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ERIC Number: EJ944298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
"We Can't Feel Our Language": Making Places in the City for Aboriginal Language Revitalization
Baloy, Natalie J. K.
American Indian Quarterly, v35 n4 p515-548 Fall 2011
This article explores possibilities for extending aboriginal language education opportunities into the urban domain based on qualitative research in Vancouver, British Columbia. The author argues that aboriginal language revitalization efforts have a place in the city, as demonstrated by emerging language ideologies of urban aboriginal people expressed in interviews for this study. She identifies three central challenges facing language workers and learners. She suggests possible ways to address these issues through urban language revitalization projects. First, language workers and learners must work against the sometimes subtle but pervasive idea that a strong aboriginal identity and an urban lifestyle are mutually exclusive. Many people acknowledge that urban aboriginal people can and do maintain strong connections to their heritage and homelands; however, language revitalization projects are located primarily on reserves, perpetuating a divide between language and the city. The author presents several approaches to reconceptualizing urban aboriginal identity that can support urban-based language initiatives. Second, language workers must consider how to address linguistic and cultural diversity among urban aboriginal people through language projects. Research participants suggested that attention to the local languages ought to be the first step, particularly for public use of language. Participants emphasized important links between land, language, and identity. Acknowledgment of local peoples, their lands, and their languages offers a starting point for addressing diverse language needs in the city. The author calls this step "placing language." Third, language workers and learners must identify how ties between land, language, and identity can be fostered and nurtured in urban spaces not only for local peoples but also for those who have moved to the city from elsewhere. For nonlocal urban aboriginal peoples, connections with homelands can be strengthened through enhanced access to language and culture. The author suggests several approaches for "making places" for language and culture in the city. Including the urban dimension in language revitalization efforts is of pressing importance as languages continue to lose speakers and aboriginal people continue to dwell in urban spaces. Through recognition and promotion of connections between land, language, and identity, language workers and learners can make places for aboriginal language education in the city. (Contains 69 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Canada (Vancouver)