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Perspectives 11.19.09:Layout 1          2/7/10     10:57 PM   Page 1




      Languages die faster than flora and fauna
      November 19, 2009   G
                              Mount Holyoke News                       PERSPECTIVES                                                                                                   11
      BY LAURA TURYATEMBA ’11           There are enough reasons to lament the “villagizing” of                                             Extinct languages, however, are not quite the same
      CONTRIBUTING WRITER           our globe, but one that few have latched onto is the loss of    as dead languages. Though scholarship and records provide evidence for dead lan-
                                    cultures through the extinction of languages.                   guages, no active groups of people can speak it. Latin, Old Church Slavonic and Old Ti-
          There are about 6,912 living languages known but research has shown that every            betan fall in this category.
      fortnight, a language dies. “The pace of language extinction we are seeing, it is really          An interesting group of languages is emerging too. In this group are languages that
      unprecedented in human history,” said Dr. David Harrison for The Independent in 2007.         were extinct but have been actively revived for use in liturgical literature (Hebrew), or
      Author of When Languages Die, Harrison reported that the extinction of languages oc-          for pre-school instruction (Sanskrit). It is difficult to project if they will ever become the
      curs faster than that of the flora and fauna. “More than 40 percent of the world’s lan-       native language of the communities in which they are being revived, but as far as noble
      guages could be considered endangered compared to 8 percent of plants and 18 percent          efforts go, their resuscitation has been critical for the preservation of history and culture.
      of mammals,” he told The Independent. Linguists believe that half the languages in the            So how does a language die? The main culprits are globalization and migration. The
      world will be extinct by the end of the century.                                              lingua franca in cities replaces local languages and dialects, widely used in villages. As
          A language becomes extinct when it no longer has any living speakers, or when it          more children are born in the city, they take on this lingua franca as their first language
      evolves into a new language or a family of languages. It is also considered extinct when      and their mother tongue takes a back seat, if at all. As most research and scholarship is
      evidence shows that it was spoken in the past but modern scholarship cannot reconstruct       conducted in the world’s dominant languages, people feel pressured to perform all their
          it for writing and translating purposes. Some extinct languages are Coptic, which         intellectual work in say, English, rather than their native languages. Harrison reported
             was replaced by Arabic, as well as several Native American languages under-            that about 80 percent of the global population today speaks 80 of the world’s dominant
                                                                     mined by the more domi-        languages, among which are English and Russian. Only 0.2 percent of the international
                                                                         nant Spanish, English      community uses the other 3,500 less popular languages.
                                                                             and French.                As ancient languages die out, succumbing to the spread of these bully linguistic
                                                                                                    structures, they don’t leave behind a vacuum of voiceless people, but create more speak-
                                                                                                                        ers of the dominant world languages.
                                                                                                                             Suffice it to say, then, that all languages are equal, but some are
                                                                                                                         more equal than others.




        UNESCO reports that 538 of the world’s 2,279 endan-                                                                          Papua New Guinea is the world’s most linguistically
        gered languages are on the verge of extinction.                                                                              diverse nation, with 823 living languages.

        Out of 86 endangered indigenous languages in                                                                                 Mexico and Venezuela have 144 and 34 endangered in-
        Canada only three—Cree, Inuktitut and Anish-                                                                                 digenous languages accordingly.
        naabe—are
                                                                                                                                     Since the 1950s, almost half of California’s native In-




       Adopting English abroad: restrictive or liberating?
        expected to remain in Aboriginal communities.
                                                                                                                                     dian languages have disappeared.
        In Alaska, the Eyak language lost its last speaker,




       BY XINYUN ZHU ’13                     My grandfather learned to recognize the English let-   from Yemen. For instance, a city previously named Dawhi is now known as Tawahi. “Now
       CONTRIBUTING WRITER              ter “m” thanks to our frequent visits to the local McDon-   everyone calls cities by their English names,” she added. In Yemen, many young people
                                        ald’s in my hometown Shenzhen, China. Though I never        adopt the English language and prefer to use it in their everyday talk. “I feel worried
      managed to convince him to try the food, he knew what this huge red letter stood for. It      that they may become less capable of expressing themselves in Arabic, their native lan-
      is thus that the English language slowly makes its way into the lives of the Chinese.         guage,” Saqran said.
           In China, English is a mandatory subject at school, and those who speak it fluently          Not all English influences, however, are negative. In Japan, for instance, English
      are respected intellectuals and professionals. The language is also popularly used and        helped shape Japanese pop (J-pop), a mainstream musical genre that now extends its
      sometimes cleverly paired up with Chinese characters to form newly molded words with          influence to East and Southeast Asia. English in J-pop, James Stanlaw suggested in his
      brand new meanings that only Chinese young generations understand. The boundaries             book Japanese English, creates vivid images and allusions that are otherwise hard to ex-
      are blurring between Chinese becoming more anglicized, and English increasingly in-           press using only Japanese expressions. For example, “anata,” a Japanese pronoun that
      fused in the Chinese culture. Do we need English to express new ideas, or do we simply        means “you” in English, is an intimate word commonly used between lovers. When the
      find it cool to use?                                                                          songwriter wants to describe a break-up, she will adopt the English word “you.” Thus,
           Concerns arise in non-English speaking countries as the influence of the English lan-    the artist can better express heartbreaking feelings.
      guage extends to daily conversations and local pop culture. These are undestandable re-           Aside from music, English is creatively adopted in gendered situations. English loan-
      actions, since language is intimately connected to personal and cultural identities, which    words, as Stanlaw noted, empower Japanese women to “circumvent certain linguistic
      people are afraid of losing. The transformation of language itself also proves worrisome      and social constraints in Japanese language.” Thanks to this new communication tool,
      as more and more people realize that their native language changes in syntax and many         women are able to dip their feet into the water of taboos. Thus, English acts as a facili-
      other linguistic aspects under English influences.                                            tator in a social and cultural environment demanding revolutionary expressions.
            “During the British colonization period, some cities in Yemen were renamed because          So where do we draw the line between the restrictive and liberating powers of the
      English people couldn’t pronounce the original cities’ names,” said Lubna Saqran ’13          English language?


                                H AND      GESTURE ACCOMPANYING THE                          A RABIC        GREETING            A S -S ALĀMU `A LAYKUM

                                                                                     Laura Turyatemba ‘11 and
                                                                                     Emily Chow ‘12 demonstrate
                                                                                     the hand gesture accompany-
                                                                                     ing the Arabic greeting As-
                                                                                     Salamu `Alaykum in the
                                                                                     Arabian Peninsula. Partici-
                                                                                     pants perform a two-hand
                                                                                     shake and draw their hands
                                                                                     toward their hearts.




                                                                                     The spoken greeting means
                                                                                     “Peace be upon you” in Ara-
                                                                                     bic. The response to the greet-
                                                                                     ing is Wa- 'alaykum as-salam,
                                                                                     meaning “And upon you be
                                                                                     peace.” It is widespread in
                                                                                     Middle Eastern, South Asian,
                                                                                     African and Balkan countries.
Perspectives 11.19.09:Layout 1       2/7/10    10:58 PM     Page 2




      12                                                              PERSPECTIVES
      Learning French through traveling
                                                                                                                                                                                G
                                                                                                                                                            November 19, 2009       Mount Holyoke News




      BY CRYSTAL BOATENG ’10         The TGV train pulled away        mersing myself into the language during the first couple of                                   the person at the table next to
      STAFF WRITER
                                 from Gare Saint Roch, the main       months in Montpellier. I realized there was quite a differ-                                   me about interesting sightsee-
      station in Montpellier on a warm autumn morning while           ence between the French I had learned in the classroom                                     ings or asking for directions to
      the stream of announcements rolled out on the intercom,         and the one spoken by natives on the street. I found myself                                 the famous city cathedral, I did
      “Mesdames, messieurs votre attention s’il vous plait…”          lost in translation on countless occasions as people struck                                 so with ease and comfort. I have
      (Attention please, ladies and gentlemen…). A female voice       conversations with me on simple topics like where I was                                    to credit my great travel experi-
      announced basic train safety tips and the stops along the       from and why I was in France. My habit of translating                                      ences to the fact that I was able
      way, the final destination being Marseille. As I listened to    every sentence into English (in my mind) seemed effective                                  to converse and read in French.
      the announcements, I realized that I did not completely         in almost all my classes but was no longer helpful in                                          On one of my last trips from
      understand everything. However, I put two and two to-           France. Yet the more I traveled and interacted with                                          France to the Netherlands, I
      gether and concluded that in about half an hour, I would        French people, the more progress I started to notice.                                        was stranded at a train station
      get off at the station in a city called Nimes. With head-             Adventurous travelers would agree that it is exhila-       in a city I was unfamiliar with. As I tried to figure out
      phones in my ears and my iPod music on, I entered my            rating to visit places where foreign languages are spoken.       where to board the airport shuttle, I overheard another
      comfort zone listening to Alicia Keys’ album As I Am            Yet, doesn’t one miss the opportunity for an authentic ex-       lady who was also headed to the airport and we ended up
      throughout the entire ride.                                     perience by not speaking the native language? As I im-           sharing a taxi. Not once did I feel lost in translation during
          Prior to studying in France last year, I had never lived    proved in conversational French, I observed the                  our conversation. I found out that she also lived in Mont-
      in a country where the language spoken was not my first         differences in my interactions and appreciations of the          pellier and was traveling to the same city in the Nether-
      language. Though I had been studying French for several         various cities I visited. Whether it was walking into a café,    lands where I was heading. We kept in touch until the time




          We b l i n g o
      years before visiting the country, I had a difficult time im-   ordering a steaming cup of chocolat chaud, chatting with         came for me to return to the U.S.




                                                    ASAP — As Soon as Possible                               JIC — Just In Case
                                                    BCNU — Be Seeing You                                     LOL — Laughing Out Loud
                                                    CUL8R — See You Later                                    L8R — Later                                                    @home
                                                    G2G — Gotta go                                           MTF — More to Follow                                           @work
                                                    BTW— By The way                                          NO1 — No One                                                   @school
                                                    DL – Download                                            OTW -— On The Way                                              @prospect
                                                    F2F — Face To Face                                       PPL — People
                                                    FYI — For Your Information                               TBC — To Be Continued
                                                    IDK — I Don’t Know                                       ROTF — Rolling On The Floor (laughing is implied)
                                                    IOW — In Other Words                                     SY — Sincerely Yours
                                                    IMAO — In My Arrogant Opinion                            ZZZ — Sleepy, bored or tired




      Why former French colony Vietnam doesn’t speak French
                                                    JK — Just Kidding                                        4RL? — For Real?




      BY THU NGUYEN ’12               The first time I encountered a foreign language was in          words such as cyclo (“xich lo” in Vietnamese), gout (gu) and poupée (bup be).
      STAFF WRITER                third grade, when my academic curriculum started to include              The language-culture dynamics, however, can take different forms in other contexts.
                                  the subject English. The Vietnamese school curriculum, par-         In the former French colony Senegal, for instance, French remained the official language.
      ticularly for urban schools, requires students to learn a foreign language, and English,        Next to the usage of French as the nation’s official language, Senegal has a beautiful mo-
      no doubt, has been the number one choice for most schools.                                      saic of regional languages like Wolof, Soninke and Fula. These local cultures seem to
          Yet many of my Mount Holyoke friends ask me if in Vietnam we speak French as the            offer the perfect ingredients for literary works in French. Now the country boasts some
      second official language. Obviously, they have a reason. Vietnam was once a French              of the most successful French-language African writers such as Léopold Sédar Senghor.
      colony and is still a member country of the OIF (International Organization of La Fran-              Sometimes, I love to think of Mount Holyoke as a miniature country where English
      cophonie). However, as someone who had spent roughly nine years studying English be-            is used as the official language in classrooms and offices. And yet, alongside the usage
      fore starting French on my own, I have experienced as much trouble with conjugation of          of English, we hear hundreds of other languages like Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese,
      French verbs as anybody else. But even though, like most of my Vietnamese friends, I            French and Hindi in the dining halls and at various campus events. Even when we all
      hadn’t spoken any French for the first 17 years of my life, this language and culture have      speak English, our native cultures subtly add colorful nuances to our speech. At the
      somehow always been part of my life.                                                            Mount Holyoke’s Alumnae and Students of Color Conference this year, one of the
          In fact, reading L’amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras in my French 215 class             keynote speakers, Jacqueline Elena Featherston, said she was “tri-lingual” in English
      brought me back to Vietnam. I loved trailing the roads of Hanoi, my hometown and also           when addressing different listeners in her work.
      Vietnam’s capital, to delve into the mix of a new, bustling city life and ancient history.           Given the most dynamic and exciting link between language and culture that I have
      French colonial architecture, an indispensable part of my city’s scenery, has always been       realized and started to grasp here, I would like to respond to her thoughts—it’s ideal if
      my favorite. I would spend hours enjoying the romantic view of the Big Theater, or imag-        you can be 2200-lingual in English while at Mount Holyoke. After all, part of being here
      ining myself sipping coffee in the Paris-style coffee shop of L’hôtel Métropole.                is about learning a new language, knowing a new culture and discovering the endless
          The French language claims a unique place in the Vietnamese culture. In the 20th            links between them, no matter whether you officially register for a language course or
      century, a generation of talented French-educated writers brought a revolution to the           not.



            E YE - RUB
      Vietnamese language literature, once dominated by Confucian beliefs. We have adopted


                                                                                                                                      N OSE - RUBBING
                                                                            ←
                              LYING GESTURE                                                                                                                       KISSES

                                                                            Shuyao Wang ‘11 shows the eye-
                                                                            rub lying gesture. It is a sign of
                                                                            avoiding     eye    contact     or
                                                                            metaphorically blocking the lie
                                                                            welling up in the eye of the
                                                                            speaker. “Like the child, the
                                                                            speaker is subconsciously trying
                                                                            to avoid looking someone in the




                                                                            →
                                                                            eye whilst deceiving them,” wrote
                                                                            Geoffrey Broughton in his foreign
                                                                            language study Expressions.


                                                                            Laura Turyatemba ‘11 and
                                                                            Shuyao Wang ‘11 demonstrate
                                                                            the nose-rubbing kiss. It is a tra-
                                                                            ditional greeting gesture among
                                                                            the Inuit people of the Arctic.
                                                                            Also known as kunik, the Eskimo
                                                                            kissing is an intimate sign of af-
                                                                            fection. The rubbing of noses is
                                                                            also commonly used among the
                                                                            Maori, the indigenous Polynesian
                                                                            people of New Zealand, where it
                                                                            is called hongi.

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Languages

  • 1. Perspectives 11.19.09:Layout 1 2/7/10 10:57 PM Page 1 Languages die faster than flora and fauna November 19, 2009 G Mount Holyoke News PERSPECTIVES 11 BY LAURA TURYATEMBA ’11 There are enough reasons to lament the “villagizing” of Extinct languages, however, are not quite the same CONTRIBUTING WRITER our globe, but one that few have latched onto is the loss of as dead languages. Though scholarship and records provide evidence for dead lan- cultures through the extinction of languages. guages, no active groups of people can speak it. Latin, Old Church Slavonic and Old Ti- There are about 6,912 living languages known but research has shown that every betan fall in this category. fortnight, a language dies. “The pace of language extinction we are seeing, it is really An interesting group of languages is emerging too. In this group are languages that unprecedented in human history,” said Dr. David Harrison for The Independent in 2007. were extinct but have been actively revived for use in liturgical literature (Hebrew), or Author of When Languages Die, Harrison reported that the extinction of languages oc- for pre-school instruction (Sanskrit). It is difficult to project if they will ever become the curs faster than that of the flora and fauna. “More than 40 percent of the world’s lan- native language of the communities in which they are being revived, but as far as noble guages could be considered endangered compared to 8 percent of plants and 18 percent efforts go, their resuscitation has been critical for the preservation of history and culture. of mammals,” he told The Independent. Linguists believe that half the languages in the So how does a language die? The main culprits are globalization and migration. The world will be extinct by the end of the century. lingua franca in cities replaces local languages and dialects, widely used in villages. As A language becomes extinct when it no longer has any living speakers, or when it more children are born in the city, they take on this lingua franca as their first language evolves into a new language or a family of languages. It is also considered extinct when and their mother tongue takes a back seat, if at all. As most research and scholarship is evidence shows that it was spoken in the past but modern scholarship cannot reconstruct conducted in the world’s dominant languages, people feel pressured to perform all their it for writing and translating purposes. Some extinct languages are Coptic, which intellectual work in say, English, rather than their native languages. Harrison reported was replaced by Arabic, as well as several Native American languages under- that about 80 percent of the global population today speaks 80 of the world’s dominant mined by the more domi- languages, among which are English and Russian. Only 0.2 percent of the international nant Spanish, English community uses the other 3,500 less popular languages. and French. As ancient languages die out, succumbing to the spread of these bully linguistic structures, they don’t leave behind a vacuum of voiceless people, but create more speak- ers of the dominant world languages. Suffice it to say, then, that all languages are equal, but some are more equal than others. UNESCO reports that 538 of the world’s 2,279 endan- Papua New Guinea is the world’s most linguistically gered languages are on the verge of extinction. diverse nation, with 823 living languages. Out of 86 endangered indigenous languages in Mexico and Venezuela have 144 and 34 endangered in- Canada only three—Cree, Inuktitut and Anish- digenous languages accordingly. naabe—are Since the 1950s, almost half of California’s native In- Adopting English abroad: restrictive or liberating? expected to remain in Aboriginal communities. dian languages have disappeared. In Alaska, the Eyak language lost its last speaker, BY XINYUN ZHU ’13 My grandfather learned to recognize the English let- from Yemen. For instance, a city previously named Dawhi is now known as Tawahi. “Now CONTRIBUTING WRITER ter “m” thanks to our frequent visits to the local McDon- everyone calls cities by their English names,” she added. In Yemen, many young people ald’s in my hometown Shenzhen, China. Though I never adopt the English language and prefer to use it in their everyday talk. “I feel worried managed to convince him to try the food, he knew what this huge red letter stood for. It that they may become less capable of expressing themselves in Arabic, their native lan- is thus that the English language slowly makes its way into the lives of the Chinese. guage,” Saqran said. In China, English is a mandatory subject at school, and those who speak it fluently Not all English influences, however, are negative. In Japan, for instance, English are respected intellectuals and professionals. The language is also popularly used and helped shape Japanese pop (J-pop), a mainstream musical genre that now extends its sometimes cleverly paired up with Chinese characters to form newly molded words with influence to East and Southeast Asia. English in J-pop, James Stanlaw suggested in his brand new meanings that only Chinese young generations understand. The boundaries book Japanese English, creates vivid images and allusions that are otherwise hard to ex- are blurring between Chinese becoming more anglicized, and English increasingly in- press using only Japanese expressions. For example, “anata,” a Japanese pronoun that fused in the Chinese culture. Do we need English to express new ideas, or do we simply means “you” in English, is an intimate word commonly used between lovers. When the find it cool to use? songwriter wants to describe a break-up, she will adopt the English word “you.” Thus, Concerns arise in non-English speaking countries as the influence of the English lan- the artist can better express heartbreaking feelings. guage extends to daily conversations and local pop culture. These are undestandable re- Aside from music, English is creatively adopted in gendered situations. English loan- actions, since language is intimately connected to personal and cultural identities, which words, as Stanlaw noted, empower Japanese women to “circumvent certain linguistic people are afraid of losing. The transformation of language itself also proves worrisome and social constraints in Japanese language.” Thanks to this new communication tool, as more and more people realize that their native language changes in syntax and many women are able to dip their feet into the water of taboos. Thus, English acts as a facili- other linguistic aspects under English influences. tator in a social and cultural environment demanding revolutionary expressions. “During the British colonization period, some cities in Yemen were renamed because So where do we draw the line between the restrictive and liberating powers of the English people couldn’t pronounce the original cities’ names,” said Lubna Saqran ’13 English language? H AND GESTURE ACCOMPANYING THE A RABIC GREETING A S -S ALĀMU `A LAYKUM Laura Turyatemba ‘11 and Emily Chow ‘12 demonstrate the hand gesture accompany- ing the Arabic greeting As- Salamu `Alaykum in the Arabian Peninsula. Partici- pants perform a two-hand shake and draw their hands toward their hearts. The spoken greeting means “Peace be upon you” in Ara- bic. The response to the greet- ing is Wa- 'alaykum as-salam, meaning “And upon you be peace.” It is widespread in Middle Eastern, South Asian, African and Balkan countries.
  • 2. Perspectives 11.19.09:Layout 1 2/7/10 10:58 PM Page 2 12 PERSPECTIVES Learning French through traveling G November 19, 2009 Mount Holyoke News BY CRYSTAL BOATENG ’10 The TGV train pulled away mersing myself into the language during the first couple of the person at the table next to STAFF WRITER from Gare Saint Roch, the main months in Montpellier. I realized there was quite a differ- me about interesting sightsee- station in Montpellier on a warm autumn morning while ence between the French I had learned in the classroom ings or asking for directions to the stream of announcements rolled out on the intercom, and the one spoken by natives on the street. I found myself the famous city cathedral, I did “Mesdames, messieurs votre attention s’il vous plait…” lost in translation on countless occasions as people struck so with ease and comfort. I have (Attention please, ladies and gentlemen…). A female voice conversations with me on simple topics like where I was to credit my great travel experi- announced basic train safety tips and the stops along the from and why I was in France. My habit of translating ences to the fact that I was able way, the final destination being Marseille. As I listened to every sentence into English (in my mind) seemed effective to converse and read in French. the announcements, I realized that I did not completely in almost all my classes but was no longer helpful in On one of my last trips from understand everything. However, I put two and two to- France. Yet the more I traveled and interacted with France to the Netherlands, I gether and concluded that in about half an hour, I would French people, the more progress I started to notice. was stranded at a train station get off at the station in a city called Nimes. With head- Adventurous travelers would agree that it is exhila- in a city I was unfamiliar with. As I tried to figure out phones in my ears and my iPod music on, I entered my rating to visit places where foreign languages are spoken. where to board the airport shuttle, I overheard another comfort zone listening to Alicia Keys’ album As I Am Yet, doesn’t one miss the opportunity for an authentic ex- lady who was also headed to the airport and we ended up throughout the entire ride. perience by not speaking the native language? As I im- sharing a taxi. Not once did I feel lost in translation during Prior to studying in France last year, I had never lived proved in conversational French, I observed the our conversation. I found out that she also lived in Mont- in a country where the language spoken was not my first differences in my interactions and appreciations of the pellier and was traveling to the same city in the Nether- language. Though I had been studying French for several various cities I visited. Whether it was walking into a café, lands where I was heading. We kept in touch until the time We b l i n g o years before visiting the country, I had a difficult time im- ordering a steaming cup of chocolat chaud, chatting with came for me to return to the U.S. ASAP — As Soon as Possible JIC — Just In Case BCNU — Be Seeing You LOL — Laughing Out Loud CUL8R — See You Later L8R — Later @home G2G — Gotta go MTF — More to Follow @work BTW— By The way NO1 — No One @school DL – Download OTW -— On The Way @prospect F2F — Face To Face PPL — People FYI — For Your Information TBC — To Be Continued IDK — I Don’t Know ROTF — Rolling On The Floor (laughing is implied) IOW — In Other Words SY — Sincerely Yours IMAO — In My Arrogant Opinion ZZZ — Sleepy, bored or tired Why former French colony Vietnam doesn’t speak French JK — Just Kidding 4RL? — For Real? BY THU NGUYEN ’12 The first time I encountered a foreign language was in words such as cyclo (“xich lo” in Vietnamese), gout (gu) and poupée (bup be). STAFF WRITER third grade, when my academic curriculum started to include The language-culture dynamics, however, can take different forms in other contexts. the subject English. The Vietnamese school curriculum, par- In the former French colony Senegal, for instance, French remained the official language. ticularly for urban schools, requires students to learn a foreign language, and English, Next to the usage of French as the nation’s official language, Senegal has a beautiful mo- no doubt, has been the number one choice for most schools. saic of regional languages like Wolof, Soninke and Fula. These local cultures seem to Yet many of my Mount Holyoke friends ask me if in Vietnam we speak French as the offer the perfect ingredients for literary works in French. Now the country boasts some second official language. Obviously, they have a reason. Vietnam was once a French of the most successful French-language African writers such as Léopold Sédar Senghor. colony and is still a member country of the OIF (International Organization of La Fran- Sometimes, I love to think of Mount Holyoke as a miniature country where English cophonie). However, as someone who had spent roughly nine years studying English be- is used as the official language in classrooms and offices. And yet, alongside the usage fore starting French on my own, I have experienced as much trouble with conjugation of of English, we hear hundreds of other languages like Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, French verbs as anybody else. But even though, like most of my Vietnamese friends, I French and Hindi in the dining halls and at various campus events. Even when we all hadn’t spoken any French for the first 17 years of my life, this language and culture have speak English, our native cultures subtly add colorful nuances to our speech. At the somehow always been part of my life. Mount Holyoke’s Alumnae and Students of Color Conference this year, one of the In fact, reading L’amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras in my French 215 class keynote speakers, Jacqueline Elena Featherston, said she was “tri-lingual” in English brought me back to Vietnam. I loved trailing the roads of Hanoi, my hometown and also when addressing different listeners in her work. Vietnam’s capital, to delve into the mix of a new, bustling city life and ancient history. Given the most dynamic and exciting link between language and culture that I have French colonial architecture, an indispensable part of my city’s scenery, has always been realized and started to grasp here, I would like to respond to her thoughts—it’s ideal if my favorite. I would spend hours enjoying the romantic view of the Big Theater, or imag- you can be 2200-lingual in English while at Mount Holyoke. After all, part of being here ining myself sipping coffee in the Paris-style coffee shop of L’hôtel Métropole. is about learning a new language, knowing a new culture and discovering the endless The French language claims a unique place in the Vietnamese culture. In the 20th links between them, no matter whether you officially register for a language course or century, a generation of talented French-educated writers brought a revolution to the not. E YE - RUB Vietnamese language literature, once dominated by Confucian beliefs. We have adopted N OSE - RUBBING ← LYING GESTURE KISSES Shuyao Wang ‘11 shows the eye- rub lying gesture. It is a sign of avoiding eye contact or metaphorically blocking the lie welling up in the eye of the speaker. “Like the child, the speaker is subconsciously trying to avoid looking someone in the → eye whilst deceiving them,” wrote Geoffrey Broughton in his foreign language study Expressions. Laura Turyatemba ‘11 and Shuyao Wang ‘11 demonstrate the nose-rubbing kiss. It is a tra- ditional greeting gesture among the Inuit people of the Arctic. Also known as kunik, the Eskimo kissing is an intimate sign of af- fection. The rubbing of noses is also commonly used among the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, where it is called hongi.