Addressing the context and complexity of indigenous language revitalization
May, S. (2006). Addressing the context and complexity of indigenous language revitalization. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 5(4), 301-308.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/537
This response discusses six key themes that emerge, either explicitly or implicitly, from Nancy Hornberger's exemplary analysis of the challenges facing indigenous language revitalization initiatives, particularly as they are currently expressed and implemented in three key indigenous language education contexts--Quechua in the South American Andes; Guarani in Paraguay and Maori in Aotearoa/New Zealand. These themes include, first, the importance of recognizing the wider social and political contexts within which indigenous revitalization initiatives are invariably situated. Second, it requires a related recognition of the internationalism of these initiatives. Third, any academic analysis of indigenous language revitalization requires, or at least must benefit from, an interdisciplinary approach, as exemplified by Hornberger's own analysis. Fourth, Hornberger's continua of biliteracy provides a sufficiently robust framework to explore the complexities and interrelationships inevitably involved in the articulation of language revitalization efforts, as well as how individuals and groups are situated in relation to those efforts. Fifth, the ongoing challenges and tensions inherent in indigenous language revitalization efforts need to continue to be discussed candidly, in order for them to be seriously addressed and, where possible, resolved. And finally, the importance of recognizing and including the voices of those centrally involved in these initiatives, as Hornberger again does, is a crucial feature, as well as a reflection of the inclusive, emancipatory aims of indigenous language revitalization itself.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
This article has been published as part of The Forum in the Journal of Language, Identity & Education. (c) 2006, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
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