Heritage in Language: Nurturing Collective, Socially Relevant and Transformative Research in Education

Heritage in Language Plenary Panel

Keynote Speakers: Umberto Ansaldo & Lisa Lim

An increased interest in intangible cultural heritage has led to a heightened awareness of the role of heritage languages in contemporary society. Within the field of linguistics, endangered languages have now for decades been documented as part of a cultural heritage that is deemed worth preserving. This panel explores issues about the role of heritage languages in contemporary society and education, both from theoretical perspectives as well as practical solutions.

This panel will include two keynote presentations, and then invite response from the audience in a chaired Q and A and discussion.

Keynote Presentation II | Lisa Lim

That cultural and linguistic diversity is diminishing worldwide has been recognised for some years now, and research on heritage/ minority/ endangered languages has burgeoned in the past two decades. Recent work also encompasses the diversity found in large urban centres, to which increasing numbers of peoples, many of them speakers of such languages, migrate. Using research on Hong Kong’s linguistic diversity and heritage languages as a case in point, I distil three elements that I consider crucial in research and teaching and learning practice if our hope is to nurture students with the integrity and competences for the appreciating and sustaining of heritage in the complex and changing ecologies of the 21st-century knowledge economy. First, teaching practice that involves as a major component the conducting of research in the field – in particular in local contexts and communities that are at the same time familiar and unfamiliar – affords students experiential learning, and sharpens their acuity towards issues in their own society. Second, the platform for delivery needs to be authentic and current: having projects contribute to a website underscores to students the value of their research output beyond course and institution, and is a means of motivating original and socially relevant research. Finally, leading students to a critical reflection helps crystallise their learning experience. Together these can bring about a transformation in students – and a contribution to the surviving and thriving of our young generations and our heritage language communities, in the concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future.

Read presenter biographies.

Posted by IAFOR