March 2022 Newsletter
March 29-April 2: California Association for Bilingual Education Conference
This is a virtual conference that we will be participating in on March 29 and April 2. See editor's message for more information.
This event is in Long Beach. We won't be able to make it this year.
April 14-16: Association for Asian American Studies Conference (AAAS)
This event will be in Denver this year. We won't be going.
If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.
Am I Bilingual, Trilingual, or Monolingual?
Learning About the Toisanese Language that I Lost
By Leonard Chan
With the California Association for Bilingual Education Conference happening very soon, I began to wonder if I was truly multilingual or not.
Growing up with parents that were genuinely multilingual, I learned English and Toisanese naturally from hearing the two languages. But I was never really proficient with my parents’ Chinese dialect. I could understand the simple phrases that they would often say to me, but could never really feel comfortable speaking more than a word or two to anyone.
With more speakers of it living in other countries than in China and with the Chinese government’s efforts to homogenize the country’s language and culture, Toisanese may become a dead language someday soon.
Is knowing a dead or dying language of any value? People proficient in Latin probably think so. But what if the language was spoken by people that were considered backward country folk (please read author William Poy Lee’s article on this) and the language didn’t have its own phonetic transliteration system. You couldn’t even teach it to anyone – at least not easily if you didn’t grow up with it. I always thought I knew more about Spanish than Toisanese. At least I had three years of formal education in Spanish in high school, and still see and hear it frequent (even though I don’t remember much).
And what if I didn’t use or hear the Toisanese language anymore? Can I still say I was multilingual?
Bear with me as I try to rediscover the Toisanese language by introducing it to you. I’ll also include some further thoughts about the language and what it means to me.
At the end, I’ll include some websites that may help you learn Toisanese and other languages. For those of you that aren’t interested in Toisanese, but also feel a loss from your ancestral language, perhaps you can commiserate and will feel motivated to learn the language you’ve always wanted to.
Grace Lee Boggs
By Philip Chin
Grace Lee Boggs had been a political activist since her early adulthood, and she became a towering name in American history, notably in labor, civil liberties, environmental justice, anti-war, women's rights, and Asian American and African American causes.
View full descriptions of all these featured books at Bookshop.org where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.
Bilingual and Language Learning Books
Women's History Month
Festivals and Observances
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