Calling all language instructors! A community of language teachers meets weekly on Twitter to discuss topics related to language teaching using the #langchat hashtag. Conversation topics are selected by vote, and Langchatters gather on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST to share their thoughts on the winning topic. In case you miss the conversation, summaries of [...]more→
J’aurais pu prendre une décision en lançant une pièce de monnaie pour un tirage à pile ou face. « Pile » : espagnol. « Face » : français. J’avais besoin de suivre un cours de langue et je n’arrivais toujours pas à faire mon choix. « Tout le monde parle espagnol. Apprends-le ! » C’était une réplique bien connue. Après tout, nous vivions en Californie et le Mexique [...]more→
A couple years ago, it was brought to my attention that I frequently translanguage when telling stories. I continue to find myself filling my stories with the words of others in the language in which they were originally uttered. For example, if I am relating what a Spanish instructor said in class, I will reproduce [...]more→
On Friday I had the pleasure of joining many friends and colleagues at UC Berkeley for the first and last sessions of a one-day colloquium organized by Claire Kramsch and Lihua Zhang, entitled “The legitimacy gap: Multilingual native language teachers in monolingual foreign language departments”. Inspired by the colloquium’s [...]more→
I have long been following Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing on studying French, and, for me, he has described both my own experience of language learning and the transformations I want my students to feel in the classroom with an acute accuracy and uncanny emotional sensitivity.
In this recent post, which shares a title with our [...]more→
I’m really one for translanguaging. By whatever name — and Suresh Canagarajah today at the MLA Convention in Chicago certainly went through the various names — it is an intriguing subject study, and one that gives a lot of food for thought about how to bring translingual practices into the classroom.
Among all my literature colleagues, [...]more→
A few weeks ago, I told my American flat mate about a British actor I am quite fond of at the moment. As I was eagerly listing his films that I had seen so far, she repeatedly told me that she “already knows.” But, how? So, I already told you? Too bad I simply cannot [...]more→
In a seminar on multilingualism, we discussed Nancy Huston’s Losing North: Musings on Land, Tongue, and Self (Nord Perdu). In this collection of essays, Huston reflects on her identity as a Canadian transplant living in France and on her changing relationship to her mother tongue, English, and to her acquired language, French. While [...]more→
Just a quick note to announce an online report about minority languages in Europe, produced by FranceInter, passed along to me by David Rafoni. 46 million Europeans speak a language that is considered “regional” or “minority.” These languages are protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but in France [...]more→
This past July, I had the privilege of participating in an NEH Summer Institute on the Centrality of Translation to the Humanities at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For three weeks, we discussed issues of translation with numerous experts in the the field, including renowned translator Gregory Rabassa. (The full program and reading list are available on the [...]more→
While my colleagues ventured to Latin America and Europe over the summer, I headed to the middle of this country to spend three weeks at the University of Illinois participating in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer program on the centrality of translation. Over the course of the institute, we examined the question of [...]more→
I said kaddish for the first time this past Saturday. It was to mourn a dear aunt who recently passed away. Growing up, my parents and siblings would stay at her place when we visited Israel, and we experienced her kindness and generosity in countless ways. My aunt spoke little or no English. We used [...]more→
What I find interesting is how different companies use different methods to make themselves appealing to consumers. The same company can even market its products differently simply because of a different neighborhood having a different type of people. Something that is interesting is how clothing brands market their products differently to people based on location. [...]more→
The inspiration for our project was our mutual love for food and our propensity to dine out almost all the time. We decided to take our love of restaurants and show how there are multiple factors that contribute to the reputation that a restaurant develops in the minds of its patrons.
Our choice of restaurant to [...]more→
This past semester, students in a new Sophomore Seminar offered through East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Berkeley Language Center have taken significant steps toward understanding the complexity of language in multilingual environments like Berkeley.
Rather than focus on the speech or writing practices of bilingual individuals, however, participants [...]more→
At a presentation I was fortunate enough to give a little over a week ago at the BLC (“Where is the language classroom today?: Reconsidering the place/s of language learning with technology”), I opened with a comment about the stage fright I was feeling at the outset of an hour-long presentation, one which [...]more→
The world of the early twenty-first century is one divided by factionalism and suspicion, and connected by new channels of communication that are uneditable, instantaneous, and anonymous. Therefore the most important thing a modern president must know in order to be effective is how to use language, both interpretively and actively, both domestically and globally. [...]more→
It was the first day of school. As I stood near the front entrance of Mr. Larry’s 6th grade all-boy advisory an African American mother walks in with her son who was on crutches. Mr. Larry was speaking to another parent and student and so I took it upon myself to welcome this [...]more→
I’m at the 19th Sociolinguistics Symposium, being held August 21-24 at Berlin’s Freie Universität, and wanting to report out some of the happenings here. As is the case at any conference, there are far too many sessions going on to experience or report on anything but a fraction of the totality (I [...]more→
The article, “Hindi, Hinglish: Head to Head” by Ananya Vajpeyi (Assistant Professor of History, UMass Boston), published by the World Policy Journal, jumped out at me from among the sundry language policy related news items in a listserv email I received. While the attempt to parse out delicate and complicated issues related [...]more→