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You are here: News → Past events Mercator → 2008 September 24-27 → Keynote speakers

Keynote Speakers

 

1: Maya Khemlani David
E: mayadavid(a)yahoo.com

Title: Language Policies- Impact on Language Maintenance and Teaching:
Focus on Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillipines

Abstract: This paper will describe the language policies, planning and implementation in selected Asean countries and discuss the impact of such policies on the maintenance of a number of languages and dialects. The paper will specifically examine the minority languages in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines that have been and are being abandoned and examine how language policies, planning and implementation contribute to language shift. Language learning of minority endangered languages can take place in institutional or community settings. In such settings, the use of multiliteracies to revive 'threatened" languages in new learning venues will be discussed.

CV: Professor Dr. Maya Khemlani David is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Linguists, United Kingdom and is currently the Head of the Section for Co-Curricular Activities and Elective Courses (SKET) in the University of Malaya. Her primary research interest is in sociolinguistics with a special focus on the maintenance and shift of the languages of minority communities. She was awarded the Linguapax Prize (2007) for research conducted on language choice of minority ethnic communities in Malaysia. Her publications include Language and Human Rights: Focus on Malaysia (2007, Serdang:University Putra), Teaching of English in Second and Foreign Language Settings: Focus on Malaysia (2004, Frankfurt: Peter Lang); Methodological Issues in Language Maintenance and Shift Studies (2002, Frankfurt: Peter Lang); Developing Reading Skills (2002, Kuala Lumpur: Melta/Sasbadi) and The Sindhis of Malaysia: a Sociolinguistic Account (2000, London:Asean).
Email : mayadavid(a)yahoo.com

2: Durk Gorter
E: d.gorter(a)ikerbasque.org;durk(a)fa.knaw.nl

Title: European Minority Languages: Endangered or Revived?

Abstract: A need is felt to diagnose factors that contribute to the revival of European minority languages. In this paper four approaches will be discussed. 1] The theory of Reversing Language Shift as developed by Fishman (1991, 2001). The “family-home-neighborhood-community-nexus” is the central stage in his GIDS-scale of degrees of ‘disruption’ of minority language communities. 2] The Euromosaic study (Nelde, Strubell and Williams 1996), which is a comparative study of minority language groups in the European Union. It offers a theoretical framework with seven variables that influence the vitality of a language group. An important outcome is the ranking of all the language groups concerned. 3] The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe (1998). The Charter provides a formally accepted division into seven social fields which are relevant for the protection of a minority language. 4] The Unesco Ad hoc expert group on language endangerment (2003) has proposed a set of nine factors to assess the vitality of a particular language.
The objectives, the instrument and an application to some European minority languages of these four approaches will be discussed. They are compared on their main dimensions and placed into an overall framework.

CV: Durk Gorter is now Ikerbasque Research Professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of the Basque Country in San Sebastian/Donostia, where he carries out work on multilingualism and minority languages. From 1979 to 2007 he was a researcher in the sociology of language and head of the department of social sciences at the Fryske Akademy in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Since 1994 he is part-time full professor at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in the sociolinguistics of Frisian. He did comparative work on the education of minority languages in the framework of the Mercator-Education project. He has also been involved in survey studies of the Frisian language situation and European minority languages, on which he has published numerous books and articles. He edited a book on Linguistic Landscape: a New Approach to Multilingualism (Multilingual Matters, 2006). His latest publications are Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery (with Elana Shohamy, Routledge 2008) and Multilingual Europe: facts and policies (with Guus Extra, Mouton 2008).

3: Alastair Walker
E: walker(a)nord-inst.uni-kiel.de

Title: How can Academic Institutions help support an Endangerd Language? The Case of North Frisian.

Abstract: It has long since been recognised that academic institutions such as schools and universities can play a vital role in the context of an endangered language. In my paper I should like to discuss some of the possibilities open to such academic institutions, exploring some of the fields where their expertise can contribute to the maintenance and promotion of an endangered language, taking as my point of departure the Department of Frisian Studies at the University of Kiel and the Danish-Frisian school Risum Skole/Risem Schölj in North Frisia, Germany. I shall argue that an academic institution can not only impart knowledge in a number of sectors but can also have a direct bearing on developments both within and around the language community concerned.

CV: Alastair Walker is Senior Lecturer in Frisian Studies at the University of Kiel, Germany. His principal areas of teaching and research are dialectology, lexicography, sociolinguistics and European regional and minority languages. He has done extensive field work documenting the North Frisian dialects as well as the multilingualism found in North Frisia. One particular field of interest is North Frisian in education.

Having started with North Frisian, his interests have developed to include European minority languages generally. Thus he was, for example, from 1992-1999 deputy chairman of the German Member State Committee of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL). In 2001 he organised a congress in Berlin with EBLUL and the Federal Ministry of the Interior on “Linguistic Diversity and Democracy in Germany” (Sprachenvielfalt und Demokratie in Deutschland). In 2003 he co-founded the working group “Minorities around the Baltic Sea” in Uppsala (Sweden) and co-edited a volume in 2006 on the development of minority politics in the ten countries around the Baltic Sea. In 2005/06 he was also member of the scientific committee which advised the European Commission while organising the congress “Regional and Minority Languages in Education Systems” held in Brussels in April 2006.