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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Changing Conceptions of Literacies, Language and Development: Implications for the provision of adult basic education in South Africa Add Dissertation
Author: Caroline Kerfoot Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Stockholm University, Centre for Research on Bilingualism
Completed in: 2009
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics;
Director(s): Christopher Stroud

Abstract: This study aims to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the
circumstances under which adult education, in particular adult basic
education, can support and occasionally initiate participatory development,
social action and the realisation of citizenship rights. It traces
developments in adult basic education in South Africa, and more
specifically literacy and language learning, over the years 1981 to 2001,
with reference to specific multilingual contexts in the Northern and
Western Cape.

The thesis is based on four individual studies, documenting an arc from
grassroots work to national policy development and back. Study I, written
in the early 1990s, critically examines approaches to teaching English to
adults in South Africa at the time and proposes a participatory curriculum
model for the additional language component of a future adult education
policy. Study II is an account of attempts to implement this model and
explores the implications of going to scale with such an approach. Studies
III and IV draw on a qualitative study of an educator development programme
after the transition to democracy. Study III uses Bourdieu's theory of
practice and the concept of reflexivity to illuminate some of the
connections between local discursive practices, self-formation, and broader
relations of power. Study IV uses Iedema's (1999) concept of
resemiotisation to trace the ways in which individuals re-shaped available
representational resources to mobilise collective agency in community-based
workshops. The summary provides a framework for these studies by locating
and critiquing each within shifts in the political economy of South Africa.
It reflects on a history of research and practice, raising questions to do
with voice, justice, power, agency, and desire. Overall, this thesis argues
for a reconceptualisation of ABET that is more strongly aligned with
development goals and promotes engagement with new forms of
state/society/economy relations.