Mbolatsara (Still good)

Time seems to be flying by lately. We went to Antsiranana in the north of the island so that I could do some teaching, mentoring, and teacher training. It was a great trip. We got to see the city and the majestic views of the many bays of Antsiranana, and get out of the hustle and bustle of the capital for a bit. The university there is very different from the university in the capital. It is a bit smaller and it has a more open and relaxed feel to it. There is often a strong and pleasant wind coming from the bay that seems to bring a feeling of calm with it. It’s very chill, as they say. It must be said, though, that the town is very hot and gets an incredible amount of sun! The greeting there in Antsiranana is ‘Mbolatsara’ which literally means still good. The most common greeting in Antanananrivo is 'Manahoana' (or 'Manao ahoana' in it’s long form). In the Betsileo region, they mostly say 'Salama' to greet people, and I remain faithful to that one in many instances, but I have to say that I started to take a pretty serious liking to ‘mbolatsara’.

 English Teachers at the University of Antsiranana

English Teachers at the University of Antsiranana

We have been back in Antananarivo now since the middle of May and things have been going at a quick pace since then. I am nearly finished with my Philosophy of Language course for students studying Linguistics in the Anglophone Studies Department.

 Philosophy of Language Students at the University of Antananarivo

Philosophy of Language Students at the University of Antananarivo

In the course, we discussed different well-known theories of meaning in the Western tradition, Austin’s famous theory of speech acts, and the two claims that form the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (linguistic relativity and linguistic determinism). I got to run my ideas about the connection between Malagasy language and thought by them. We have had some great meetings, and I am sad that the course is ending, but I believe I will have some more time with the students as a colleague and I are testing out an idea that would show that linguistic determinism is true in a very specific case. Linguistic determinism is the idea that the language one speaks limits or constrains the way that one sees the world. So, if we can get the results from our experiment in time, then I would like to share it with these students. I am doing a rather compressed version of the course (meeting 5 hours a week), so that I can start a course on Academic English for Non-Majors that I taught in February and promised that I would re-teach. In addition to these things, I’ve got two American Studies courses up and running (American Studies I and II), as well as a weekly English Club and a weekly Philosophy Club. And there’s plenty of other non-teaching things in the mix, too, keeping me busy! But things are going well. Mbolatsara, as they say up north. It's busy but good. At times in the past, I have often felt that things were very busy with teaching and work, only to miss that feeling later when things died down. Perhaps the energy of it all can spur you on. All I know now is that I’m a bit like the guy in this photo and I’ve gotta keep moving for the near future!

 Gotta keep moving!

Gotta keep moving!