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Towards an understanding of embodied heritage language reclamation: implications for heritage language learners

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Title: Towards an understanding of embodied heritage language reclamation: implications for heritage language learners
Authors: Quillien, Veronica
Issue Date: 05 Mar 2017
Description: This paper is the autoethnographic report of a heritage language learner during an academic year of self-directed study of the Bàsàa, a developing language in Cameroon, and a participatory youth language and art camp. The author developed two practice-based theories. The first theory is based on the author’s embodiment of the heritage language reclamation, while the second is based on youth’s creativity and capacity to adapt their social and environmental constraints to learn Bàsàa. Embodied heritage language reclamation (EmHLR) is an emerging scholarship to document the benefits of inherited cultural aesthetics, including language. As a practice-based theory, EmHLR advocates for art-literacy as a domain of use for the preservation of cultural heritage. The social convenience pedagogy (SCP), on the other hand, reflects youth “lives, selves, and identities” (Choi, 2016, p.116). Consequently, applying SCP is the action of “giving account of oneself” (p. 116). The SCP, likewise, generates new domains of use for language reclaimers. Both theories aim to 1) assist heritage language learners in their reclamation journey and 2) change their attitude toward their heritage language 3) to personally safeguard their cultural heritage aesthetically. EmHLR and SCP are a reminder that, as a heritage language learner, I cannot just throw away the foreign languages my parents gave me. I can, nonetheless, enhance my cultural identity and revitalize Bàsàa through art literacy (visualizing language), music literacy (listening to language), dance literacy (communicating nonverbally) and theater literacy (performing language). This shift in attitude allows me, as a reclaimer, to reconnect to my native land, language, culture and traditions. EmHLR and SCP are, therefore, ethnographic approaches that follow Smith’s (1999) parameters of culturally sensitive research. It uses multiple forms of literacies to document and safeguard cultural heritage (Piazza, 1999). EmHLR and SCP combine arts with language, so that the reclaimer embodies the language at the same time it is being produced. This presentation will explain the reason for both theories and, using film literacy (imaging language), illustrate the embodiment of heritage language reclamation using the social convenience pedagogy. References: Choi, J. (2016). Creating a Multivocal Self: Autoethnography as Method. New York, NY: Routledge. Piazza, C. L. (1999). Multiple Forms of Literacy: Teaching Literacy and the Arts. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Smith, L. T. (1999). Deconstructing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples New York, NY: Zed Books.
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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