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Busy intersections: A framework for revitalization

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Item Summary

Title: Busy intersections: A framework for revitalization
Issue Date: 12 Mar 2015
Description: This paper reports on the applicability of a pedagogical model for use in West Africa drawn from adult literacy practices in the United States. It proposes bridging the gap between linguists, teachers, and community organizers by building on the ethnographic skills of language documenters. One increasingly important goal of language documentation has been “creating and mobilizing documentation in support of pedagogy” (Nathan and Fang 2009:132), yet few linguists know how to do so (Newman 2013). A documentary perspective is here synthesized with an adult literacy one (Reder 2014), fitted to the context of West Africa, to provide some possible guidelines.

Several research projects described here have generated the typical output of a major documentation project: data collection and analysis, archiving, developing local capacities, promoting sustainability, etc. What was missing, however, was a detailed evaluation of community-based goals and the creation of activities based on those goals. The focus had been more on “parking lots” (traditional program-based practices) rather than on “busy intersections” (learner-centric frameworks), the replacement locus (terms from Reder 2014).

Community-based goals have been given some attention by Africanists but primarily with reference to parking lots, the legacy of colonial ideologies (Storch 2013). What needs developing, then, is an assessment of emergent literacy practices, comparable to what Reder and his colleagues have done for immigrant communities and building on already extant capacities. The model has been applied post facto to one project as an assessment tool, and this paper reports on that evaluation, a revealing enterprise. The next part of the paper characterizes how the model is used to provide guidelines for an upcoming project for another endangered language. With this framework the general expectations of revitalization (Lüpke and Storch 2013) are adapted to localized and achievable ones emerging from the community.

References

Lüpke, Friederike, and Anne Storch. 2013. Not languages: repertoires as lived and living experience. In Repertoires and Choices in African Languages, eds. Lüpke, Friederike and Anne Storch, 345-359. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Nathan, David, and Meili Fang. 2009. Language documentation and pedagogy for endangered languages: a mutual revitalisation. Language Documentation and Description 6:132-160.

Newman, Paul. 2013. The Law of Unintended Consequences: How the Endangered Languages Movement undermines field linguistics as a scientific enterprise. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Reder, Stephen. 2014. Expanding emergent literacy practices: Busy Intersections of Context and Practice. In Expanding Emergent Literacy Practices (Proceedings of Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition Symposium, San Francisco, Aug 7-9, 2013), eds. Santos, M. and A. Whiteside, To appear: Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition (LESLLA).

Storch, Anne. 2013. Language and ideology. In Repertoires and Choices in African Languages, eds. Lüpke, Friederike and Anne Storch, 123-180. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/25250
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:4th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)



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