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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¿Buscas libros? You’re in the right place! (by Daisy Martinez)

Instagram: @sk_spanishbookshelf

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.

Our guest blogger this week, Daisy Martinez, tells us: I am currently working as a French Immersion, high school science teacher in Regina Saskatchewan. I completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan before completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Regina. I am currently in my second year of graduate studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. My interests include heritage languages – particularly, the experiences and perspectives of Spanish speaking parents and their efforts in maintaining the Spanish language. Outside of university, I practice yoga and really enjoy quilting, hiking, and a good game of chess. I live with my husband and our sweet dog, Apollo.

My upbringing in Regina, Saskatchewan was in a bilingual household, and I can affirm that it takes a great deal of effort to prevent heritage language loss in an English-dominant society. My parents (first-generation immigrants from El Salvador) worked tirelessly to ensure that I learned to speak Spanish. To be honest, they worked tirelessly, period. Building one’s life from the ground up, learning a new language, and raising three children is no easy task. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and fortunately, my village was composed of many Spanish-speaking families, which helped me maintain my heritage language.

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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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Exploring thoughts while Riding the Waves of Variation (by Sumanthra Govender)



BILD has given me the opportunity to discover multiple points of view about socio-cultural change and identity fluidity. This safe space has also allowed me to delve into and question different aspects of linguistic change and diversity. An inherent characteristic of language is its variation. In recent months, I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of language variation: how languages move on, change, and diversify themselves from their “root”. I’ve also had similar thoughts about the speakers of these languages. With my research focus on minority language communities, specifically adult heritage language learners and mixed heritage identities, I’ve been wondering how these learners and their identities are being realised in relation to the “three waves of language variation” (Eckert, 2012) in sociolinguistics. Continue reading