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The Role of Pronunciation in SENĆOŦEN Language Revitalization
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The Role of Pronunciation in SENĆOŦEN Language Revitalization Sonya Bird and Sarah Kell Abstract: Most Indigenous language revitalization programs in Canada currently emphasize spoken language. However, virtually no research has been done on the role of pronunciation in the context of language revitalization. This study set out to gain an understanding of attitudes around pronunciation in the SENĆOŦEN-speaking community, in order to determine what role pronunciation should play in language revitalization and how best to strike a balance between remaining faithful to the Elders’ ways of speaking and allowing the language to change as new generations become fluent. The survey clearly showed that pronunciation is very important to the SENĆOŦEN language community, as a means of supporting communication as well as for cultural and social reasons. Several specific areas of concern came up with respect to pronunciation, as did more general challenges to learning SENĆOŦEN. Addressing pronunciation challenges involves two broad strategies: raising awareness about the types of variation considered acceptable in the SENĆOŦENspeaking community, and addressing the types of variation that can be corrected with appropriate support. These views will lay the foundation for future pronunciationrelated work on SENĆOŦEN, facilitating ongoing collaborative projects between community -based teachers and learners and university-based linguists. Keywords: language revitalization, language variation and change, pronunciation attitudes, SENĆOŦEN Résumé : La plupart des programmes de revitalisation des langues autochtones au Canada mettent actuellement l’accent sur la langue parlée. Or, le rôle de la prononciation dans le contexte de cette revitalisation linguistique n’a concrètement fait l’objet d’aucune étude. Les auteures ont pour but de mieux comprendre les attitudes à l’égard de la prononciation au sein de la communauté des locuteurs du SENĆOŦEN, afin de déterminer quel rôle devrait jouer la prononciation dans la revitalisation linguistique et quelle est la meilleure façon de parvenir à un équilibre entre la fidélité au parler des aînés et l’accueil des transformations que subit le langage à mesure que de nouvelles générations l’acquièrent. L’étude démontre clairement la grande importance de la prononciation pour la communauté linguistique SENĆOŦEN, tant pour le soutien de la communication que pour des raisons culturelles et sociales. Elle met en lumière plusieurs sujets de préoccupation précis relatifs à la prononciation de même que des difficultés plus générales associ ées à l’apprentissage du SENĆOŦEN. L’analyse des subtilités de la prononciation fait intervenir deux grandes stratégies : accroître la sensibilisation aux types de variations jugées acceptables dans la communauté des locuteurs du SENĆOŦEN et rectifier les types de variations nécessitant une correction grâce au soutien approprié. Ces This ahead of print version may differ slightly from the final published version.© The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes, doi:10.3138/cmlr.4060 perspectives jetteront les bases d’un travail ultérieur relatif à la prononciation du SEN- ĆOŦEN, ce qui favorisera la poursuite de projets de collaboration entre les enseignants et les apprenants de la communauté et les linguistes des universités. Mots clés : attitude quant à la prononciation, revitalisation linguistique, SENC ́OŦEN, variations et transformations linguistiques Most Indigenous language revitalization programs in Canada, including mentor-apprentice programs, language nests,1 and immersion schools currently emphasize spoken language. However, we still know very little about second language (L2) learning in the context of Indigenous language revitalization (McIvor, 2015), particularly with respect to pronunciation. While a relatively large body of research in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) indicates that adult L2 learners cannot normally avoid an accent (Derwing & Munro, 2009), attitudes toward L2 learners’ accents can be quite negative (Moyer, 2014; Ryan, 1983). Given these two conflicting facts, it is not clear what role pronunciation should take in language teaching and learning in general. In language revitalization contexts, the situation is particularly complex , since speakers and learners are often especially concerned with speaking in a way that is faithful to their Elders’ speech. It is...


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