ERIC Number: ED419388
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Mar
Strategies for Keeping Indigenous Languages Alive.
This paper synthesizes ideas expressed in 25 papers from the 1997 Fourth Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium (Flagstaff, AZ) on teaching indigenous languages and argues that American Indian languages in particular should be maintained through the schools, not at the expense of the learning of English and not simply for archival reasons, but because they are conduits for indigenous cultures that have real value in the modern world. It is proposed that American Indian communities have a hierarchy of needs based on the current health of the corresponding language. The indigenous language requires differential interventions to strengthen and maintain its health. A chart of interventions is provided. For academic success in the language beyond the fourth grade level, students must expand their language knowledge from primary discourse (conversational proficiency) to secondary discourse. Teacher education is critical in this area, as is the value given overtly to the language. No one community or school has the answers to keeping an indigenous language alive, but through sharing successes and learning from failures, their extinction can be averted. Contains 29 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (20th, Seattle, WA, March 1998).