Subtractive bilingualism? It’s not!

I acquired, learned and even forgot how to speak languages but fortunately, I had retained the ability to re-learn these (forgotten) languages! I speak Nepali, which is my native language. During my early childhood, I learned to speak Hindi when I moved to India along with my father, who was then a British Gurkha. I also learned Marathi, an official language of the State of Maharashtra, in the primary grades in India then. After a few years, I went back to Nepal, immersed myself in Nepali but forgot how to speak Hindi or Marathi in Nepal (but interestingly enough, I didn’t know that I had retained the ability to re-learn these language later without much effort!). As well, I learned English and Sanskrit both in Nepal and India! I continued to speak Nepali and English and use Sanskrit when I moved to India for the second time. And, I quickly learned to speak and write both Hindi and Marathi fluently (This was the ability to re-learn languages I was talking about earlier!). Afterwards, I returned to Nepal; the process of visiting India time and again continued for a while but during this adulthood (,which I often call my “language-rich” period), I didn’t lose any of my language skills in Nepali, Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, or English. Since then, as a fluent speaker, I have been using all of these languages in different contexts, except Sanskrit, which I only use when performing rituals at home, French, which I had simply begun to learn formally at a university in Canada but don’t speak at all, and Spanish, which I had started learning in the States but have now begun to lose, sadly. Is this subtractive bilingualism? Maybe, it’s not!


About Raj Khatri

In addition to providing mentoring services to pre-service ESL/EFL instructors, I have always enjoyed for over 15 years facilitating both adult and K-12 ESL and EAP classes that include international, immigrant and refugee students in a variety of settings across North America and South Asia. The opportunity to work as a TESL Practicum Supervisor at the Department of Linguistics of the University of Victoria has further helped me share with and learn from colleagues and enhance my knowledge and expertise in the field.  I had served as an ESL Instructor III at the University of Regina for two years and a half before joining Camosun College as an ELD Instructor in the fall of 2014. I always appreciate the opportunity I was provided with to facilitate EAP, ESL, LBS and LINC classes in various capacities, including Professor at Centennial College, Instructor at the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Seneca College, and Centennial College in Toronto, and Lecturer at Padma Kanya Multiple Campus (Tribhuvan University affiliated) and Teacher at GEMS in Kathmandu. Awarded the University of Victoria Fellowship (2014) and the Geoffrey & Alix O'Grady Scholarship in Linguistics for Academic Excellence, I am currently working with Dr. Huang on my doctoral studies in linguistics, with a major focus of research in applied linguistics, while still continuing to facilitate EAP classes and supervise TESL practicum students in BC. Before I completed my Special Education program with Honors at Queen’s University in Ontario and got certified to teach in the K-12 public education system as an Ontario College teacher (OCT), as well as to teach adult ESL classes as a TESL Ontario accredited instructor in 2009, I had worked with Dr. Haulman and earned my second Master’s degree in TESL at the University of Central Oklahoma, where I had received the President’s Honor Roll for four consecutive semesters and graduated Summa Cum Laude. I was deeply honored when Brad Henry, then Governor of the State of Oklahoma in the United States, recognized my public input about college safety and public education in 2007 and 2008. Holding the belief that it is important to give back to the community, I have always been engaged in voluntary activities, both in professional and community-related areas and have been enjoying working with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. My voluntary services extend from providing support to schools and school libraries and in Nepal to facilitating ESL/EAP classrooms at various settings, including at the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Regina Public Schools and supporting voluntary organizations that include the Regina Food Bank, the Salvation Army (Regina), the Regina Green Patch, and Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society in various capacities. I have been an accredited member of TESL Canada (Professional Standard III Permanent, since 2009), and Ontario College of Teachers (OCT; since 2010), and I hold Saskatchewan Professional 'A' Certificate. As well, as a member, I have been participating in professional development activities at TESOL and BC TEAL since 2007 and 2013 respectively. My areas of research interests are second language reading strategies, second language writing, intercultural communication and classroom practices, and adult ELLs with disabilities. Thank you for visiting! Happy Exploring!
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