Leanne Hinton: What counts as “success” in language revitalization?

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Journalists, grant givers and an interested public often ask which language revitalization programs and strategies have been successful.  But “language revitalization” is a broad term that can include many different possible goals, and “success” is a point of view rather than a concrete fact. This paper is a result of conversations with Indigenous language activists as to what they view as success (or failure) in language revitalization for themselves and their communities.  These conversations lead to the observation that what counts as success is diverse, individualistic, and transitory, since one event perceived as a success immediately leads to changing goals, strategies, and viewpoints. Nor can “success” be seen as an endpoint of effort, since language revitalization is an unending process —the effort must never stop, in a land where another language is the dominant and dominating tongue.

Leanne Hinton, professor emerita
Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley
& Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival

Leanne Hinton specializes in endangered languages and is an advocate and practicing trainer in the field of language revitalization. Hinton has helped found several organizations for language revitalization, and has helped design several widely-used revitalization programs and strategies. She has written and edited numerous books and articles on language revitalization, and has won several awards for her work.

Location & Timing

11:30am-1:00pm, Thursday, October 22, 2015
Lillooet Room (301)
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall

Dr Hinton’s lecture will begin at 12 noon, with refreshments served from 11:30am onward. A free catered lunch will follow her talk at 1pm. The lecture will be held in Lillooet Room (301) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall.