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Share your thoughts about 2 quick questions…

Written By: daveski on November 13, 2007 9 Comments

If you’re just visiting FIT for the first time, welcome! After you check out all the “autobiographie linguistique”, be sure to scroll down and check out the posts by tommy.york on imagined communities in Chinese 10AX, mustikka’s reflections on language and life in Finland, chigaijin’s post about self and other-definitions of difference while studying Japanese, and more.

And it was great to talk to everyone on Sproul Plaza today. Below are two questions that kept coming up. Please add your thoughts–click on “comments” below this post and write either anonymously or after signing in.

1. What’s one memorable (positive, negative, other…) experience you’ve had with bilingualism/multilingualism at Cal?

2. What’s one experience you’d like to have?

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9 Responses to “Share your thoughts about 2 quick questions…”

  1. fsm junkie on: 13 November 2007 at 12:12 pm

    i’m not sure where this fits in but I every time I go into moffitt or fsm i always notice there are lots of people hanging out reading the newspapers in the big display cases. i like checking this out too but i wish they had more of the papers in other languages – it seems like they’re all in english.

  2. katie_k on: 23 November 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Since I started studying Russian, I’ve noticed more and more how many people speak Russian on campus. Whether I hear them talking on the phone or talking to other people, I’m always excited to at least recognize the language, if not always the content of the conversation. So, the other day as I was walking along, I passed this group of men in business suits, not really paying attention, when suddenly I heard the word “рубашка”, and I stopped dead in my tracks and looked back at the group. For a minute, I wavered between turning around and following them or continuing on my way. I finally decided that it’d be pretty weird to start following a group of Russian businessmen just to hear why they were talking about shirts, but it certainly was tempting. While this is certainly not the most intriguing story ever, it shows rather clearly I think that experiences with multilingualism at Berkeley have basically turned me into a full-fledged eavesdropper. It is, after all, an exercise in “listening comprehension”!

  3. kriszti on: 3 December 2007 at 1:10 am

    Funny, I study Russian, too. And while I’m only in SL 1, I would love to have the opportunity to practice the language in my own, totally beginner, “aamm, geee, oh gush how to say it in Russian”-way!
    When I was still back home in Hungary, and was just as enthusiastic about English as enthusiastic I am today about Russian, I remember reading a flyer in the street that promoted “tea and sandwich” evenings for students who wanted to practice the language. It was like an 8-occassion thing and you had to pay a very minimal fee just to cover the costs for the host, but I loved the idea that I could get together with other (struggling) English students and with people who actually spoke the language very well, and PRACTICE in a pleasant atmosphere!

    So, could we do something like that? A chai-y-butyerbrod evening once or twice a month, where we can practice our very beginning or very advanced Russian (or French, or Japanese, for those students)? It would be so awesome, because for so many of us there is just no opportunity to speak the language outside the classroom…!
    The new cafe in Dwinelle would be just the perfect place…(:o)!!

    What do you guys (girls, instructors, language enthusiasts) think?

    PS: I lied… I’m still really enthusiastic about English! It’s my “first love”, I’ll always be enthusiastic about it!

  4. katie_k on: 4 December 2007 at 10:43 am

    I think that Lisa Little (director of Russian program here) is going to try to start up a conversation hour similar to what you’re thinking of for next semester for all levels of Russian students. I agree that conversation time outside the classroom is definitely necessary (and fun)! So be on the lookout for announcements for that next semester.

  5. Magdalina Asikian on: 8 December 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Prior to attending Cal, the exposure to multilingualism has always been minimal for me. I am originally from Armenia, but have lived the majority of my life in Glendale, California. Glendale, one of many suburban areas of Southern California, has a highly populated Armenian community, hence its nickname “Little Armenia”. As “katie_k” mentioned in one of her posts, I too have become a professional eavesdropper constantly intrigued by the multitude of languages on campus. Especially now having completed one semester of elementary Russian with a basic foundation of the language, my ears sharpen at the sound of a Russian conversation. As creepy as that sounds, it’s interesting to pick up a few words here and there because there is such satisfaction in understanding a language so foreign from the one that you have spoken and heard all your life. The diversity at Cal is such an enriching aspect of the university and quite the opposite of my hometown. The various diverse organizations on campus provide the kind of education that goes beyond the textbook.

    So to answer the question “What’s one memorable experience you’ve had with bilingualism/multilingualism at Cal?” I would definitely have to say living with roommates of different nationalities. Sabrina, my Vietnamese roommate, brings to our room the unique morals of the Asian culture and Romina, my Italian/Greek roommate, contributes the authentic Italian cuisine and history, among other things. All three of us are enrolled in a foreign language course at Cal so there are several languages floating in our room My experience with living in the dorms has been the epitome of what constitutes as the all American “melting pot”. We, among many others, are a great representation of what Cal wants to ultimately achieve, bringing together people of all cultures and creating a unity and friendship that can last a lifetime.

    Whether you are sitting in one of the language computer labs in Dwinelle (listening to students speak different languages to complete the speaking portion of their tests) or having lunch at the International House Café (watching the foreign newspapers scroll in the display cases), multilingualism is all around us at Cal. The exposure to multilingualism goes beyond the spoken language, but rather it broadens our scope of knowledge and alters our perspective and I feel so fortunate to have experienced it.

  6. Tatiana C. Liendo on: 9 December 2007 at 10:26 am

    A language experience that I would like to share occured this past summer 2007 when I was visiting Russia for a second time with my Russian-American friend. As my vocabulary has grown over the past several years, I had not as yet had a formal class in grammar, as I am taking now at UC Berkeley, and therefore, spoke very little of the language.
    On a high-speed train ride from Moscow to the large industrial town of Ulianovsk on the Volga River, the train came to a stop at 1 a.m. in the dark, at a sleeping village by name of Sasova. In Russian, I was told that we would remain for five minutes, although I was sure that I had heard twenty-five minutes. I got out of the train car and walked briskly down the platform some 4 or 5 cars to where an old peasant woman was selling ‘kvass,’ a delicious Russian drink made of fermented bread. I had time enough to pay her the price she asked and suddenly a piercing whistle blew, a light turned green and the train began to move, slow at first and then faster. My traveling companion was hanging out of the door of our car and shouting
    in English, “You will miss the train, you must run, run, run!” The attendent was doing her best to hold him off and shut and lock the door according to
    Well, rushing thru my mind was the fact that I had no documents, Visa, passport, no more rubles, no idea of where I was except that I was in the middle of nowhere, no final destination contact information, and just a cold bottle of kvass in my hand. I began to do my best at sprinting in my low heels over the uneven platform and when that ended abrubtly, over the sharp rocks, and with both our outstretched hands, one of mine clutching the kvass, the other outreached, and two of my companion’s hands, I was barely pulled up and away from the powerful moving wheels of the train, and into the car. I was royally smacked by the angry attendant, called “doora” or fool, which I perfectly well understood, and only after a good ten minutes was I able to settle down and enjoy the kvass which was miraculously preserved by the grace of the Lord. Later, I was given the title good-humoredly by several attendents of ‘sportsman.’

  7. Tinian on: 19 December 2007 at 9:03 pm

    To Dave:
    I’m not really sure where I should be posting this little memo to you but hopefully you will find and read it here. First of all, I’m really excited about this blog and all the Russian topic responses I just read. I LOVE RUSSIAN! hooray!
    Dave, you came into my classroom with Professor Kramsch on the Tuesday after classes ended and talked about this blog and how you were interested in the small things like signs and computer words that were in English and how language affects our everday life on a way basic level. Well, have you ever noticed that on bathroom doors women are circles and men are triangles? I don’t know why and who and how it ever came about that women should be circles and men should be triangles. Is a triangle fallic? Is a circle representational of a breast? Were those just the easiest shapes to mass manufacture? Does the word “women” fit better on a circle and the word “men” fit better on a triangle? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

  8. daveski on: 14 January 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Yeah, it’s cool to see all the responses on Russian. Reading them makes me want to learn Russian too…

    Interesting questions about the bathroom signs! I haven’t ever thought so deeply about possible meanings of circles and triangles and why one may be more ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ than the other. But I’m sure someone has. I do notice how women are identified by the fact that they’re wearing dresses and standing with their legs together, while the icon for men is sometimes standing with legs apart.

    Here’s an interesting blog entry I found on Google Images, “Coolest Toilet Signs Around the World“. Wow!

  9. Tatiana C. Liendo on: 6 February 2009 at 9:53 am

    Daveski, is it possible for me to edit my post? The story is not relayed just right? My companion pulled me aboard with one hand- it is an important detail.


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