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Sarah Shulist: The Practice and Politics of Revitalization: Official Indigenous Language Policies in Canada and Brazil

When:
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Where:
Kingston Hall
Room: 208
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Description:

The Practice and Politics of Revitalization: Official Indigenous Language Policies in Canada and Brazil

This presentation will discuss the implications of granting official language status to Indigenous languages as a strategy for language revitalization. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in two different contexts in which this type of policy forms a part of revitalization efforts (the Northwest Amazon of Brazil, and the Northwest Territories of Canada), I will examine how different actors engage with formal policies in order to support or contest language revitalization efforts. With specific emphasis on Indigenous language classrooms and on the linguistic landscape in each of these places, I argue that such policies enable different types of support for language revitalization depending on additional, and varied, political and social factors. While they may appear to be primarily “top down” language planning efforts, in fact their impacts are multifaceted. This research emphasizes the role that ethnography can play in improving the outcomes of language revitalization strategies, including policy implementation. 

 

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