Archive for the ‘essays’ Category

Call for bilingual education in Liberia

30 May 2011

The official language of Liberia is English. According to Wikipedia, that can refer to a variety of types of English. Wikipedia also lists 21 other languages in Liberia, a country with a population of nearly four million.

The Ethnologue lists six languages in Liberia with less than 10,000 speakers:

In “Liberians not wanting to know their indigenous language” on Newsvine, writer William Togbah extolls the benefits of indigenous languages and bemoans the fact that Liberians associate indigenous language with a lack of sophistication. At the same time, he notes that the English spoken in Liberia falls short of an international standard. His proposed solution: bilingual education.

The UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger does not list any languages as being endangered in Liberia.

Essay on Teaching Dhurga Takes Second Place Prize

22 March 2011

Jonathan Hill is a high school teacher in the South Coast area between Sydney and Victoria in Australia. He teaches Dhurga (dhu) in conjunction with an Aborigine speaker, using a course created by a linguist as part of a revitalization program. The course is 100 hours long and students are exposed to not only language but Dhurga culture and history as well.

In an essay Hill submitted last year, winning second place in the Margaret Dooley Award, Hill ponders the question of what would happen if all schools in Australia had such a program, describing the positive changes in attitude that would result and how doing so would further the Reconciliation process.

Dhurga is currently listed at the Ethnologue as a sleeping language, but it is offered in a certificate program at the Moruya campus of the Illawarra Institute of TAFE. See “Walawaani njindiwan – hope you had a safe journey” on the Narooma News site for a history of the program.

For reference material on Dhurga, start with “Selected Bibliography of material on the Dhurga language and people held in the AIATSIS Library.”

This post was inspired by the blog entry “Essay on the Dhurga school language program” on the Australian Aboriginal Languages Student Blog.

The Margaret Dooley Award is given to writers under 30 for “a reasoned ethical argument based on humane values.”

To learn more about Reconciliation in Australia, see Reconciliation AustraliaNational Reconciliation Week and Motion of Reconciliation.

The Fifth Celtic Language

11 June 2007

According to Wikipedia, Charles Leland referred to the language Shelta (sth) as the fifth Celtic language (family), though with at least Irish Gaelic (gle), Scottish Gaelic (gla), Manx (glv); Breton (bre), Cornish (cor) and Welsh (cym), there are certainly more than five.

The speakers of Shelta are known as Travellers, a people also commonly known by the derogatory term “Tinker” because of the tin work they are known for.

Richard Waters has a Website dedicated to the Travellers in the US, called Travellers’ Rest. This site includes English > US Shelta and US Shelta > English dictionaries as well as links, music, essays and notes about some of the controversies surrounding the Travellers.

Although related to Gaeilge, the syntax is largely based on English.

Parts of R. A. Stewart Macalister’s 1937 The Secret Languages of Ireland can be found at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and Kobo Books, the vocabulary starting on page 174. Some of the other parts can be found on those sites as well.

Two other nomadic groups are the Romani (or Roma) and Sanka.