Have you had a chance to read and watch my blogs? I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about the role and impact of language in our identity and that of others’ in the world. In my blogs, I explored how even simple words reflect a specific environment and cultural experience, and I invited you to do, too.
When my husband listened to my Episode 1 conversation with Sharon Deering, “With Language Comes Identity,” he was deeply moved, and said, “All teachers need to listen to this.” Sharon’s struggle had come from language loss through a stroke, but he pointed out that a learner’s struggle is similar: they know inside how much they have and want to say, and how few and how poor tools they have to express their thoughts, experience, emotions, and opinions. How have YOU struggled with making yourself known, be it in your native language or in a language you have learned (or attempted to learn)?
So keeping mind the power of words, language as identity, and the idea of struggle, I turned to my friend Linda Markley, a powerful and compassionate language educator and leader. I invited her to a conversation in an area in which she has a lot of national as well as local impact: advocating for language. I wanted to know what advocacy means in the world of language learning and language usage.
How do those of us who know the power and identity of language talk about it to others?
What does advocacy look like in what we choose to do with and say about language in our families and communities, or to teach if we are educators?
How does knowing that language lives in culture and differs according to environment and experience change how we approach using, learning, and/or teaching language?
As Linda asks us in this conversation, “What are we doing to change the old, tired narrative of ‘I took a hundred years of [language X] and I can’t say or do anything with it?'”
So I invite you to think about and share your experience with language, your struggle (and your victories!). If we are advocating for language because it reflects the breadth of human experience, what changes might be needed for “advocacy in action”? Let’s connect on YouTube (Fluency Online) and social media to continue the conversation!
As you listen to this conversation with Linda, think of these questions, too: What shall we pass on to those whose lives we touch with language? What have you done already? Do you know someone that has touched the world with their language insights and actions?
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