Community Languages Festival planning team, from way back in September 2017
Why and how we learn languages
People in British Columbia cite so many different reasons to learn languages. Among us are heritage language learners – people revitalizing Indigenous languages of this land or reclaiming languages of ancestors and family members. We are passionate linguaphiles, lovers of words. We are newcomers improving our English while handling a hundred challenges. We are thoughtful people, learning languages for romantic partners, families, and communities we care about.
Some people think: I’ll learn a language, and then I’ll have someone to speak it with. In my experience, it goes the other way. I remember studying Arabic for months in Morocco and barely exchanging pleasantries. Only when I met a woman at the bathhouse, whose story I desperately wanted to understand, who was funny and kind, did I actually begin learning the spoken Arabic of Morocco, Darija.Read more
It’s almost March 8th again - International Women’s Day. Do you know of International Women’s Day?
I’m originally from Russia, and in Russia, we have one or two days off of work and study for March 8, women and girls across the country get gifts from men around them, you can see women of all ages shining and blossoming just like the flowers in their hands, spring seems warmer, and the world seems kinder – this is what I got used to seeing while growing up.
When I lived in China, I learned that Chinese people have a day off or give flowers to women. You can imagine my surprise when I moved to Canada and found out that here March 8 is not well known and there are no days off work for it. But wait… isn’t it called International Women’s Day?
So to share this day with you, and to learn more if it is celebrated or not celebrated in your countries, I started searching for answers. I discovered that in modern times, March 8 is a holiday, but 112 years ago this day was a date for protests.Read more
Learning a new language is a challenge - but a fun one. Moving to a new country is a challenge - but a rewarding one. When you combine the two? It’s good to have people around you to support you, and it’s even better if you can help other people along the way.
This is why I was excited to learn about Language Partners BC, and why I’m even more excited to be joining the team as Language Partners’ new Social Media and Outreach Coordinator. I am new to Canada, and English is one of three languages I speak - and I look forward to meeting new friends through our programming and telling the stories of how we can build connections between people using language as a bridge.Read more
This is the third year of Language Partners BC, a volunteer-run language organization in Vancouver. The project started with an influx of Syrian refugees in the winter of 2015-2016 and the idea that a partner-based language program might offer connections and solidarity between people in our city. Now, as we go into our third year of operation, it feels like time for a reflection on what’s going well, what ongoing challenges we face, and where the work may lead.
In September we hosted a Community Languages Festival at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House. Listen from 1:00:23 to hear Mary speak about the festival.