Language Educators Learn from Artists
July 21, 2018
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At the Lyndon House Galleries, the director talked about an exhibition of photography from a local musician. She told our group that she doesn’t use the “emerging artist” term anymore because of its negative connotations–not good enough, not arrived. She explained, “I say that the exhibits are for artists who are inventing or launching their artistic practice or re-investigating/re-vitalizing their careers.”
Now, I have absolutely loved Ofelia Garcia’s contribution to bilingualism and language studies, shifting very disparaging terms such as “Limited English Proficient” (LEP) toward “emerging bilinguals.” It felt right–all of us can be emerging bilinguals anywhere on the continua.
But what might it be like to talk about “launching bilinguals” for all of us, touching each word like a new star in the orbits of our widening vocabulary skies? What might it be like to “invent our bilingual selves” through travel in other lexicons or to reinvent ourselves and revitalize the language we can access to communicate that much more of who we are?
I am so grateful to the artists who never stop playing with language and image, to help us see the same things different and to see new things we didn’t see before. I am going to launch and invent myself this new lexicon and revitalize my understanding of what it means to speak, write, listen, read, and love in more than one language.