Language revitalization of minorities

Language is a unique creation from the ancestors; it presents our history, our culture, and our identity.  All living languages constitute the diverse ecology of the languages. However, some languages are threatened due to various reasons. The main reason for endangerment is somehow political. Taking into consideration of prediction of the languages decline, there is an urgent need for revitalizing the languages. These languages are often assumed as the languages of indigenous minorities and immigrant minorities. In order to revive the languages of the minorities, specific language revitalization methods and programs need to be added to the educational agenda.

Different language revitalization methods defined by Tsunoda (2006) have emerged in various settings. For instance, the bilingual method focuses on the instruction of minority language and dominant language which does not mean teaching the language (Tsunoda, 2006). While the bilingual method is related to mediums of instruction in education, other methods illustrate the daily learning in different contexts such as social communication and media use. Other methods can be neighborhood method, telephone method, radio method, multimedia method, and so forth (Tsunoda, 2006). Neighbourhood and telephone method occur in the conversation with the speakers from that particular language community; radio method and multimedia method implicate language learning through listening. All these simple methods are aimed at revitalizing languages through different ways, and some of them are applicable to the education.

Language revitalization programs designated for schools can be either bilingual programs or multilingual programs. These programs are found so as to preserve the minority languages and promote their use in education. Considering the successful language revitalization program of the Maori language in New Zealand, from the 1980s the Maori community set up the Maori-medium pre-schools, and then gradually opened the secondary schools and tertiary institutions. The school program is additive bilingualism, which is aimed at maintaining the Maori language, in Maori and English (Weber & Horner, 2012). Obviously, languages of minority groups can be effectively revitalized through educational programs.

To conclude, language revitalization can be achieved by implementing the specific bilingual/multilingual programs and by means of different methods. Minority languages are opposed to the language of the powerful group which indeed lack some support from the government in some countries. On the other hand, there are international organizations that endeavor to preserve and revitalize the languages.

Reference:

Tsunoda, T. (2006). Language revitalization: maintenance and revival.Language endangerment and language revitalization: an introduction (Vol. 148). Walter de Gruyter.

Weber J.J. & Horner K. (2012). Revitalization of endangered languages. Introducing Multilingualism a Social Approach.(p. 53.).Routledge.

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