The future of the world is in my classroom today - Ivon Welton Fitzwater

Month: January 2021

Linguistic Landscape

SECTION 1: The zone I picked for my Linguistic Landscape assignment was the entire town of Raymore sask, which is where I live. I decided to pick the entire town due to it not being that big and I was interested to learn the history and explore more of it. I did not grow up in Raymore but I moved to Raymore from Melville Sask five years ago. Melville is considered a city but to me it will still be just a little bit bigger of a ‘town’ than Raymore is. The town of Raymore became a town in 1908 and the current population is a total of 575 people. In Raymore there is a variety of different ages. The majority of them are older, anywhere from 60-64 but there are slowly starting to become more younger people moving into the area as well. There are a lot of nurses and EMT’s in the town as well as teachers. The community of Raymore is an agricultural town which results in us having four big agricultural dealerships, Case IH, John Deere and Mazergroup, previously known as Raymore New Holland. Our community is made up of 75% of aboriginal population and the second largest aboriginal population is the Metis. Our town is also close to many aboriginal reservations so we have a diverse community of people. Although there are many different cultures around Raymore, I have come to realize that most of the community is made up of the English language. 

While researching the history of Raymore, I kept finding myself coming across many articles about the bar that still stands today. This bar was built in 1911 by Archibald G. MacLean but by 1916 there were new owners, William “Bill” Baker and his wife Ida. These owners ran the hotel with the help of two Chinese cooks, a waitress and a porter. They held dances and fancy-dress parades but when the prohibition hit, the Bakers left and they sold the hotel to two Chinese, Mah Yuen and Ping Sam. In 1935 which was the year the government allowed the sale of beer. The two Chinese could not obtain a liquor license due to the law stating you could only obtain a liquor license if you could vote which Chinese could not until 1947. Through many articles this was the only mention of a different culture or language coming into Raymore. Another big part of Raymore is the Pioneer Museum which is a historical two one-storey, wood-frame churches that we moved into Raymore starting in1967 to commemorate Canada’s Centennial. The museum’s collection expanded which resulted in moving an old church from the town of Quinton just down the road to provide more space for displaying artifacts. 

Raymore is off the highway of 6 and 15. It does not look like it in the picture but it is also on an angle


  • Poster that was both English and French found in the post office window 
  • The Loras disposal bins also do not show any proof of multilingual either
  • Electronic Bulletin board on mainstream shows announcements etc but only in English. This is a big sign everyone sees that could easily display more than just English on it for language
  • This is the grocery store that the one Chinese family owns
  • Public library sign. They have story time here for play school children. This is one spot that should be multilingual not just for the community but for the children to learn also 
  • School Bus sign out front the Raymore School
EnglishFrenchBilingualFirst Nation Language

Shows how many of what language were present in pictures 

Store-frontBulletin boardStreet SignsBuilding SignsPoster Signs
4 470

Shows what languages were where 

SECTION 3: Throughout this process I believe that due to the majority of my pictures being of English language, Raymore proves to be more of a one language town, or monolingual. There are not many diverse languages being spoken in Raymore which results in less posters, signs etc. being in more than one language. Although there are many different cultures in Raymore and surrounding area, through all the pictures I took or signs I came across while on my walk or driving around; I would expect that English would be the most spoken language. Other than the two poster’s I saw in the post office with both English and French printed on them, I have never personally heard someone speak French in Raymore, but that does not mean that people don’t speak it. The most common language I would expect to hear in Raymore is English with the occasional time being Chinese due to having Chinese owners in our bar, a grocery store, a restaurant as well as the Esso/restaurant. There is a possibility of Indigenous languages spoken as well due to Indigenous people being in and around the town. As I drove or walked around town, I realized just how many English signs there were and how little of any other language was present, although there are other families who speak different languages in town. I believe that the languages in the pictures I have taken do represent my own linguistics identity due to the fact that I only speak English and 99% of the signs were in English only. With so many signs being in English form, it seems to be that it could be considered the main spoken language in other small towns other than Raymore. I believe this could be due to the fact that lots of small towns seem to have the same family history, and therefore like to raise their families where they were raised, which results in only one main spoken language. 

This linguistic landscape shapes me with being confident in my own language but also being aware that there also needs to be more signs with different languages represented for new comers, tourists or just to acknowledge the people that speak more than one language in and around our town. While going around town I came to realize that there must be many children in town due to so many signs about children playing or school zones. This shows that the community is growing with different cultural families and will continue to thrive as the children get older, which means that the signs also need to become more diverse as the community continues to grow. The power to determine what languages appears in signs I believe is the people of the community. This would possibly include; the mayor, town committee or counsel, the residents and anyone else who has a right to an opinion. When you live in a village, town, or city, I feel you should have some type of right in voicing your opinion about anything that goes on, this includes the type of signs that go up for everyone to better understand the people that live in the community. This might be easier to achieve in a smaller town due to everyone knowing each other and being able to get your opinion across. I also think that the people or families that have immigrated to Canada or people that have chosen to learn a new language just to understand it more, should not suffer with having to know English to read the signs. When people go on vacation, if there is not a translation for your language somewhere on a sign, it is extremely hard to understand where you are going and how to get there. This is the same concept for people in Canada. Each village, town, city should be more accommodating to the multilingualism in their communities and post more than just English on signs. 

To me a small community like Raymore is looked at like a big family and family fight for what is right and what is right is to have more signs to acknowledge the different cultures and families in the community. I feel this is important because they also help contribute in the day-to-day tasks that make up the community everyone lives in. If signs are needed to be put around the community, Mayor and Council are the ones who will decide on this, as well as the language put onto said signs. The acknowledgment of changing the signage is a simple step to show that the community welcomes diversity and does not shy away. It also shows we are accepting of all backgrounds and welcoming new understandings of who truly lives in our communities. These changes do not just simply have to mean signage on a building or store front, but can also be shown by our Chinese store owners bringing in and embracing their culture in the actual store itself. This can be done by posters, pictures, music etc. This also allows other people to be able to embrace different culture and gives hope that people may want to learn their language as they learn ours. While doing this assignment, it truly opened up my eyes to the signs around my community. I find it shows just how monolingual we seem to be even though there are many multilingual families as well as different families of culture in and around our community. This made me think about how little we truly acknowledge the different cultures and people around and, in our community, even though we are mostly an English-speaking community. Acknowledging that there are more people that could come into a community with different cultures and languages is a small step in welcoming anyone into a new village, town or city. I believe with the right direction and determination, our community of Raymore as well as many other places, can begin making small changes that will be able to include all cultures in and around the community. This will help to make everyone feel more accepted and like they are understood and belong. 


E-Portfolio Self Assessment – April 7th 2021

*I am not sure if I added that correctly as there is more than one box for certain criteria but what I highlighted I believe is accurate*

Comments: I gave myself this mark for the fact that although I thought my blog posts were well written and I took the time to make a title to highlight what I would be talking about for that post, some of my posts did not fully relate to the topics discussed in that week or weeks prior. I also did not elaborate fully on how I would bring certain things into my classroom or what my ideas would be about. I did show growth and understanding along the way that helped me to understand and connect more with myself from what was learned in class as well as when I was out in my community doing my linguistic landscape and learning about my family history in my Language Profile.


Second Times The Charm

Reflection 5 – Week 10: March 24, 2021

Meeting with the Mexican exchange students this week I felt more relaxed knowing our group had a plan in place instead of trying to come up with ways for the students to talk when we met them the first time. We made a game that called a Colour Scavenger Hunt and depending on the colour on the screen, depended on what we had to go and find to bring back. Although the children did not fully understand and thought they had to say what was on the screen, they still participated which we were all happy about. Once our game was done, we discussed what they liked to do for fun and most of them said video games and then named a few, others liked to draw or colour. One girl asked what our favourite songs were and ended up playing one of them for us to all dance along to which everyone got a giggle from.

I enjoyed getting to know the children more this week as I felt like they were more comfortable with us compared to the first time we met and I believe we were more comfortable with them as well. Coming in for the second time, we knew more of what we were getting into with some students not knowing English, some students knowing English and some being shy and not wanting to talk. It also helped that we had a game planned out and that our group was not afraid to ask more questions when the group got silent. Most students did not turn on their mics but when they wanted to say something they would type it, which we were fine with as everyone has their own comfort level. 

After the class ended, this interaction made me think about how it will be when I first start teaching my own class. How the first few days will be nerve wracking and some may not even talk to me or other students. By getting to know the students and understanding their likes and dislikes I will be able to create an activity and if I cannot figure out what they like and do not like on the first few days, I will make an activity to help me get to know them and them get to know me. It is normal to be nervous at the beginning, but working towards knowing your children and them knowing you is something that can be overcome as a team which is what I found our group did today in class.


Reflection 4 – Week 8: March 8 – 10

Language Profile 

While learning more about my language profile, it got me to thinking why I don’t take it on myself to learn my language that my great grandparents once spoke. If I was to learn one of their languages, it would make me feel like I knew them a bit better although never being able to meet them. I also realized while talking with my aunt about my family history, that just how hard it was to come over to Canada. What I thought I knew and what I learned about their travels surprised me. Although it is not as hard today to come to Canada, many are still frowned upon if they move to Canada and choose to still speak a different language other than English. Although some choose to simply just speak English, I believe that everyone should have a say once they come to Canada if they want to continue to speak their own language as well as English. There are many people these days that choose to learn many languages, so I am not exactly sure why it is so hard for someone coming to Canada not be looked at the same, they are just learning English as a second language instead of their first.

If I had the chance to take a language that I would really like to learn, I would choose to, for the fact that this language could take me places and meet people that I never would have thought of meeting if I only spoke one language. Being multilingual is an asset and more people need to start looking at it as a benefit instead of a disadvantage 


Reflection 3 – Week 6: February 22 -24

Meeting the Mexican Exchange Students

The week we got back from Spring break I had forgotten about that being the day we got to meet our Mexican exchange students. To see all those faces and hear all those ‘good mornings’ really brought light to what I thought would be a normal Wednesday. Getting to talk listen to them talk their language and look so happy was something I think about regularly still. When we got put into groups, I was expecting to be able to understand them more than I did. At first, I had no idea how I was going to interact with students who did not know any English and myself not knowing any Spanish. Thankfully, Andrea spoke Spanish and she covered questions that we had for them and some of the children also typed in the chat.

For our next group it was harder to figure out what to do due to no one in that group speaking English and none of the children new well enough English. My group members and I figured that google translate would be our best option and we were able to get some answers from the children in our group that way, either through the chat or they tried to speak to us. 

It took until the class ended to realize how nervous I had been having to deal with a different language that I don’t deal with on a regular basis and I thought about how the children must have been feeling too although they looked extremely excited to be with us. Although I was nervous the first time around, I cannot wait to interact with these students again and hopefully get to know them a bit better.  


Language Awareness Activity

Reflection 2 – Week 5: February 8th – 10th

1)   Translate the word “water” from English to at least 15 languages available in Google Translate. Do not choose 20 languages that are familiar to you. Try to choose from a broad range of languages (and writing systems). You can also make use of the “listen” button. Write the water words below. As you complete this task, begin to reflect upon the following questions. 

Malagasy: Rano

Norwegian: Van

Turkish: Su

Latin: Aqua

Vietnamese: Nuóc

Romanian: apû

Punjabi: ਪਾਣੀ

Dutch: water

Albanian: ujë

Igbo: mmiri

Croatian: voda

Macedonian: вода

Malay: air

Hebrew: מים

Tatar: cy

  • Does the word look/sound the same in some languages? While translating the word “water” from English into different languages, I came across some that were exactly the same or from the way they were spelt I knew it was the word “water”. Some of the words that I did figured looked the same or gave the same meaning were: for Dutch, it was the same spelling and pronunciation. With the Latin language, it was “aqua” which reminded me of being in Mexico and asking for water which we would say “aqua” so I found that word sounded similar but in a different language. This was also shown through the website provided that when the Roman Empire broke up and although they all have their different spelling and pronunciation, Italian, Spanish and Portugese all sound the same except the fact that Italians spell the word “water”, ‘acqua’ and Spanish and Portuguese spell it ‘aqua’. I also found interesting that in Malay their word for “water” is “air” which I was not expecting but I enjoyed learning that as well as all the other languages words for ‘water’. 


Becoming More Language Aware

Reflection 1 – Week 2: January 18th – 20th

Through the first two weeks of ELNG 200 I’ve started to understand more on what the meaning of language awareness is and how to understand it for myself as well as bring it into my future classroom. Before we discussed the deeper meaning of Language Awareness, to me I believed it was knowing if you knew how to speak the language or not. Now I understand it is much more than simply speaking a language. Language awareness is noticing the small and big things of languages in your everyday life such as, in English we say a sentence one way, but in Spanish it is said backwards, example: Blue shoe in English is, shoe blue, in Spanish. Also, that there are many different “types” of languages in some countries, such as high French, or low French. When discussing language awareness in a zoom group, there was discussion on how we became to understand different languages. I mentioned that I took different classes in high school and university, such as French or Cree and one of my group members mentioned she simply just asks her coworkers who speak a different language how to say particular words or to teach her words so she can understand more of their language.             I’ve come to realize that language awareness is not just being aware of who speaks what language and that there are many different languages. It is also to realize that in different languages words can have different meanings and we need to understand how to use those words or actions when talking to other people. While doing research for our Linguistic Landscape assignment, I came to realize how many English-speaking signs are around my small town of Raymore although we are more than just an English-speaking community. A few stores are ran by Chinese families but yet have all English in their restaurants or stores. We have an electronic bulletin board at the end of main street that only shows English on it as well. It really made me stop and wonder, how many people are actually language aware of what is not only going around them but also in their community. If they notice the small changes that need to happen or pick up on the small differences in languages. This makes me excited for what is to come in this class as well as being able to bring more knowledge and understanding 

© 2024 Sarah Breti

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑