Two dialects, two kids at home: a story from a sociolinguist dad (by Dr. Davy Bigot)

This week’s guest blogger, sociolinguist Dr. Davy Bigot, reaches out to BILD from the Département d’études françaises à l’université Concordia, where he brings a European French speaker’s perspective to the study of Quebec French. As he tells us, a fascination for the differences between the two varieties of French has occupied his personal as well as his professional life.

I discovered sociolinguistics 20 years ago. I was about to finish my BA in English Studies at Tours, in France. One of my last courses had this strange title which I no longer recall… It wasn’t “Sociolinguistics 100”, but more like “Language and society.” I had already had basic courses in English phonology, phonetics and syntax. I was not really into linguistics at that time. I remember that Professor Régis, who later became my Master’s thesis supervisor, said, at the end of the first course, something like “If anyone is interested in writing a master’s thesis in sociolinguistics about Star Wars, just tell me!” I thought he was joking… He wasn’t. To make a long story short, I wrote my thesis about “Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace”, and this changed my life.

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Heroes, fools and scholarly publishing (by Dr. Mela Sarkar)

The editors of scholarly journals have one hell of a hard row to hoe. I say this in sympathy, never having had the courage to take on the job myself. Note that “job” in this context carries no expectation of remuneration. Editors spend hours, days and years reading manuscripts, sending them out to equally-unpaid reviewers they have to cajole into keeping to deadline, and dealing with authors along a spectrum of angelically cooperative to diabolically recalcitrant. I make no mention of the quality of the scholarship being written about, which is, as we say, “orthogonal” to the issues above. Editors then have to put all the pieces together into journal issue after journal issue. Continue reading

Responding to local and global realities in Montreal’s Greek community through a B.Ed. TESL teacher education program (by Dr. Caroline Riches)

Dr. Caroline Riches is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies at McGill University. She is the Director of Teacher Education Programs & Certificates and MA programs in the department. Her research interests are in teacher education & development (Collaboration in Haitian Teacher Development: Cultivating Inclusive Action Research Practices) and bilingualism (Toward Achieving Canadian Bilingualism: Investigating Pre-service ESL and FSL Teachers’ Linguistic and Professional Identities).

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So what can we do? (by Dr. Monica Heller)

Monica Heller is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her most recent book, with L. Bell, M. Daveluy, M. McLaughlin and H. Noël, is Sustaining the Nation: the Making and Moving of Language and Nation (2015, Oxford University Press). 

A few months ago Mela Sarkar asked me to consider contributing a blog post. I told her I wasn’t sure what I had to say. Then, well, Autumn 2016 happened, and it became obvious that the least I could do was to write what I was thinking, which is that this is, once again, a time when attention to language-as-power is really, really, important. I was moved to write today, because before lunchtime I was drenched in evidence. Continue reading