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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on September 2, 2010 4 Comments

My husband and I traveled to Montréal in July, an island city in the majority-francophone Province of Québec, Canada. The linguistic experience of the trip, as my husband quickly pointed out, could be summed up in the two words of this post’s title: “Bonjour/Hello,” the ubiquitous greeting we heard everywhere. The beauty of the greeting […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on June 20, 2010 2 Comments

Foreignness-emotionally charged-is boundless in its capacity to otherize, peripheralize, and silence. It is not limited by the very same boundaries it seeks to draw-the boundaries may be lifted, readjusted, shifted, moved…one can be enforeigned in different ways, through different lenses, lenses that seek to capture the external, in ways that-ironically-internalize the object of foreignizing. We […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on June 4, 2010 No Comment
Reading the City

There is a dark blue neon sign that glows in the distance at the entrance to my new apartment building. It’s unreadable: in fact, I do not even know if it has lettering. It is this exotic, inscrutable glow casting a mysterious light, bathing the building before it in a dim glow, a faint glimmer […]

Written By: daveski on May 26, 2010 1 Comment

Where is “the foreign” in language education? Is it going out of style, falling out of favor, abandoning the claim it used to have on places and people in popular discourse?

Growing up as a mostly monolingual English speaker in the United States, I did not often question that there were such things in the world […]

Written By: kernrg on May 24, 2010 2 Comments
Education in Singapore

Last month I spent a week in Singapore visiting primary and secondary schools as well as the National Institute of Education.  Although I am sure that what I saw was not representative of all schools in the country, I was immediately struck by the high level of ideological and financial investment in education (how […]

Written By: daveski on May 9, 2010 3 Comments

Did you ever wonder why the word for “mother” in so many languages features the sound “ma”? Here’s a nice article courtesy of Langology (Facebook link; “@langology” on Twitter) in recognition of Mother’s Day.

And today’s special occasion for moms makes me wonder about a bunch of things related […]

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Written By: commedesenfants on April 13, 2010 3 Comments

I don’t consider myself a very eloquent speaker. When it comes to thinking on the spot, I often find myself stumbling over words, struggling to find the right way to express the jumble of thoughts in my head. Considering my struggle to communicate, it’s ironic that I am so eager to take a […]

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Written By: inaconundrum on April 13, 2010 4 Comments

Oh, the possibilities of writing a blog entry on absolutely anything at all in any language I so desire. Ordinarily, I detest such open-ended assignments. I like concrete prompts, assignments with bulleted instructions. Yet, the solution to this assignment came to the forefront of my mind quicker than I imagined possible. To take French 4 […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 5, 2010 1 Comment

Last Monday, I joined in the Jewish ritual feast of Seder, an event which marks the beginning of Passover. It was my very first time being a part of the celebration of Seder, and so I “prepped” by thumbing through a pop-up explanatory children’s book (in English): and of course, Wikipedia was an […]

Written By: daveski on March 4, 2010 No Comment

There’s an important word that katiebernie starts off with (albeit somewhat facetiously) in the post right before/above this one, and one that I’ve written facetiously myself to spam on one occasion, and in Japanese to my former instructor on another…but one that somehow escaped my mind and mouth when […]

Written By: daveski on February 19, 2010 3 Comments
RT: Getting these #wordsonline @ucbFIT

I remember what a good friend told me several years after he had finished his PhD in New York and moved to Osaka, Japan. We were going over some old emails–you know, the quality kind, the long kind of emails that were composed and not just dashed off in a series of bullet points and […]

Written By: Elena on February 14, 2010 No Comment

Very worryfying!

“You know, like, yeah, what can I say, I mean, it’s just that, you know… I and my friends…” (English, altruism, big smile!) “Sorry, my friends and I…( I was, you were, he, she, it was, we were), “we were arriving, you know, oh, sorry, we arrived in the USA few days ago, […]

Written By: daveski on January 17, 2010 No Comment

This New York Times article by Anand Giriharadas, “Language as a Blunt Tool of the Digital Age“, makes some interesting associations between the use of digital communication tools like text messaging, Twitter, and blogs, on one hand, and a global business environment in which a ‘simplified’ version of English is in ascendance, on […]

Written By: daveski on January 5, 2010 14 Comments
On aliens, difference, and the language of Avatar

Among other topics, the hit movie Avatar has been getting a lot of attention for the constructed language of the inhabitants of its far-away forested land of Pandora. Called Na’vi (also the name of its speakers), the language is an example of what’s known as “cinematic xenolinguistics” – a language constructed […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 12, 2009 1 Comment

About an hour ago, I woke up groggy in the pre-dawn hours in a satellite town of New Delhi, India. Almost with automatic first-thing-in-the-morning reflexes, I searched for “Berkeley” in Google News, and was horrified to see a story entitled “Protesters attack Berkeley chancellor’s home.” According to the official UC Berkeley news […]

Written By: calirollgrl on December 7, 2009 No Comment

America may be seen as the land of the great, with the freedom of speech and the press, but what does that really mean? That does not, but any means, mean that you get to say whatever you want whenever you want. For you see, according to the Supreme Court, there are rulings in which […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 25, 2009 3 Comments
Whose University? Our University!

Along with thousands of UC (University of California) students, staff, and faculty members, I participated in the recent massive system-wide three-day strikes organized to protest the proposed 32% hikes in tuition fees. Apart from a move to cancel classes, the strikes included a particularly inspiring production of Waiting for Lefty, protest […]

Written By: daveski on November 20, 2009 1 Comment
Whose university?

As I write this post there are hundreds of Berkeley students and community members surrounding barricades and police tape (“POLICE LINE – DO NOT CROSS”) around Wheeler Hall, the site of a student ‘occupation’ (see updates here too) after the UC Regents’ passage of a budget including an unprecedented […]

Written By: daveski on October 17, 2009 No Comment
iMe+. No translation necessary.

I don’t know when I started hearing this, but nowadays I can’t help but cringe every time I hear expressions like these:

Watching the weather forecast on the evening news: “Your weekend weather coming up, right after these commercials.”
Transferring from the Fremont to the San Francisco-bound train on BART: “This is your San Francisco/Daly City-bound train.”
At […]

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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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