The delight and pain of being who we are: An invitation to a language learning ego-trip (by Lucrécia Raquel Fuhrmann & Ana Beatriz Ruiz de Melo)

This week’s guest bloggers are Lucrécia Raquel Fuhrmann and Ana Beatriz Ruiz de Melo. Lucrécia is a Ph.D. candidate in Education in Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in education from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and a Bachelor of Arts/Letras from the Universidade Luterana do Brasil. She has taught at elementary and high schools, and specialization courses in Brazil. In Canada, Lucrécia has been teaching English as an Additional Language at two elementary schools, which gathers all her studies interests and subjects: language and literacy, education management, and international relations and diplomacy. Ana is a student of English Languages and Literature at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL) since 2020. Ana holds a scholarship with the project “Ideological and Academic Literacies Juxtaposed”, for which she received Honorable Mention for Scientific Merit for her presentation of this work at the 2021’s Annual Meeting of Scientific Initiation of UEL. Since October 2022, Ana is an Undergraduate Visiting Researcher Student at the University of Regina, under the supervision of Professor Andrea Sterzuk.

“Há um lugar místico em mim / Algo assim bem escondido / Um planeta inexplorado, um horizonte perdido […] / Explorador [a] sem experiência / Marinheiro [a] de primeira viagem / Embarquei de peito aberto / Levando só a coragem”.


These verses are from a song by a Brazilian rock band called Egotrip, entitled “Viagem ao fundo do ego,” which means something similar to “trip to the bottom of the ego” in English. They say there is a hidden spot within oneself, like an unexplored planet, a lost horizon. They talk about the self as an inexperienced explorer who goes on that ego trip, bringing nothing but courage.

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Something in the water: Language anxiety doesn’t come from within (by Kate Hardin)

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I stood under the awning of a second-hand store somewhere in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln, caught between a summer breeze and the musty, cool air of the shop. While I hung back, my partner was chatting with the gruff shopkeeper. “I’ve lived here for two years,” he said. I knew he’d meant “I lived here two years ago,” but the old man didn’t. Funny what a difference an umlaut can make.

Without missing a beat, the shopkeeper responded, “Dein Deutsch ist aber schlecht.”  But your German’s bad.

This was typical berliner Schnauze, and it became a running joke.

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New in town, again (by Kate Hardin)

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New BILD member Kate Hardin is a first-year PhD student in Education Studies at McGill. She holds a master’s in linguistics and European languages from Die Freie Universität in Berlin. Her research interests include cross-linguistic pedagogy, newcomer education, and adult/community language programs. At McGill, she plans to investigate the language learning of adults with limited formal education. Outside of the university, she’s an avid cook, a friend to every dog, and a fiddler who makes up in enthusiasm for what she lacks in skill.

My name is Kate, and I’m a recovering monolingual.

My partner and I moved to Montreal in September. In many ways, the experience has brought us back to 2012, when, after finishing my bachelor’s, I received a grant to teach English at Cherepovets State University in Russia. Despite a minor in Russian, I was far from ready to live my daily life in the language. My degree had left me with just enough speaking ability to get myself into trouble that I couldn’t talk my way out of. Still, I was determined to make the most of this opportunity to master the language.

For me, the summer before we left was a frenzy of flashcards. But my partner, having already exceeded expectations by agreeing to follow me to the taiga, made no preparations beyond some half-hearted efforts to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. He joined the chorus proclaiming that once we arrived, we would be immersed in the language and would have no choice but to pick it up. If only it were so.

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Apprendre les langues, pas juste une question de talent (by Alexandra Lebeau)

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Alexandra Lebeau, our guest blogger for this week, is an M.A. student in the School of Education at Bishop’s University. Her research interests are in plurilingual and pluricultural competences, especially cross-language teaching and learning strategies. Working as a research assistant, she has had the privilege to connect with many immigrant students, and she hopes to further investigate how plurilingual strategies can support them in learning French. She is also interested in knowing how teachers’ attitude has a role to play in immigrant students’ social and cultural integration. For her B.A., she studied English, Japanese and Spanish, and is always looking for more language learning opportunities.

Est-ce que je suis la seule qui se considère comme une language geek? Vous savez, quelqu’un qui adore tous les aspects des langues (ou presque, moi ça dépend des langues!). Par exemple, qui a une faiblesse pour le chant des mots, un attrait pour la forme des lettres, un engouement pour les règles de grammaire, une lubie pour la poésie dans la structure des phrases et des textes, ou bien un intérêt pour les normes sociale dans les interactions? Bien que j’aie détesté l’apprentissage des langues durant aisément la moitié de ma vie, aujourd’hui je ne vois pas meilleure expression pour me décrire : je suis une language geek!

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Les approches plurilingues: plaidoyer aux futurs enseignants et enseignantes FLS pour trouver leur marge de manœuvre (by Dr Catherine Levasseur)

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Inspirée par les billets de Caroline Dault et de Kathleen Green à propos des choix que les sociolinguistes/enseignants font dans le cadre de leur enseignement des langues secondes au Québec, je me suis demandé comment je négociais les normes et les politiques linguistiques en classe de français langue seconde (FLS), traditionnellement ancrées dans l’idéologie monolingue. Je suis sociolinguiste, enseignante de langues secondes, en plus d’agir en tant que professeure et formatrice de futurs enseignantes et enseignants de langues. J’essaie dans ma pratique d’adopter des approches plurilingues, de les appliquer en salle de classe et surtout, de convaincre de leur utilité dans les cours de français au Québec et en contexte francophone minoritaire.

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