Heritage in Language?

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 I | Umberto Ansaldo

In this talk I raise a number of critical views on the concept of language as heritage, with an aim to better understand what we mean when we talk about heritage languages. First of all we look at what, exactly, can be said to be heritage in any given language. Is it the language per se, in terms of its sound system and grammar, is it the cultural values it embodies, or just its symbolic use? Based on this, we can then consider to what extent heritage languages require attention. Do we need to preserve them, simply conserve them, or should we not worry about them at all? Finally, I raise the question of whether all (linguistic) heritage is actually valuable, or whether aspects of it might better be left behind.

Read presenter biographies.

Posted by IAFOR