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  1. The Community Diploma in the Sociolinguistics of Language Revitalization An experiment in training with Mayangna Indians of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast region.Dr Jane Freeland (University of Southampton)

  2. STRUCTURE • The Mayangna and their position within a multi-ethnic, multilingual social ecology: - ‘the Mayangna’ not a homogeneous group: - sub-group identities and variation; - differences in language ideology and their relationship to the ‘official’ language ideology; • The Diplomado Comunitario course: - aims and structure; - selection criteria; - methodology - changes between starting and finishing points • Achievements? • What did we learn?

  3. Demography of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast Region (PNUD 2005)

  4. The Mayangna speak ‘Northern Sumu’ • Member of the ‘Misumalpan’ family = Miskitu + Sumu + Matagalpan • Speakers call it ‘Sumu’, ‘Mayangna’, or the name of the variant they speak, depending on context. • 2 variants spoken in Nicaragua: Panamahka (c. 10-12,000), Tuahka (c. 2000); • a 3rd variant spoken in Honduras: Tawahka (850-1000)

  5. Indigenous peoples and ethnic communities of Nicaragua(Buss 2004:10)

  6. ETHNOLINGUUISTIC ‘CHAIN HIERARCHY’ OF NICARAGUA’S CARIBBEAN COAST REGION Key: NAME OF GROUP; (language spoken daily by group); [original language, not in general use]; O/W = Oral / Written (in 1979) MESTIZOS (Spanish O+W) CREOLES ([Kriol O])/ MISKITU Standard English = (miskitu O+W)O,W GARIFUNA RAMA (Creole)(Rama Cay Creole) [Garifuna] [Rama] SUMU-MAYANGNA Panamahka (O) Tuahka (O) Ulwa (O)

  7. Key differences between Reserve and Mining Triangle villages

  8. Language ideology/ discourse on language • Reserve language communities:language strongly ‘iconized’ i.e. an indicator of indigenous identity, and associated with territory - a certain purism, especially concerning Miskitu ‘interference’  rejection of Tuahka variant as ‘contaminated’ - this ideology also reflected in communicative practice - ideology coincides with that underlying bilingual-intercultural education and language rights discourse; • Mining triangle villages:language ‘iconized’ in their public rhetoric on revitalization, derived from minority rights discourse and legislation on language rights - this ideology not reflected in communicative practices; - identity expressed/negotiated through both Mayangna and Miskitu, though Spanish still regarded as ‘outsider’ language; - mismatch therefore between local language ideology and discourses on revitalization of Reserve and public discourses;

  9. Conception of the Diplomado Comunitario Central assumption: - urgent need for training that centred in the social aspects of Mayangna revitalization, to enable communities to develop their own strategies, based in local language ideologies and practices; - this would complement training in language documentation already going forward; Central aims: - to enable communities to research and understand the sociolinguistics of Mayangna in their own community, including language attitudes / local language ideologies; - to enable students to stimulate actions and strategies to revitalize and maintain Mayangna, based in the results of this research, including ‘prior ideological clarification’ of what their own communities mean by, expect from, and worry about ‘revitalization - to get rid of the ‘guilt factor’; - to enable students to generate ideas and materials that would encourage people in the community to use their language in enjoyable ways; [In the event, this process centred on collecting examples of Mayangna culture still alive in the village: songs, stories, riddles, artefacts, recipes…, and returning them to the communities]

  10. Selection criteria - Mining Triangle communities prioritized, but with good representation of Reserve communities. Eventual proportion: 11Mining Triangle: 4Reserve; - Community leaders (from each community, one anciano/a and one younger leader, with some training), selected by the community, and approved by territorial authorities; ancianos/as feel marginalized from revitalization processes currently centred in schools or with linguistics teams; school teachers feel they carry too much responsibility - Speakers of Panamahka or Tuahka, but able to understand Spanish – course to be co-taught by Freeland and Eloy Frank, Mayangna co-ordinator of the Institute for Research and Promotion of Langauge and Culture at URACCAN; - Literate. This criterion changed on consultation with communities and territorial authorities, since it effectively excluded all ancianos/as. Instead, literacy classes were included, at the request of the ancianas/os themselves, as a ‘transversal’ course running throughout;  An URACCAN Community Diploma – this format allows more teaching time with less academic content and less formal testing; also emphasised that revitalization would be a community matter.

  11. Methodology * Beginning in debate and discussion of students’ experience as members of their communities; * Moving on to analysis of key issues, using relatively simple sociolinguistic research instruments - observation of contexts of use; - community house-to-house surveys, linking language and ethnic allegiance; - interviews and focus group work, especially on life histories; * These techniques practised in class, with discussion of their cultural appropriateness; class practice based on students’ experience in their communities, then carried out in two local communities; * Findings analysed and shared in class, comparing communities and noting differences; * Units in each session considered examples of revitalization strategies in Latin America and other parts of the world (USA, New Zealand, etc.) and the possibility of adapting them to these communities (or not); * Units in each session assisting students to design and develop strategies for and with their own communities – choice of collecting cultural artefacts made by the class; * Final session based on sharing students’ work on this aspect, discussing intellectual property rights, decisions about how best to return results to the communities

  12. Contexts of use compared across communities

  13. Contexts of use compared across communities

  14. Checking representations

  15. Fenicia – village map

  16. Walangwas – mapping the village

  17. Map transferred to paper for photocopying into dossier

  18. Cultural resource added at later stage

  19. Mapping of Bethlehem on tuna bark

  20. Mobility map - Españolina

  21. Collating data – community visit

  22. Wisihbin (Fenicia) census data

  23. Group work – comparing communities

  24. Learning to use recorders

  25. Literacy homework

  26. Recording Mayangna hymns for CD

  27. Whistle for attracting casucos

  28. Demonstrating hunting whistle

  29. Collecting traditional recipes

  30. Story-telling

  31. Radio Rosita - broadcasting in Mayangna

  32. Meeting with Moravian pastors

  33. Lineup for graduation procession

  34. Graduates and teachers

  35. Problems, modifications, lessons 1 • Course originally designed as a research project, to be funded by Ford Foundation, from whom initially good reaction. But a change in their policy on indigenous education ruled it out. • Eventually funded by SAHI Norway, at URACCAN’s request, as part of a package of courses; • As an URACCAN course, became subject to unforeseen constraints: - Issues over payment of student grants –university made unannounced changes, based on their experience with undergraduates, paying grants in kind with no cash. Students interpreted this as disrespect for their status leaders, accusing university of spending their money on the new dormitory and eating facilities. Several ancianos/as left the course and sent replacements:  Lack of continuity; difficulties especially for Eloy as both university staff and a Mayangna leader; upset selection criteria, disturbed balance between young/old, male/female, slackened criteria of community endorsement. • Encuentro system too intensive – not enough time for people to digest, despite ‘spiral’ construction of teaching units. At end of course, students asked whether regular one-week workshops could be arranged from time to time – this would fit better with their cultivation patterns, require shorter absences from communities, but depend on funding.

  36. Problems, adaptations, lessons 2 * Initially too much based in writing: over-estimated literate skills in younger leaders – they were to have worked in pairs with non-literate in the use of some texts written in Spanish – e.g. Fishman’s GIDS scale.  Requests for materials to be translated in Mayangna – not possible in the time;  Moved to entirely oral presentation in 2 languages, with conclusions, or research instruments developed, written up on whiteboard, in Mayangna. These then typed up and included in a dossier presented at the end of the encuentro. Very positive – rich discussions about translation; excitement at seeing what we had done in writing; * Relationships between ancianos/as and younger members, especially women – our concern to end anciano marginalization led to over-emphasis on their views (see examination of this in Kroskrity and Field, 2009: introduction); need to combat a pattern where they made long speeches, to which younger people listened silently and with respect  group work, with differently composed groups sometimes decided by lot, to allow for different styles; constant re-arrangement of seating; then sharing views in plenary sessions; a gradual process of change; * Follow-up is delayed by University: final tranche of funding, not yet disbursed: - follow-up to consist of cleaning up recordings of songs and stories, putting them on to CD for distribution to communities, in response to community and student request, + some transcription and creation of e.g. songbooks, storybooks – not for school use; mounting a website

  37. Graduation hairdo