Anais Kessler: Interviews!

paper with diagram and words about language acquisition

My last blog post addressed writing my IRB application for this project and the long approval process. Luckily, the IRB approved my project on the eve of my departure for Paris. Having finally completed that process, I was able to begin interviews.

Interviewing other individuals is and has always been one of my favorite ways to learn. It’s a chance to get to pick someone’s brains and indulge curiosities in a different manner than over dinner or say, coffee. I had a few different types of interviews while in Paris, and got a small glimpse at how varied I can expect my data to be as I continue in New York and Montreal.

Post-interview mind map: lots to think about!

My Paris interviews have already allowed me to define major differentiation between most people: whether they actively think about how language effects their nationality and culture  or not. Of course, whether or not people actively consider their nationality in relation to their culture and nationality is closely linked to the way they were raised. For example: one interviewee had been raised between two countries: speaking two languages and living in two very different cultures. This interviewee expressed a similar passion for the questions I was asking, and was able to provide thorough and thought out answers to my questions; pointing towards the fact they had already asked these questions and thought about them at length.

Similarly, another interviewee had been raised in one place, speaking one language their entire life, but upon studying their first language and discovering a new culture, quickly went on to learn two additional languages and living in two new countries iin the years that followed college. This particular interviewee explained to me that they had sought to acquire new languages as a vehicle to become fluent in new cultures, thus opening up a whole new world of arts and literature. Later in life, when they had a child and raised them in two different countries and cultures, speaking two different languages, they could speak to how this effected their child’s development.

This week I’m off to Canada to conduct interviews in Montreal, and the week after that I return to New York for New York interviews!