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I don’t “speak white”. Multilingualism is my identity.

For those of us who are bilingual or multilingual, our languages may shape our identities and cultural affiliations more so than race, economic status or religion. With about 20% of children in the US population...

Silence is golden: my Japanese escape from multilingualism

After exiting the airport and embarking on my three-hour train and subway ride to my cousin’s apartment in Chofu, I sat on my train seat and looked around. Since leaving the airport, I had...
Russian heritage speaker

Multilingualism: Being a Russian heritage speaker in the former USSR

  Professor François Grosjean, the Emeritus Professor of psycholinguistics at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland is a specialist in bilingualism, multilingualism and heritage language speakers. Last week, he wrote a blog piece, Portraying Heritage Language Speakers: Heritage...
english as a second language

Being multilingual: Is my language my homeland?

(My country is the Portuguese language. Fernando Pessoa) The idea of feeling an affinity with a language is not foreign to me given that I speak seven languages and have studied ten. In fact, my...
Obama and Medvedev Russian (matroshkis) stacking dolls

Spaceman: Being in between languages

When I lived in Argentina, a Spaniard told me about a friend of his whose parents were from Spain but grew up in Portugal. When the Spanish man visited Spain from Portugal, he couldn’t...

Special “foreigner treatment”: please no! I’m a heritage speaker.

Usually, I don’t want to attract attention to my not being a local by asking for special treatment when I am in a Russian speaking country. Because as soon as I tell...
Eating mutton fat soup for breakfast

Being in limbo: Difficulties of a Russian heritage language speaker going to a Russian...

The limbo land of being a heritage language speaker is one I’ve been inhabiting most of my life. It’s only recently that I’ve known the term “heritage speaker”, referring to those of us who...
english as a second language

Multilingual San Francisco: You don’t have to leave your town to learn a new...

No more excuses about not having the money to go to the country of the language you want to speak. If you live in a metropolitan area, you are likely to find ethnic, cultural...

Will there be more military linguists when homosexuals can serve in the military?

As I was driving home and listening to the news on the radio about the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the military's ban on homosexual military service people, I realized that this may...
Spy

Why the CIA needs me and other 1st and 2nd generation immigrants for language...

I keep getting messages from the CIA on Linked In because they need 1st and 2nd generation immigrants to fill their huge need for foreign language speakers. According to this Reuters article, U.S. spy agencies...

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