2022-2023 L'IMAGE comics
Comics will be posted weekly in Winter 2023.
L’IMAGE comic series: Foreword
Alt-Text with long description
[p.1, Title page]
Upper left corner of page: UofT L’IMAGE Project: Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment
Subtitle over light blue box: The lived experiences of REAL multilingual students at UofT
Title over bright red box: Foreword
The title page features L’IMAGE Aji, the project mascot. There is a light blue stripe behind it in the background. Aji is a fish character drawn in a style reminiscent of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty. It is generally round in its silhouette and features. It has a pastel blue body with a yellow stripe, white belly, yellow fins. It has two round eyes and round pink blush, with a cat-like smiling mouth. There are bubbles coming out above it.
The bottom left corner of the title page features the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo.
[Long description of text and images in the comic strip:
The comic strips in the L’IMAGE comic series uses the font Ames, which is the standard font for comics. Ames is an all-caps font. However, Alt-Texts for this project are not written in all-caps so that they will be more accessible for screen readers.
The comic artist for the series is Dr. Ai Taniguchi. Her drawing style can be described as: Japanese manga inspired, cute, large eyes, intentionally sketchy and unpolished line art, simplified, expressive. The comic strips are all digital, but she uses a pen that mimics the line weight of a traditional fountain pen. Her line art is on average 0.5mm in width (relatively thin), but the line weight varies and looks hand-drawn.
The title page of each comic strip is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. The background is white with a navy blue frame. The references and acknowledgements page and the “About the L’IMAGE project” page also have this University of Toronto color scheme.
The comic strips themselves are black and white, and employ digital screen tones for shading and backgrounds. ]
Dr. Ai Taniguchi is looking at the reader and is introducing herself. She is holding up her left hand to point to the L’IMAGE project mascot, L’IMAGE Aji. A handwritten arrow points to Aji, and a handwritten text reads: “Project mascot: L’IMAGE Aji”.
Caption in boxes: My name is Dr. Ai Taniguchi. I’m a linguist, artist, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the U of T L’IMAGE project.
Caption in boxes: L’IMAGE stands for Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empwoerment.
In this project, I interviewed 13 multilingual students at U of T, and turned their stories into a series of digital comics strips.
Each comic strip will be accompanied by a “5-Minute Linguistics” infographic with a linguistics lesson related to the student story.
Center of page: there is a light-skinned girl with dark hair, and a dark-skinned boy with dark hair.
Caption in boxes: I was inspired to do this project because of stories that students have told me in my classes over the years.
They’ve told me things like:
Speech bubble (girl): “I’m sorry, my English is not very good.”
Speech bubble (boy): “I speak Urdu at home, but I’m ashamed of how bad I am at it.”
Caption in box: … And this breaks my heart, because language is a part of who you are. You shouldn’t have to apologize or feel shame about your languages.
Bottom left of page: Left profile view of Ai, with a neutral expression.
Caption in boxes: As a linguistics educator, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we want people to know about language. Why does linguistics matter? How can linguistics be of service to our community?
At the end of the day, I think my desire is a simple one: I want people to know that all varieties of language are valid. No matter what your linguistic experience is, your identity is valid.
Caption in boxes: “Community” describes this project well. I didn’t do this by myself. So many people came together to make this project a reality. Thank you.
Through community engagement, something that I have felt firsthand is that “language expert” comes in many forms, not just linguists. Whether it be the International Education Centre, the Indigenous Centre, or the School of Information, so many of us are on a mission to promote a diverse and inclusive linguistic landscape in our community.
This has been an extremely educational journey for me, and I am grateful for all of the connections that I have made in the process.
L’IMAGE Aji, in bottom left corner of page, with speech bubble: “Our full acknowledgment will be in the afterword!”. Outside of speech bubble, handwritten: “Thank you!”
Bottom of page: Five young people of various ethnic backgrounds can be seen.
Caption in boxes: More than anything, our students are expert of their own lived linguistic experiences.
I think linguistics should be taught in a way that centers students’ lives. Their experiences should inform our pedagogy.
We need to listen to them if we are to make linguistics truly matter to them, and if we truly are to empower them.
Caption in boxes: So here we are with the L’IMAGE project to hear from our students.
Some stories are sad. Some stories are funny. All stories are inspiring.
You might relate to some of the stories. With those stories, I hope that you feel less alone.
Some stories might be totally unknown to you. With those stories, I hope that you strengthen your intercultural knowledge.
Ai and Aji are seen in the bottom right. Ai is holding a pen.
Speech bubble (for Ai): Thank you for reading and caring about linguistic diversity! Please feel free to use the comics in your classes, etc. (with proper credit).
Hand-written text above Aji: “Please share widely!”
Caption in box: Project contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the L’IMAGE project
Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies
Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Lingusitics
Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assitant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre
With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre
Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com
Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo.