Languages in crisis

Next week, on 7 June in Canberra, will be an event Languages in crisis, at the National Press Club. It’s billed as a “National Languages Summit, calling for simple, effective measures to utilise and develop our national language capacity”. It’s organised by the Academy of Humanities, and they’re going to launch a Research Paper.
BUT, the rumour is that “national language capacity=foreign language capacity”. Nothing about the crisis in bilingual education for Indigenous students. Nothing about Indigenous languages at all….
Update 17/8/07
There’s a new link here [thanks to Mame du Bois]
This does bring in Indigenous languages, recognising the misguided conflict between them that some policy-makers have pushed:
Programmes to support Indigenous languages of Australia can be paired with English teaching, rather than act in competition with them.

2 thoughts on “Languages in crisis”

  1. Hi Jane,
    The Summit’s ambit was indeed inclusive of Australian languages, and there were some professionals present who are expert in our indigenous languages. Pretty much the only languages not in range were ancient languages and English.
    So as long as there is a community of speakers, we are interested in promoting a smarter policy to develop and/or strengthen capability in languages of relevance to Australia. I can’t think of any more relevant than those languages that evolved and that are spoken here on our own continent!
    PS – the research paper was released by the Group of 8, not us, but we do welcome increased polciy discussion in languages education.

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