Languaging with Orlee

The book is dedicated to Orlee, who has been an observer, an expresser and a user of language in all its forms - words, gestures, body, rhythm, pace, dance, expressions, books, stories, and…endless conversations. 

Orlee grew up in languages; born into English, immersed in Hebrew and languaging in multi-codes. She was schooled in English until age 6, acquired Hebrew in grade 1; and was convinced she lost all the English;  some labeled her 'semi-lingual and studied her 'language attrition', but she was 'multi-coding', to say the least; Hebrew, English and so much more. After returning to Israel having spent a year in Toronto, she was convinced she lost 'all her Hebrew', but continued to 'multi-code', and so much more. When she became a writer, closely observing, feeling, touching and weaving the lives of young people in New York City, she did it via English, but in fact it was multiple-coding and so much more. Orlee lived in languages, through languages and with languages - words, worlds, music, dance, stories, books, jokes, roller blades, laughters, observations, and…talk, talk, talk.

It happened in January 11, 2001;  Orlee was born in 1975 
What is so amazing (Orlee's favorite word!) is how Orlee continues to 'language', to 'multi-code' through laughs, tears, joy, memories, longing, experiences, cries, observations, conversation and her own writings. We continue to language, never stop, through objects we see, people we observe, interpretations we make, episodes we laugh about, books we read, injustices we protest, scenery we view, ideas we challenge, pictures we take, routes we ride, thoughts we share, opinion we express, issues we argue about, people we love, food we eat, events we celebrate and mourn, songs we hear, places we continue to bike and blade.

Our language has no 'fixed words', no full sentences, no pragmatic rules, but it does have the most beautiful melody; it is a true dialogue.. It is deep, profound and meaningful. It is a new language we are inventing as we go along in this continuous, infinite journey; we are learning it right now as we go along to new places, new experiences, new feelings, new energies, new sorrows, new pain, new laughter, new emotions, new ideas, new memories, new dreams and even new future.

It is dynamic and energetic, it takes us to places we had never been before.; sometimes it is in death, sometimes in life, but most often it is in both. It is our world, a free and private world, with no boundaries, a new world that only we understand. We continue to shape it as we ride along, together, in this deepest connection of past, present, future and everything in between…

Taken from: Shohamy Elana, "Language Policy: Hidden Agendas and new approches." Routledge p. x-xi
More memories on Orlee: http://www.orleeshohamy.com


About Elana

Elana Shohamy is Professor of  Language Education at the School of Education, Tel Aviv University where she researches a variety of topics related to language policy in the context of conflicts and co-existence in multilingual societies, mostly of Israel. 
Elana Shohamy is a professor of Language Education at the School of Education, Tel Aviv University where she researches topics of multilingualism within the contexts of critical framework, language rights and co-existence.

Her work in language testing focuses on the power and misuses of tests in education and society and more recently on multilingual testing. The work in language policy addresses mechanisms used for creating de facto policies that penalize immigrants and minority groups.

In the past decade Elana researches ample dimensions of Linguistic Landscape (LL), referring to languages displayed in public spaces with a focus on LL as arenas of conflicts and contestation. Her books include: The Languages of Israel: Policy, ideology and practice (w/ B. Spolsky, 1999); The power of tests: A critical perspective of the uses of language tests (2001); Language policy: Hidden agendas and new approaches (2006); Linguistic landscape: expanding the scenery, (ed. w/ Durk Gurter, 2009); and Linguistic landscape in the city  (ed. w/ Ben Rafael and Barni, 2010). Elana is the editor of the journal Language Policy and the winner of the 2010 lifetime achievement award granted by ILTA in Cambridge, UK.

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