7/06 Maintaining Linguistic Diversity: Supporting Language Programs

July 6, 2013
2330 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Samantha Disbray (sdisbray@unimelb.edu.au)

See Workshop Description

In many settings world-wide, schools and community learning spaces are an important site for language maintenance and the maintenance of language diversity. School and community programs are a context in which linguists, in collaboration with language speakers, teachers and education administrators, can play a central role. However, linguists rarely have training or preparation for this sort of work.

In this workshop, participants will first gain an overview language in education programs world-wide, with a focus on the US and Australia, and survey the types and goals of local programs supporting endangered languages. Four sessions will then focus on the practical tasks that linguists carry out, covering:

  • Working with Stakeholders (Communities, Language Activists, Language Speakers, Teachers and Education Authorities) – Protocols, building expertise and collaboration
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy – Culture and language in programs
  • Supporting oracy and literacy teaching and learning in endangered language programs
  • Resource development and production – simple and accessible technologies for poster, book and multi-media production

A final session will be devoted to the participants experiences, insights brought and insights gained through the workshop.


Some recommended reading and viewing:

Hobson, J., K. Lowe, S. Poetsch & M. Walsh (Ed.s). (2010). Re-Awakening Languages: Theory & Practice in the Revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous Languages. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press. http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/6930

Reyhner , Jon and Louise Lockard (eds.) 2009 Indigenous Language Revitalization Encouragement, Guidance & Lessons Learned. Northern Arizona University. http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILR/

Cultural Survival Website: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/

Enduring Voices Website: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/

Our Mother Tongues Website: http://ourmothertongues.org/Home.aspx

Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity http://www.rnld.org/language_maintenance

UNESCO Language and Multilingualism Website & Material on Multilingual Education: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/cultural-diversity/languages-and-multilingualism/   & ‘Education in a Multilingual World’: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001297/129728e.pdf

About the workshop facilitator

Dr. Samantha Disbray has worked as a linguist supporting Indigenous language workers and teachers in Central Australia for over 10 years. She has worked with the community of Warumungu speakers and documented this endangered language, spoken to the north of Alice Springs (Disbray 2005, 2011). In her PhD project, she documented the Creole language spoken by children of Warumungu heritage (Disbray 2009), and investigated language maintenance strategies in this speech community (Morrison and Disbray 2008). She has been employed by the Northern Territory Department of Education as the regional linguist for Central Australia since 2008, and in this role works with over 20 schools in the region, which run Indigenous Language and Culture Programs in language programs in eight languages. She has also supported the Bilingual Education programs in Central Australia and has written on policy and evaluation of these programs (Disbray, forthcoming).


Some publications by Samantha Disbray

Disbray, S. Forthcoming. Bilingual Education in Warlpiri Schools: An evaluation. To appear in Language Description Informed by Theory (ed) R. Pensalfini, John Benjamins.

Disbray. S (Compiler). 2011. Warumungu Bird Poster, Book and Talking Book. Northern Territory Department of Education and Training, Alice Springs.

Disbray S.  2009. More than one way to catch a frog: A study of children’s discourse in an Australian contact language. PhD Thesis. http://repository.unimelb.edu.au/10187/8533

Disbray. S (Compiler). 2005. Warumungu Picture Dictionary, IAD Press, Alice  Springs.

Morrison B. Nakamarra and S. Disbray 2008. Warumungu children and language in Tennant Creek. Warra wiltaniappendi = Strengthening languages. Proceedings of the Inaugural    Indigenous Languages Conference (ILC) 2007, Adelaide, Australia (107-111)