The Linguist

The Linguist 54,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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28 The Linguist Vol/54 No/2 2015 OPINION & COMMENT I recently saw the film Shadow in Baghdad and it pulled at my heart strings. I was brought up in Manchester and both my parents, who are from Baghdad, spoke Arabic at home. What struck me was how much I missed hearing that dialect of Arabic, the warmth of the Middle eastern people, the sense of security that came with it, as well as a sense of longing and regret for a disappearing culture. As I child, I understood everything my parents said in Arabic although I never spoke it. As a teenager, I rejected the culture and felt it was alien in Manchester. As an adult, I realise what an important part of me it is. My parents left Iraq for fear of being killed; they left their homes and belongings, and rebuilt their life. For this reason they rejected a large chunk of Iraqi culture. My father's Email with your views Learning to celebrate difference philosophy was 'when in rome do as the romans do'. As a second generation child, I never lived in Baghdad, yet it is an intrinsic part of who I am. I don't look english, I sometimes feel rootless and cling to elements of the lost culture. the culture, language and traditions are something to preserve, but in time they fade and become diluted. the challenges for relocated families are tremendous. the new culture is often unfamiliar and the different values can be alienating. Bringing up children, often without their immediate families for support and advice, can be burdensome. the unfamiliarity of their new surroundings, language, climate and way of life can cause a lot of stress. this is important to remember, because when we welcome new eAL (english as an Get the image right thank you for the magazine, every issue of which I read from cover to cover and enjoy. I have just one point for your consideration. A mere detail I know, but are readers supposed to associate chartered status ('chartered Success', TL54,1) with a row of predominantly (young and able-bodied) white males (only four female and two black faces, with one of each in the foreground), all in almost identical business suits? Peter Driver MCIL editor replies: Sourcing images is a constant challenge for a non-profit publication but our images should reflect the diversity of our readership and of language professionals more widely. We will continue to try to improve on this in future In which words? Adam Jacot de Boinod ('In other Words', TL54,1) should have done more research. chinese yuyin is not onomatopoeic; it consists of two meaningful words: yu (remaining, remnant) and yin (sound). there is a typing error in the Japanese: it is gitaigo not gitagigo. these are the two languages I can account for; I wonder if there are errors in the others. Andrew Driver MCIL additional language) children to schools it is also important to welcome their parents, value their culture and help them feel part of the school community. I still remember when my primary school teacher asked where my parents were from and I said 'Baghdad'. She thought I was making it up. By taking a holistic approach, we can make the child feel proud of who they are, comfortable with their differences, and more settled in their new environment, and this is the key to success. My advice is for schools to celebrate the national/special day for each culture. Parents and children can be involved in making a special assembly, including dance, music, food and a presentation – perhaps during a cultural festival. they could also introduce special expressions/greetings and songs in their home language. A 'my country' page could be displayed in classrooms and around the school. Aspects such as national holidays, foods, places to visit, language and customs can be incorporated in visual displays. Parents and children should be encouraged to share aspects of their culture whenever appropriate, for example when it connects to the topics covered in school. this validates their culture, and encourages tolerance and understanding among others. It wasn't until I worked in an international school that I felt it was ok to be different and be free to say who you are without being judged. It is crucial to create a safe haven where each child feels free to express who they are and where they are from, and feels valued because of their differences not in spite of them. Anita Bamberger ACIL © ShutterStock

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