Community Connections: How To Maintain Our Wild Tongues

Wild Tongues Say Hello

Translingual Writing Pedagogies Put Research About Linguistics Into Practice

For decades, research in linguistics has illustrated that the differences between languages and dialects are largely social: prestige dialects achieve the status of languages and become the standard while undervalued dialects are marginalized. The dissemination of this research has been slow, and those who study and practice writing instruction especially need to look at recent research and the practices it supports.

On MLK Day, Writing @ Bates, the Academic Resource Commons, and the Office of Intercultural Education collaborated on a workshop to share research on language diversity and begin a discussion of what this research means for us at Bates. Bates faculty and students were in attendance, as well as members of the L-A community, including local high school students.

We opened by reading the Girona Manifesto on Linguistic Rights, then were led through a brief history of the English language as a multilingual language by ARC Student Manager Sara (Raph) Raphael (‘21).

After Stephanie Wade explained the vexed relationships between colonialism, monolingualism, and literacy instruction, another ARC Student Manager Maya Burgos-Lizardo (‘20) introduced an MTV Decoded video by Franchesca Ramsey that looks at language discrimination.

Following this short presentation, Bridget Fullerton, Eric Dyer, and the previously mentioned facilitators each moderated small group discussions out of which we created the Collective Action Tree pictured below.

The Fruit of Our Labor: A Collective Action Tree

The Collective Action Tree—a tool for collaborative, inclusive thinking—is rooted in theories of nonviolent communication. For ours, we shared our values related to language diversity on purple sticky-notes.

We wrote actions we need to take to practice our values on green sticky notes.

We used red sticky-notes to express the fruit or outcomes we anticipate growing from our values and actions.

Next, we will work with the ideas and language represented in this tree to improve awareness of translingual writing, research, and pedagogies here at Bates and in our community collaborations. Please join us!

Get a student’s perspective on the event here [Margy Schueler writing for The Bates Student].

For more information, email swade@bates.edu.