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Language Endangerment and Preservation: Spanish in the U.S. and Aboriginal languages in Australia . LG474 Ashley Nuzum Olivia Leung Harina Fong Twinkle Foo Katrina Furnell. What is Language Endangerment? . Language Endangerment is where a language is at risk of losing all it’s speakers.

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language endangerment and preservation spanish in the u s and aboriginal languages in australia

Language Endangerment and Preservation:Spanish in the U.S. and Aboriginal languages in Australia

LG474

Ashley Nuzum

Olivia Leung

Harina Fong

Twinkle Foo

Katrina Furnell

slide2

What is Language Endangerment?

  • Language Endangerment is where a language is at risk of losing all it’s speakers
  • Approximately there are six thousand languages in the world but many of these languages are in danger. It is estimated that half of these languages will become extinct by the end of this century.
  • UNESCO has six degrees of language endangerment. These are:
  • Safe
  • Unsafe
  • Definitely Endangered
  • Severely Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct
slide3

Causes of Language Endangerment

  • Internal Factors:
  • Attitude towards language
  • Decline of group identity
  • External Factors:
  • Military
  • Economical/political
  • Religious
  • Cultural
  • Educational
slide4

Giles et al. (1977) Framework (Language Vitality)

1. Its status: economic, social and historical.

2. Its territorial distribution and population demographics: absolute numbers, birth rates, marriage patterns, migrations.

3. Its institutional support: in media, education, government as well as religious, social and cultural activities

slide5

Ways of Preventing Language Endangerment

Language Documentation

Collection of linguistic and cultural data of an endangered language.

Language Maintenance

Attempt to maintain a language rather than displace it with a more dominant language.

Language Revival

Attempt to increase the number of speakers of an endangered language.

slide6

Examples of Language Revitalisation

Cornish

Celtic language spoken in Cornwall.

Died out in approx. 1777. Revival process started in 1904.

In 2002, Cornish was officially recognised as a minority language in Britain.

Status was changed from ‘extinct’ to ‘critically endangered’ in 2010.

Maori

An indigenous language of New Zealand.

In 1980s less than 20% of the Maori could speak it well enough to be classed as native speakers of the Language.

Maori Language Week - encourages New Zealanders to use/support the language.

The Maori Act 1987 – Maori gained official language status in New Zealand, and speakers were able to use Maori in a legal setting.

slide7

USA is meant to be a country of multiculturalism and multilingualism.

  • So why try banning Spanish as a language of instruction in US education?
  • Thought the goal of becoming a world power could only be achieved by unity. Hence, a common language: English.
slide8

The United States tried to achieve English as the sole language of instruction in education by e.g:

Using bilingual education as a tool to promote learning English.

Reforming federal education policy.

slide10
Data

2000 Census

Spanish population: 14% of the US population

California: the most Spanish speakers (28.56% of US Spanish speakers)

slide11

Education (School)

  • Languages are examined on College Entrance Examination Board tests for college admission
  • Spanish was the most popular foreign language in American high schools and colleges
  • High school: 69% (2000)
  • College : 53%(2002)
  • Special teacher training programs
slide12

Education(School) Cont.

  • Within the public education in the United States, students can be supported in their maintenance and development of home language proficiencies in two types of programmes:
  • Maintenance bilingual education programs: Spanish is used as the languages of instruction after students have acquired English
  • Foreign language programs: Spanish is taught as a subject.
slide13

Education(School) Cont.

  • AATSP(The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese): Professional Development Series Handbooks for teaching K-16
  • The NFLC (The National Foreign Language Centre): developed Langnet, a searchable database that includes Spanish an contains numerous resources for the teaching of heritage speakers
  • http://www.langnet.org/index.php
slide14

Policies/Law

  • Government Code 12951
  • (a) It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 12926, to adopt or enforce a policy that limits or prohibits the use of any language in any workplace, unless both of the following conditions exist: (1) The language restriction is justified by a business necessity. (2) The employer has notified its employees of the circumstances and the time when the language restriction is required to be observed and of the consequences for violating the language restriction.
slide15

The language Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California(1994):

  • Provide “legal assistance to those who have been unfairly targeted in the workplace, in the marketplace, or in other important arenas because a) they choose to communicate in their native, non-English language
  • B) they are unable to speak standard English
the endangerment of indigenous languages in australia
The Endangerment of Indigenous Languages in Australia
  • When Europeans first settled in Sydney in 1788 the continent had around 250 languages
  • The National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) Report 2005 found that 110 of the 145 indigenous languages still spoken in Australia are critically endangered. All of Australia’s Indigenous languages face an uncertain future if immediate action and care are not taken.
  • 140 are almost exclusively spoken by elderly people, and only 12 are still very much alive and spoken by children.
why endangered
Why Endangered?

Language preservation is not a 'popular' issue, and the large majority of the global population is unaware of the rate of language death

Many Aboriginal languages and dialects became extinct because their speakers were forbidden to use native language under white Australian assimilation policies.

The history of forced resettlement on reserves, the placing of many thousands of children in institutions, and the loss of land and culture

slide18

Preservation and Maintenance of the Languages of Aboriginal Australia

  • Teach and promote a language (maintain)
  • Produce and direct films(maintain)
  • Produce classroom resources (maintain)
  • Produce a book (preserve)
  • Create a dictionary (preserve)
  • Collect all known sources (preserve)
  • Conduct workshop recording elders speaking (preserve)
activities cont
Activities cont.
  • Local radio broadcasters take on a role as Aboriginal language preservers.
  • 42% of people in the Northern Territory listen to community radio each week.
slide20

Language Preservation Projects

  • Dictionaries

New South Wales Aboriginal Languages Research and Resource Centre

Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program

Yuwaalaraaly and Gamilaraay language project

Miromaa Computer Program

slide21

New National Approach to Preserve Indigenous Languages

  • The new National Indigenous Languages Policy is aimed at keeping Indigenous languages alive and supporting Indigenous Australians to connect with their language, culture and country.
  • Each year the United Nations celebrates and showcases the culture, history and languages of the world's Indigenous people.
  • This will improve coordination between those who are already working to support Indigenous languages.
slide22

Key Areas

  • Bringing national attention to Indigenous languages.
  • Encouraging the use of critically endangered languages.
  • Making sure that in areas where Indigenous languages are being spoken fully and passed on, government recognises these languages when it interacts with Indigenous communities.
  • Helping restore the use of rarely spoken or unspoken Indigenous languages.
  • Supporting the teaching and learning of Indigenous languages in Australian schools.
references
References

Salaberry, M. Rafael. (2009) Language Allegiances And Bilingualism In The US, Cromwell Press Group, Great Britain.

Douglas A. Kibbee. (1998) Language legislation & linguistic rights, Amsterdam.

Coulmas, F. (1997) The Handbook of Sociolinguistics, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, UK.

Del Valle, Sandra. 2003. Language Rights & the Law in the United States. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters

Brenzinger, M & de Graaf, T., Contribution to the UNESCO encyclopedia of life support systems (EOLSS), 'Documenting Endangered Languages and Language Maintenance', http://www.mercator-research.eu/research-projects/endangered-languages/  

Valdes, G., et al. (2006) Developing Minority Language Resources: The case of Spanish in California UK: MPG Books Ltd.

Ethnologue, http://www.ethnologue.com/endangered-languages

Potowski, K. (2010) Language Diversity in the USA Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/endangered-languages/

UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages (2003), 'Language Vitality and Endangerment', Paris,http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/doc/src/00120-EN.pdf

Wardhaugh, R.(2010), An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell

http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/language/aboriginal-language-preservation

http://arts.gov.au/indigenous/languages