A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

It’s the first week back of a new semester. And the New Year often brings with it much change. In the busyness that is January, I’ve taken a moment to reflect back on my linguistic journey. I hope you enjoy.

linguistic portrait c

To be read clockwise starting from the arrow:

  • 1995: My first word, “Papa,” French for father.
  • 1995: English is my first language.
  • 1999: At the age of four, I made up a word “*quambasizarian,” which I so intriguingly assigned the meaning of “green pepper.” (I was a strange child.)
  • 2006: In the sixth grade, we learned the bilingual version of the Canadian national anthem. I still have no idea what any of the French lines mean.
  • 2012: I began university, majoring in Classics, studying Latin and Ancient Greek.
  • 2016: I took my first trip overseas to Rome, where I spent five weeks studying Latin with The Paideia Institute.
  • In the same trip, I visited my family in Boiano for the first time. I spoke no Italian, so I used what I knew of Latin and fudged the endings to get by.
  • 2017: I met a boy. A German boy. His parents didn’t speak English, so I figured I should learn German. My favourite band is Rammstein, so I didn’t need much convincing. (I’ve seen them in concert before, but I hope one day to meet them!). Though we’re not together anymore, I fell in love with German and it continues to be one of my most fervent passions.
  • This summer (2019), I plan to take a trip to Scandinavia, where I hope to take a ballet class with the Royal Danish Ballet School.
  • 2018: I took my first six weeks of Mandarin lessons in January of that year and I loved it!
  • In the future, I hope to earn a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and become fluent in multiple languages.

Food for thought:

How have the languages you speak shaped who you are today?

I speak Latin, German, and some Mandarin. I get really excited about words and their origins, and how we can use them to express some of the most beautiful ideas. As I become more comfortable expressing myself in other languages, I become more aware of what’s important to me. The words I actively seek out enable me to share who I am with other people. Figuring out what words and ideas I want to express in another language has been paramount in helping me to figure out who I really am.

How do they shape you as an ESOL teacher?

As a language learner, I understand firsthand the challenges and rewards that language learning brings, both on a personal and professional level. I feel best suited to teaching in an academic environment, because I see how formal language training can shape people in terms of helping them discover their identity, improving their critical thinking skills, enabling them to make connections beyond themselves, and so much more.

What are the things you know/care about or don’t know/care about because of the language(s) you speak?

In my language learning journey, I’ve come to learn how to be a better communicator. I’ve come to care about having the ability to connect with literally any human on this planet. I want to learn more about the fundamental qualities that connect all of us. I want the world to hold infinite possibilities.

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