Celebrate the Accents

Opening Program

Dr. Bonny Norton

Keynote Speaker

What is a definitive Canadian accent? We’re about much more than our “eh”s to “zed”s!

Dr. Bonny Norton is an exemplary model. As a linguistics and language education professor, a distinguished scholar, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Norton represents UBC and fellow Canadians around the world. Speaking at conferences and academic events in many different communities, new audiences are astounded to hear her heavy South African accent.

“South Africa is part of my roots,” says Dr. Norton, “but Canada is my present and my future. We have many identities. You don’t have to choose – you can be both. You can be more than two.”

What kinds of challenges have you lived through or witnessed? Discover the stories of Dr. Norton and other speakers who let their accents shine with pride in this intimate talk.

Liliana Castaneda

“I immigrated to Canada 15 years ago, and I can now tell that this has been a bittersweet experience.”

Liliana Castaneda is a Student Services Assistant Manager at the UBC English Language Institute. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and graduate degrees in Political Science and Latin American Studies, Liliana is also pursuing graduate studies in literature at UBC.

“On one hand, I feel privileged to celebrate diversity and live in a peaceful country,” shares Liliana. “But on the other hand, I have also had to deal with a society that is still learning how to be tolerant toward people from other nationalities, religions and accents. As a first-generation immigrant, it has not always been easy to prove we are hardworking, smart, or even funny. That’s the challenge we all face!”

Liliana loves spending time with her family: her husband Gilberto and her son Andres; as well as reading and dancing.

Louise Lee

Linguistic challenges are more than just in speech. Veteran Taiwanese author Louise Lee has published sixteen books in Taiwan and the USA, including six books in both Taiwanese and English. Hear firsthand what motivates her to face the challenging task of translating her works and creations!

“I come from Taiwan,” says Lee, “but Chinese is Taiwan’s official language in the school system. Someone asked me why I am so serious about writing in Taiwanese. I answered ‘It is my mother tongue.’ My writing has always focused on maternal love, and the historical novel ‘Penghu Moon in the Well’ is my greatest tribute to this subject.

“I wanted more English-speaking people to understand the true history of Taiwan, so I translated ‘Penghu Moon in the Well’ from Chinese to English. Speaking in Chinese and Taiwanese for more than half a century, writing in English is a big problem for me. Mine is the story of a Taiwanese immigrant writing in English – you can see how I am up for the challenge!”

‘Penghu Moon in the Well’ was published in 2011 and has been showcased at international book fairs in Toronto, Beijing, Taipei, and Frankfurt.

Venue / Time

Vancouver Art Gallery Stage 
11:00 – 12:15

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