This week’s guest blogger is Grace Labreche, a PhD Student at McGill University. She is interested in accent bias towards second language speakers, specifically in shifting the focus off of accent reduction practices and towards addressing accent bias among native speakers. In her research, Grace asks: How can we mitigate the bias in listeners instead of asking speakers to reduce their accent? How does a listener’s language attitudes and ideologies impact their listening bias? As an applied sociolinguist, she hopes to use her research to inform educational policy in language learning institutions. When she is not working or in school, Grace loves to paint and cross stitch. She also enjoys gardening while listening to horror podcasts, much to the dismay of her neighbours.
It is a little over a year today that I began the exciting new chapter in my life as a language school administrator in a private language school. This language school, like many others in Montreal, is a boutique language school, whose main clientele are wealthy international students and tourists looking to take some language courses while visiting abroad. The courses are costly compared to government funded language programs and the school’s main source of student recruitment is international language tourism agencies and advisors.
“Storytelling brings family together. It brings students together. It is shared experience that helps us see and understand each other. It is time well spent in the teaching of writing.” (Penny Kittle, 2008, p. 129)
I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to ‘acquisition’ versus ‘learning’ of a second (or subsequent) language. In brief, the difference is related to communicative competence versus “explicit rule-based grammar teaching” (Lightbown & Spada, 2013, p. 193). (For more on the distinction, click here). In my mind, acquisition is perhaps the longer-lasting state or the point at which conscious rule-based practice becomes automatic communication, as in Skill Acquisition Theory.
Ancestral languages, international languages, minority languages, non-official languages, immigrant minority languages, community languages, home languages, languages of origin… these are just a few of the terms that have been used to describe languages spoken by minority ethnolinguistic groups. Continue reading →
We are very pleased to welcome Zhonghui Zhang as this week’s guest blogger. Zhonghui is currently doing his Master’s degree in Second Language Education at McGill. This is not his first graduate degree, however. Over a decade ago, Zhonghui completed a Master’s in Philosophy with the highest distinctions from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. At that time, he was the Vice-President of the Chinese General Hospital in Manila. For 6 years prior to starting his graduate degree at McGill, Zhonghui was the Principal of the Montreal Chinese School and President of the Montreal Chinese Community Center Board of Directors. Continue reading →