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Language & identity

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on January 1, 2010 1 Comment
A Delhiite at the Delhi Airport

I spent a couple of hours at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport today, where I’d gone to pick up someone special. Unfortunately, due to a malicious, evil blanket of fog and zero visibility, the flight was diverted to Mumbai, and it won’t arrive for several hours. I remember almost exactly a year ago, when […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 16, 2009 1 Comment
The Tourist is God

On Friday, November 13, Crispin Thurlow gave a talk at the Berkeley Language Center entitled Language, Tourism, and Banal Globalization, in which he “examine[d] some of the ways that language is commonly taken up in tourism’s search for difference, exoticity, and authenticity.” Using a Critical Discourse Analysis framework, Thurlow discussed […]

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Written By: daveski on October 11, 2009 3 Comments

Last night I had the privilege of joining Usree for a visit to a language-learning event and screening of Najib Joe Hakim’s film that chronicles the successes of children in bilingual programs in San Francisco schools, Speaking in Tongues.

Held at Beverly Cleary Hall across the street from the Unit 3 residence hall, and […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on August 14, 2009 2 Comments
Indian Independence Day

This evening, Sunehri Market, the local bazaar, was awash in green, white, and deep saffron, the colors of the Indian flag. There were tricolor kites, delicate (miniature) paper flags, exercise wristbands, streamers, paper caps, garlands, towelettes, artificial flower bouquets, and cloth flags. Tomorrow is Independence Day, the 62nd anniversary of Indian freedom from […]

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Written By: Adam Mendelson on July 14, 2009 4 Comments

This summer I’ve spent a substantial portion of my time in and around Barcelona, Spain, visiting in-laws and friends. For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Spain, like many European countries, it was unified somewhat artificially and is home to a variety of fairly different cultures and […]

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Written By: shlomy on May 12, 2009 1 Comment

Last week on FIT, David Malinowski wrote about public discourses about the so-called swine flu and the ways these reconstruct borders between countries and people. (The construction of these borders, it should be noted, is not just a U.S. American phenomenon. A New York Times article from May 4 documents […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 11, 2009 1 Comment

Living in the United States for the past five years, the extensive circulation of the word “sorry” is something I generally take for granted. However, I was revisiting some of the stories I collected while with some kids at an orphanage in a suburb of New Delhi, India, when it struck me how odd, or […]

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Written By: daveski on May 11, 2009 3 Comments

Now, looking back and looking forward at the end of my third semester in Language and Power, I’m struck by how much the syllabus feels like it tells the story of a journey of survival. But, I have to admit, it’s a funny kind of journey, and one I wouldn’t have ever hoped for, since […]

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Written By: daveski on May 10, 2009 3 Comments

Many of you may have seen this or even written about it (wink) but for those who haven’t, it seems backwards thinking of the 20th century has carried well into the 21st: There’s been coverage recently of the U.S. Army’s recent dismissal of Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay Arabic “linguist” who had served in […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 10, 2009 1 Comment

मैं दिल्ली में एक अनाथाश्रम गयी दो साल पहले. वहां कुछ बच्चों के साथ मैंने बात की. मैं उन्हें अंग्रेजी सीखने के बारे में पूछ रही थी. सब बच्चे बोल रहे थे की वे सोचते थे कि अंग्रेजी सीखने से ही वे कुछ बन सकते हैं. इंटरव्यू के बीच में एक बच्चे ने पूछा, […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 4, 2009 No Comment

It’s that kind of a day in Berkeley, 58°F, overcast, drizzling lightly, fog swirling over the city. I am reminded of the mid-monsoon time in Delhi, where the grass suddenly becomes a vivid and lush green, swollen and distended with moisture; new leaves spring everywhere; and the scent of rain-soaked earth rises […]

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Written By: aaminahm on May 1, 2009 9 Comments

I was born Shanga Nomusa White.  Everyone called me Nomusa. Nomusa is Zulu for with grace or kindness. I didn’t realize until I was much older that I was named after my father whose name is Musa. Musa is Arabic for Moses. He changed his name when he converted to Islam. I, followed suit.

Well, actually […]

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Written By: Diana Arya on May 1, 2009 3 Comments
Legging Up

I couldn’t look at myself without cringing. My pants were a major upgrade from what I normally wore when I went out, but they were seriously lacking in material. They looked more like chaps that covered most of my quads and calves, but only had straps along the inner sides of my legs, thus […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 21, 2009 1 Comment

In reading On Phenomenology and Social Relations, I was struck by some glorious lines Alfred Schutz (1970) penned on language. You find these lines in the chapter entitled Social Means of Orientation and Interpretation, which begins by situating language in the context of culture:

“In order to command a language freely as a scheme […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 9, 2009 12 Comments

A Republican Texan legislator, Betty Brown, created an uproar Tuesday by suggesting, during House Elections Committee testimony, that Asian-American voters should use names which are “easier for Americans to deal with.” Ramey Ko, a rep for the Organization of Chinese Americans, had earlier stated “that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have […]

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Written By: daveski on April 8, 2009 No Comment

A reminder from the calendar page: Stanton WorthamProfessor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, will be giving a talk today as part of the Berkeley Language Center’s lecture series:

Hillbilly Spanish and Tarzan English: Ideologies of Mexican Immigrant Language 

The talk is in B-4 Dwinelle Hall, 3-5 p.m., […]

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Written By: daveski on April 1, 2009 1 Comment
しだれざくら

枝垂れ桜はなぜこんなに美しいのでしょうか。 昨日、キャンパスの中にある、モフィット図書館のすぐ前を歩いていて、この枝垂れ桜を発見しました。数百回歩いているみちですが、まるで久しぶりに昔の友達にばったり会って、うれしく感じて、互いにあいさつした、と言った方がいいかも知れません。

その周りにほかの桜の木もいろいろあります。日当たりのもっといいところにはもっときれいに見える薄紅色の花がたくさんあります。にも関わらず、垂れている枝と、薄いピンク色の花びらを見て、美しいなぁって再び思いました。 どうして美しいのでしょう。

今日は四月一日です。バークレー大の春休みが終わったばかりで、あと少しで学期も終わる時期です。学生や教授ならだれでも疲れる頃、つまり、肩を落とすように、そして、下を向くように垂れる頃です。でも、この枝垂れ桜を見ながら、「四月一日」と思っていたら、ふと思い出しました。今日は、終わる頃じゃなくて、日本ならもうすぐやってくる新学期のことと、春を待つ人々の期待感が含まれている、いわゆる始まりの日だということを。

なるほど。私たちも、昔の兼六園にあった旧友の枝垂れ桜のように、疲れや病気などにちょっと落ち込んでいても、きれいな花が開く時期です。そして、おそらくその桜の木の枝が垂れているからこそ、花がさらに美しく見えるのかも知れません。

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Written By: daveski on March 11, 2009 2 Comments

Word is just in that a minor in Applied Language Studies is going to be a reality as of this fall!! This is a welcome victory in a long-fought battle, spearheaded by Professors Claire Kramsch (German, Education) and Rick Kern (French) in a time of shrinking budgets and ongoing struggles to define why in the […]

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Written By: Youki on March 11, 2009 6 Comments

Do you dream in different languages?

It rarely happens to me, but last night I dreamt in Spanish.  Which is pretty interesting because I’d hardly consider myself fluent in Spanish, although I did grow up learning Spanish along with English (and a bit of Japanese).  I grew up in downtown Los Angeles — all my neighbors […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 26, 2009 2 Comments

One of the most fascinating aspects of my ethnographic work in a orphanage in a Hindu ashram in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, is the multilingual setting. The kids, to recap quickly, are first language Bengali speakers, second language Hindi speakers, attend an English medium school, and take part in mandatory 4 hour […]

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