Last semester, I wrote about taking the stressful edge off of November, and in my life at least, April is November’s stressful Spring cousin! In addition to the usual almost but not quite the end of the semester exhaustion and duties, plus tax and allergy season, this April brings some extra stress with all the holidays, a time-consuming (but also long-shot) grant application, some work and dance projects coming to fruition, and two long haul dance trips (one of which is our regional qualifiers for nationals). On the bright side, April is apparently also both Scottish American and Arab American heritage month, which is a nice coincidence in my world!
Reflections on Four Years of Blogging
It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over four years since I started this blog! To celebrate, I’d like to reflect on this experience, as well as share some previous favorite posts, according to visits and to me!
Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts
A couple of weeks ago, I co-organized a colloquium with Khaled Al Masaeed at the American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference titled “Translingual Approaches in World Language Education: Perspectives from Arabic Learning Contexts”. Although I have attended the AAAL conference most years since 2007, and it is probably my favorite conference, there are usually only 1-3 presentations focused on Arabic. So, to have an entire colloquium focused on Arabic was a dream come true!
Language Ideologies in the Wild: Language Learning as a Hobby
Following up on my recent language ideologies in the wild series, in this post I’m back with a collection of examples focused on the ideology of language learning as a fun hobby. As these unrelated examples demonstrate, this is a fairly common language ideology, and while I am all for hobbies, it’s worth highlighting the role of this ideology in marginalizing language learning in the U.S. (and probably most anglophone countries).
Using Notion to Organize Travel
Two years ago, I wrote a post about organizing travel with Trello, and shortly thereafter, the world shut down. As I traveled the last two weekends for dance competitions, and am headed two my first in person conferences since 2020 the next two weekends, I thought this was an appropriate time to revisit travel planning! After switching to Notion I’ve been using that to organize travel, but the process is essentially the same.
Why study languages? Improve your listening skills!
When talking about language learning, I’ve sometimes found people approach this with an all or nothing approach. Specifically, seeing the goal as “becoming fluent” or having the skills to work as a translator. While these are great (and I’m all for expanding our linguistic repertoires as much as possible!) I think a focus on obtaining advanced levels of proficiency sometimes ignores the valuable skills that we can still obtain at lower levels. In my context (the United States) where English speakers generally need to (and should!) exert considerable efforts to expand their linguistic repertoires, and many will not reach advanced levels of proficiency in a 3-4 year college program for example, I think this is even more important. So in this post, I’m addressing one of these skills, listening.
Language Ideologies in the Wild: Braiding Sweetgrass
This post continues the Language Ideologies in the Wild series, where I discuss language ideologies I encounter in my everyday life, usually in books or podcasts. Today, I’m looking at selections from a book I read recently: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I enjoyed and thoroughly recommend this book, which focuses on recognizing Indigenous knowledge about plants, humans, and ecosystems and integrating it with western scientific approaches (while also showing the limitations of the latter). So, my discussion of language ideologies in this book is not a critique of the author, or the book, but just a way of highlighting the unrecognized role of language ideologies in our everyday lives.
Language Ideologies in the Wild: Street Parking
It’s time for another language ideologies in the wild post! In this series, I describe the underlying (and generally) unrealized language ideologies in material I encounter in my everyday life. Today’s discussion comes courtesy of the Street Parking podcast. Street Parking is a fitness program I participate in (and love!) so as usual, the point of this post isn’t to be critical of this program or the podcast host, but just to raise awareness of how language ideologies show up unquestioned in our everyday lives.
Organizing Teaching with Notion
A few years ago I wrote a post on Using Trello to Organize Teaching. Since then, I’ve moved on to using Notion as my digital organization system, and so I thought it was time for an update on how I’m using that to organize my class teaching. Notably, you’ll see that while the app has changed, the system has remained the same.
Does a multidialectal approach mean teaching all of the dialects?
This is a question I get frequently when I advocate for a multidialectal approach to learning Arabic. The short answer is no.
The longer answer is also no, but with a much lengthier explanation, which I thought I’d give in this post. In general, there are two types of people who ask this question. The first category is those who want to discredit dialect teaching completely (every village has its own dialect, how can you possibly choose, MSA is the answer). The second category is people who find the idea appealing, but the process confusing (does this mean teaching every word in major dialect groups? Isn’t that a lot to ask of students? How do you do this all in class?) This post is aimed at that second category, as those coming from the first have an ideological perspective I will always be at odds with.