I find most interesting in playgrounds, aside from the smile it puts on my daughter’s face, are the complex family language choices and practices at play.
En tant que parent, il n’y a rien de plus satisfaisant que de pouvoir comprendre ce que veut nous communiquer notre bambin ! Dès les premiers jours de vie de nos adorables rejetons, nous tâchons de décoder cris et pleurs en nous disant : si seulement tu pouvais le dire avec des mots ! Or, les mots, ça ne vient jamais aussi vite qu’on le souhaiterait et la communication parents-bébés est parfois empreinte de frustrations partagées.
We have been anticipating the publication of this post for several weeks now. It is our first spoken word poem and it comes to you from Jennifer Burton, at University of Regina. After completing her degree in Justice Studies, she decided to take one year out of her life to teach English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea. Teaching in Korea soon became her life and one year quickly turned into five. In 2010, she returned back “home” to Regina, Saskatchewan and continued teaching ESL at the University of Regina. Currently, she is writing her MEd thesis where much of her work is informed by her experiences as a teacher and language learner, centering on some of the themes highlighted in the BILD blog.
I’m writing this from my brother’s house in Melbourne, Australia, where outside the window in front of me are the same (or similar) Monet-esque winter skies, red tiled rooves, and native birdsongs that I remember from growing up in Tasmania. When I was a teenager, I left Canada and moved to Australia, and by the time I was in my early twenties, I had a stronger sense of Australian citizenship and identity than I’d ever had about being Canadian. Yet, my persistent Canadian accent and the almost daily question, “Where are you really from?” caused a kind of ‘identity dissonance’: In my heart, I was an Australian with a long family history and strong cultural heritage, but I was marked as a Canadian by the way that I spoke English.
I drove down to New York City with four friends last weekend to bike the 5 Boro Bike Tour. When we crossed into the United States, the border official asked us where we were all from. Without hesitation we unanimously replied “Montreal”, but our origins are a bit more disparate than that. Packed tightly into my little blue sedan were: a West-Coast Canadian, a Franco-Ontarian, an Ohioan with a mixed-up-anything-but-Midwest accent, a Spaniard, and me, an Australian.