Posts Tagged ‘politics’

NT drops compulsory English requirement

13 July 2012

Northern Territory in Australia has dropped the requirement that teaching be in English for the first four hours of each school day. Read about it in the post “Ngurrju! Manymak! Pupuni! NT drops First Four Hours in English policy” and “Compulsory Teaching of English Reversed in Northern Territories.”

Call for language planning policy in Nepal

29 May 2012

According to Wikipedia, Nepal has 0.02% of the world’s land, and according to the Ethnologue, it has 124 languages, which is 1.8% of the world’s 6909 languages that the Ethnologue catalogs.

Two days ago, time ran out for the the Nepali Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution, currently an interim document, and it is unclear what will happen next.

According to article five of the 2007 Interim Constitution of Nepal, “All the languages spoken as the mother tongue in Nepal are the national languages of Nepal” and “The Nepali Language in Devnagari script shall be the official language.”

Writing in the Kathmandu Post, Gopal Sijapati Magar calls for a language planning policy for the nation. The article discusses the need for both status and corpus planning as part of that policy.

AU government hears how children light up when learning Yawuru

10 May 2012

Making up one-third of Australia’s land mass and 10% of the population (when Australian Antarctic Territory is not included), Western Australia is home to about 58,000 indigenous Australians (3.1% of the population). Although the Australian Indigenous Languages Database lists 171 languages in WA, the Ethnologue says of 274 languages in the country as a whole, only 161 are still spoken.

The House of Representatives is currently looking into incorporating indigenous language learning in schools. The inquiry is being implemented by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, headed by Member of Parliament Shayne Neumann.

In the article “A gift for languages improves class results,” Neumann notes that  there are encouraging signs in the move to further indigenous languages in Australia, but he also says that efforts remain inadequate.

At one of the committee’s meetings, Barbara McGillivray, chair of the Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages and Culture and former teacher, appealed to the integral nature of language in one’s true identity. She mentioned how excited her children were when she taught a module on Wangatha (perhaps Wangkatha, a dialect of Western Desert).

Consultant  Wendy Hewitt said that there are currently 17 indigenous languages being taught in 48 Western Australia schools. She reported that teachers see children light up during Yawuru (ywr) instruction time.

What a great reason for incorporating language in the curriculum!