Celebrating a tenth summer of BILD

On the eve of Canada’s national holiday (better known to Montrealers as Moving Day), all of us at BILD wish our readers a very pleasant summer! May you move in directions agreeable to you, near and far, whether by land, sea, air or in the countries of the mind.

Montreal’s Old Port neighbourhood (photo credit: Mela Sarkar)

We will be back with another ten months of regular biweekly blog posts in September. In the meantime, we encourage you to peruse the latest issue of J-BILD, just out—you will find it here.

Both the BILD blog and J-BILD will be rejuvenating themselves over the summer. We hope our readership will do the same. Come back to us rested, reinvigorated and refreshed, as we head into the next decade of BILD, and also into a new quarter-century.

By the Rideau River, Ottawa, at the Language Policy and Planning conference
(photo credit: Mela Sarkar)

I know Tea, but not my ABCs: Exploring ceremony and ritual in heritage language maintenance (by Aya Halliday)

Aya Halliday, our guest blogger this fortnight, is an Okinawan-Japanese Canadian from the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ Nations (Vancouver), currently residing in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal). She received a BA in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University and is an incoming PhD student in Applied Linguistics at Concordia University, with a research focus on heritage languages and critical policy analysis. Aya is on a lifelong journey to learn Japanese and Uchinaaguchi and support the vitality of minoritized languages in Canada.

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.

Upon stepping into a Japanese tea room (right foot first), I immediately sense the calm that the space brings. My sensei enters wearing a dusty lavender-coloured kimono, her white tabi-clad feet shuffle quietly as she makes her way into the tea room. She is holding a Chawan (茶碗 tea bowl) in one hand and a Natsume (棗 tea container) in the other. As she sits and sets the utensils down, she turns slightly towards me and fixes her kimono. The ceremony begins. We bow together, and I can smell the fresh yet earthy scent of the tatami mat only a few inches from my nose. She pulls a bright red Fukusa (袱紗), a silk cloth used for both physical and spiritual purification, out of her obi, and begins a complex folding pattern. Her well-practiced hands make the intricate folds look easy and elegant, and the movements lure me into an almost trance-like state. She uses the Fukusa to cleanse the Natsume, the Chashaku (茶杓 tea spoon), and finally, the Chawan, in preparation for matcha and hot water. Before I take a sip of the delicious and delicately foamy tea, I bow to the host, my sensei, and thank her for making the tea for me. Otemae chodai itashimasu.
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Academia in the Time of Cholera: Raising Generation Symbiocene (by Rhonda Chung)

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.

“[L]anguages, like all living things, have to live within environments, to which they must adapt. A language that only survives in the classroom, like a plant that only survives in a flowerpot, or an animal that only survives in the zoo, is a different thing—and in some respects a lesser thing—than one that survives in the wild…as a functioning part of a cultural ecosystem, where chatter, laughter, conversations, stories, songs, and dreams are as continuous as breathing” (Bringhurst, 2002, p. 10).
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The Making of a Matriarch (by Marlene Hale)

Our guest blogger this fortnight is from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, born in Smithers, northern BC, and is a Chef/Activist/Filmmaker. https://chefmaluh.ca/who-we-are

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.

My name is Marlene Hale and I am from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, born in Smithers, BC north.

I am a Chef/ Activist/Filmmaker.

I am speaking today on “The Making of a Matriarch.”

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On foliage and a plurilingual spring (by John Wayne N. dela Cruz)

Recently, I’ve been watching the Disney+ show Shōgun, a historical fiction drama about the political entanglements between a daimyo (feudal lord) outmaneuvering political rivals, and an English sea navigator shipwrecked in 1600s Japan.

An early scene showing Yoshii Toranaga, the daimyo in question. Image from: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/behind-the-scenes-of-shogun-fxs-most-ambitious-production-in-history/

The show is visually stunning, emotionally captivating, and, of importance for this blog post, linguistically inspiring. That is, the show is almost entirely in Japanese, interspersed with English dialogues here and there (which is supposed to stand in for Portuguese). Further, aside from wading through my plurilingual repertoire to navigate the intricacies of the English subtitles, the Japanese on-screen speech, and the occasional translanguaged phrases (e.g., padre-sama, meaning Father, and sama being an honorific for, in this case, a religious authority)[1], I am also immersed in the natural world depicted in the series, a world that is both alive and dynamic (one episode I saw included scenes of a landslide-causing earthquake). And it’s in this intersection of dynamic, ever-shifting language acts and natural phenomena that I find myself writing this blog post.

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