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.
Two-thirds of the world’s 7000-7500 languages are Indigenous languages. One-third of Indigenous languages are experiencing language loss and “as many as 90% are predicted to fall silent by the end of the century” (McCarty, 2018, p. 23). However, languages do not simply “die”, nor do they magically disappear. All languages change over time, but language shift, endangerment, or “death” is not natural nor is it unavoidable.
Our guest blogger this week, Eowyn Crisfield, lives in The Hague, in the Netherlands, but is originally from northern Alberta. She found her passion for Applied Linguistics at Concordia (BA TESL 1997, MA APLI 2005). She is now an educational consultant, working specifically in the area of languages in education. Her focus is to provide a bridge between research on language acquisition and teaching and practical applications in schools, communities, and families. Her work with schools is linked to developing curricula and pedagogy that responds better to the needs of language learners in schools. She also works with families on family language planning. Eowyn is co-author of the recent book Cultural and Linguistic Innovation in Schools: The Languages Challenge (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and can be found fighting the good fight for linguistic equality on Twitter at @4bilingualism.
I think that at this point in Canadian history, most of us have some awareness of the realities of language shift. Courses in many undergraduate programs discuss the loss of indigenous languages of Canada through the linguistic and cultural repression that occurred in residential schools.