This is a preprint
restricted access Ten Years of Mi’gmaq Language Revitalization Work: a Non-Indigenous Applied Linguist Reflects on Building Research Relationships
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Ten Years of Mi’gmaq Language Revitalization Work: a NonIndigenous Applied Linguist Reflects on Building Research Relationships Mela Sarkar Abstract: Language revitalization work at one First Nation in eastern Canada has been ongoing for over two decades. Several approaches have been put in place: core teaching of Mi’gmaq as a primary school subject, language documentation and the creation of an online dictionary, and an Elders’ focus group on language, as well other shorter-term projects. In 2006, a group of university researchers was invited to collaborate with local Mi’gmaq language instructors who were trying out an image-based way of introducing adult community members to their language. After 10 years of continuous community– university contact, from 2006 to 2016, a non-Indigenous researcher reflects on the involvement of the academic applied linguist outsider in a constantly changing learning process. Keywords: Indigenous, language revitalization, Mi’gmaq, Mi’gmaw, Mi’kmaq , Mi’kmaw, research ethics, second language acquisition, second language pedagogy Résumé : Depuis deux décennies, un travail de revitalisation linguistique se poursuit auprès d’une Première nation de l’Est canadien. Différentes méthodes ont été mises en œuvre dans le cadre du projet : l’enseignement proprement dit du Mi’gmaq à l’école primaire, la documentation linguistique et la création d’un dictionnaire en ligne, et la formation d’un groupe de discussion constitué d’aı̂nés dont les débats portent sur la langue, ainsi que divers autres projets de plus courte durée. En 2006, un groupe de chercheurs universitaires était invité à collaborer avec les formateurs locaux enseignant la langue Mi’gmaq dans la mise à l’essai d’une méthode basée sur l’image, destinée à familiariser les adultes de la communauté avec leur langue. Après 10 ans d’échanges ininterrompus entre communauté et université, de 2006 à 2016, une chercheuse non autochtone réfléchit à la façon dont s’inscrit la participation d’une universitaire externe, spécialiste en linguistique appliquée, dans un processus d’apprentissage en constante évolution. Mots clés : acquisition d’une langue seconde, autochtone, didactique de la langue seconde, éthique de la recherche, mi’gmaq, mi’gmaw, mi’kmaq, mi’kmaw , micmac, revitalisation linguistique 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.4082 Background Language revitalization work in this community In Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation, as in many other Indigenous communities (Grenoble & Whaley, 1998; Kirkness, 1998; Nettle & Romaine, 2000), the Mi’gmaq language has been slipping away. A hundred years ago it was the only language spoken by most community members, and through the middle of the twentieth century it was still a thriving community language (although increasing numbers of younger speakers were bilingual in English). But in Listuguj, Mi’gmaq is now mainly the language of Elders and the elderly for ordinary day-to-day communication rather than formal ritual use. Few children hear spoken Mi’gmaq every day in their homes. Overwhelmingly, for community members younger than 65, the most commonly spoken language – often the only spoken language – is English. When the bleeding away of the Mi’gmaq language became apparent and it was clear that without concerted action there would be no Mi’gmaq speakers in Listuguj once the older monolinguals and Mi’gmaq /English bilinguals were gone, the community took steps. As in other Indigenous communities in Canada, a band-controlled school was set up in the wake of the 1972 National Indian Brotherhood document Indian Control of Indian Education (NIB, 1972). This provided a possible site for Mi’gmaq teaching to children, and indeed such teaching has been going on for several decades. This teaching has been on the model of “core” programs elsewhere in Canada, also known as “drip-feed” (Lightbown & Spada, 2013). Like “core” programs elsewhere , it has not produced new speakers or even semi-speakers. The education authorities in Listuguj have therefore been aware of the need to pursue language revitalization strategies in many ways and places besides “core” teaching in the...


pdf