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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

ESL: ‘English as a Shared Language’

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to Yasuhito Yamamoto, one of the creators of Chord Magazine-a soon-to-be published “Multi-American” collection of literary works and artistic forms of expression. Yasuhito is a senior English major who is graduating this semester and currently applying for grad school here at UMass Boston. With the help of the Asian American Studies Program, Yasuhito developed the idea for the magazine, which began last semester.

Our university educates students from all over the world, many of whom speak English as second, or even third language. Yasuhito honors and greatly values the various expressions of language, which are too often assimilated into a level of grammatical acceptance. “Readers may encounter grammatical ‘errors’ with which some people think the author loses her/his authority. We rather think that those ‘errors’ will strengthen her/his writing, for it insists who she/he is; speaks up her/his own voice.” In order to succeed in our society you must sometimes be forced to assimilate to a generic culture of doing things, which leaves little room for diverse expressions.

Some people argue that there would be too much difficulty and confusion in trying to embrace the various forms of English expressed by the diverse population of students on our campus. I agree with Yasuhito’s notion that along with embracing diversity, we must also be willing to embrace the difficulties that come along with it, “Our English should reflect the diversity of United States. Although including various Englishs may make our communications difficult, we’d better be proud of the difficulty, for it proves our efforts of including and understanding different, yet equal ‘Americans.'”

Later in our conversation Yasuhito made it very clear that the magazine was not trying to compete with the various other publications on campus. In fact, he expresses that there is much to be gained in building a connection between the different publications. Chord Magazine attempts to serve as an opportunity for students, especially those whose first language is not English. Chord Magazine should be a place for students of all backgrounds to comfortably, naturally express themselves without restrictions or unjust comparisons.

Our talk ended with Yasuhito thankfully expressing that the magazine couldn’t be launched without a support from everyone involved at the Asian American Studies program here at UMass Boston.

For more information about making a submission (Deadline: March 23, 2005) or joining the team at Chord Magazine (Weekly Meetings: Thursdays@ 3PM Rm. W.02.097), you can send e-mails to [email protected] or through the Asian American studies program located at Wheatley 02-097. Also, you can check out the Chord Magazine website at www.asams.umb.edu