Reflections on invoking Sankofa in African language policy and planning (by Aisha Barise)

My journey on researching African languages began with my Master’s thesis work (Barise, 2021) on Somali linguistics––an East African Cushitic language. Currently in my PhD, as I revisit the contentious and age-old question of the language and the nation in Africa, I find myself being inspired by East African writers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo (1986) and seeking refuge in East African languages such as Kiswahili, Somali, and Amharic beyond research work. As a Somali speaker, who cannot speak Kiswahili or Amharic, I find myself growing in awe of these languages as majestic sounds and symbols in which Africa sheds tears and laughs in joy. Tears and laughter need no translation. Through them, I hear myself lost yet found, whether it is through Kiswahili calling me by the name Maisha, the nostalgic songs of Tizita in Ethiopia (wa Ngũgĩ, 2021), or the uplifting dances of Dhaanto in Somalia.

African Student Association UW Seattle. (2019). [Video of Somali students preforming Dhaanto]
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Le français, l’anglais et les langues autochtones : privilèges, colonialismes et réconciliation (par Magali Forte)

Magali Forte, notre invitée cette semaine, est étudiante en doctorat et assistante de recherche à l’université Simon Fraser (Burnaby, C.-B., Canada). Elle est également enseignante de/en français dans les écoles élémentaires et secondaires de Vancouver. Elle s’intéresse à voir autrement la construction des identités des enfants et des adolescents en milieu scolaire plurilingue, en lien avec leurs pratiques de littératies. Située dans un contexte de réconciliation, sa réflexion s’appuie sur les théories sociomatérielles, et inclut, avec respect, diverses perspectives autochtones.

This blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

Les langues, que ce soit le français et l’espagnol avec lesquels j’ai grandi dans le sud de le France, ou l’anglais, que j’ai appris en milieu majoritairement anglophone à Vancouver, m’ont toujours fascinée de par leur capacité à exprimer le monde de manières différentes et à nous permettre de nous construire des identités riches et changeantes. C’est cette fascination qui m’a amenée à devenir enseignante et chercheuse dans le domaine de l’éducation en langues. Je partage ici des idées qui m’ont amenée à me rendre compte que la perspective de l’enseignement/apprentissage des langues avec laquelle j’ai été éduquée est à la fois privilégiée et nocive.

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Are you in or out? Indigenous and minority languages shaping the linguistic landscape (by April Passi)

After the chaos of a summer filled with travelling, working, family visits and July 1stdéménagement”, I was grateful to barbecue with good friends in my new backyard. We
reconnected over food, stories and laughter, updating each other on our summer adventures. The stories were told in a variety of languages too, showing off the multilingual competencies of my friends. English seemed to be the common language, but at a few different moments throughout the evening, some groups formed to share and laugh in Arabic or Spanish, neither of which I speak or understand. I observed these small groups admiringly…but with the distinct feeling that I was an observer, an outsider.

Multilingual BBQ space 🙂

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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Call to Action for Language Teachers and Scholars (by Andrea Sterzuk)

Andrea Sterzuk grew up in an English-speaking home in rural Saskatchewan on Treaty 6 territory. Prior to her academic career, she worked as a public school teacher in rural Saskatchewan as well as in the Canadian arctic. She is currently an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, located on Treaty 4 territory. She lectures in English and French to undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of linguistic diversity in schools, second language pedagogy, and issues of power, identity, and language in education. Her current research examines the development of language beliefs in teachers.
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