confluences logo with aerial view of snaking rivers in background

Building Bridges by Lianbi Ji


(Courtesy of the movie Piano in a Factory 《钢的琴》) My project is named “Detachment.” In it, I present a collection of narratives on China’s late 1990s nationwide lay-off during its reform of all state-owned enterprises. Millions of workers were suddenly detached from the factories they called their “units” (where their social existences lie), and released…Continue Reading Building Bridges by Lianbi Ji

What is my Language? by Eugene Lee

Eugene Lee

Both during and after my time in Korea, I’ve turned this seemingly accusatory comment over in my head, often to no avail. The challenge of deciphering the comment’s assumptions paralyzed me. What did it mean to speak Korean like it was “my” language? Could I ever claim full ownership over a language beyond my native English?…Continue Reading What is my Language? by Eugene Lee

The Archival History of Multilingual Publishing at Amherst College by Manda Pizzollo

original Polyglossos publication

I was very excited to hear about Confluences for many reasons. Language is also culture, and having more resources at the College in a variety of languages is imperative for community representation and growth. I’m personally delighted because I’ve been working on learning Spanish for a long time, although I still wouldn’t call myself bilingual. (I know, this is embarrassing given my age and the opportunities afforded me to learn it.) I anxiously await that moment of discovering I’ve truly become bilingual that Min Cheng described in her article of April, 2018. It is thrilling to have a College publication now with articles in Spanish and English to help me work toward that goal….Continue Reading The Archival History of Multilingual Publishing at Amherst College by Manda Pizzollo

Becoming Bilingual by Min Cheng

min cheng

I’m not sure if what I’m about to describe is a common experience for those who went from being monolingual to bilingual, but for me, there was a specific moment in time when I “discovered” that I had become truly bilingual. And here’s how it went: I was in the midst of a passionate argument with my partner (who is a native English speaker) regarding something so trivial that I can no longer remember what it was. All of a sudden, I paused; and I had this inner dialogue with myself (while my partner was bewildered by my temporary stupor): “Min, do you know that you are feeling, thinking, and arguing in English?! With a native speaker as your counterpart!! How cool is that?!”…Continue Reading Becoming Bilingual by Min Cheng

A Rose By Any Other Name by Faith Chung

close up shot of pink rose

I’ve always loved the story of how my Uncle Wilson chose his name. It only took a few months of living in America before he realized white people could never get “Woo Jin” right. The “W” always came out too harsh and their tongues would flop sloppily around the J – too loose to capture that sound somewhere in between a “Ch” and a “J.” Sometimes, he would correct them, slowly unfurling each syllable, careful to tap his tongue against the roof of his mouth just right. It never seemed to help, and he couldn’t tell whether it was for lack of trying on their part, or the English language itself to blame, its letters and sounds unable to reconcile themselves with his Korean ones.

Continue Reading A Rose By Any Other Name by Faith Chung