A resource for people who care about endangered languages
Who uses this book
- Indigenous language speakers
- Minority language speakers
- Heritage language speakers
- Anyone who wants to pass on or learn a language in a one-on-one, master-apprentice format
The rationale for a one-on-one, master-apprentice format for language learning
- There are no classes available to students in the language
- There are few remaining speakers of the language
- This seems like a natural way to teach and learn
The advice and activities are based primarily on experiences people have had in their efforts to revive California Indian languages.
- Make a meal together
- Attend a ceremony
- Watch TV with the sound off and narrate
Starting a community language program
There is also a section at the back for people who want to create a community program based on this model of master-apprentice. I particularly like the advice given to people considering starting such a program:
- Never ask permission; never beg to save the language.
- Don’t debate the issues.
- Be very action-oriented; just act.
- Show, don’t tell.
Two thumbs up. I recommend this to anyone who wants to pass on an indigenous language or a heritage language dropped after immigration to a new country.
And what about language exchange?
This book could also be used by two people wanting to exchange languages. The two people would simply take turns doing activities in one language and then the other, taking turns being “master” and “apprentice.”