Stickiness of language and culture: Identity in the making (by Dr Sunny Man Chu Lau)

Sunny Man Chu Lau is Associate Professor in the School of Education at Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada. Her interest in and advocacy for critical approaches to second language (L2) learning can be traced back to her English language experience both as a learner and as an educator in Hong Kong. Born and raised in this former British colony, since very young, she came to know and experience the hegemonic power of ESL, “English as a superior language” (Pennycook, 1998), in everyday life and how it impacted learners’ relationship with the language as well as with their life chances. For more about Sunny see our Active Members page.

Affect is an impingement or extrusion of a momentary or sometimes more sustained state of relation as well as the passage (and the duration of passage) of forces or intensities. That is, affect is found in those intensities that pass from body to body (human, nonhuman, part-body, and otherwise), in those resonances that circulate about, between, and sometimes stick to bodies and worlds, and in the very passages or variations between these intensities and resonances themselves. (Seigworth & Gregg, 2010, p. 1).

Seigworth and Gregg (2010) describe how affect is fundamentally visceral and material, circulating between bodies and environment, shaping and shaped by different political, economic, and cultural forces. This material and social view of emotions prompts to ask how one is affected, by one’s experience with language, into action or non-action regarding language learning. Our emotional attachment, the “stickiness” (Ahmed, 2004) of certain language and cultural practices is a “product of history and society” (Busch, 2015). My language portrait attempts to show the bricolage of my experiences, past, present and projective, and how they get attached onto my body:

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Bildungsroman: Sturm und Chung (by Rhonda Chung)

While packing away the mounds of leftovers last night, I wondered why I hadn’t properly prepared my fridge for all this party food. And that’s when it dawned on me: I had never had a birthday party before.

I am now 40 years old. Officially middle aged. My youth is now behind me. And apparently, this is the perfect time to throw a party.

Bildungs (education) roman (novel) is a German compound word that has entered the English literary vernacular, describing a character’s coming of age tale. The child leaves herself behind and sets foot in a new direction.

And when has travel not been exciting?

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