Indigenous Language Revitalization and Applied Linguistics: Parallel Histories, Shared Futures?




McIvor, Onowa

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics


Damages done to Indigenous languages occurred due to colonial forces, some of which continue to this day, and many believe efforts to revive them should involve more than Indigenous peoples alone. Therefore, the need for learning Indigenous languages as “additional” languages is a relatively new societal phenomenon and Indigenous language revitalization (ILR) an emerging academic field of study. As the ILR body of literature has developed, it has become clear that this work does not fit neatly into any single academic discipline. While there have been substantial contributions from linguistics and education, the study and recovery of Indigenous languages are necessarily self-determined and self-governing. Also, due to the unique set of circumstances, contexts, and, therefore, solutions needed, it is argued that this discipline is separate from, yet connected to, others. Applied linguists hold specific knowledge and skills that could be extended to ILR toward great gains. This paper explores current foci within ILR, especially concepts, theories, and areas of study that connect applied linguistics and Indigenous language learning. The intention of this paper is to consider commonalities, differences, current and future interests for shared consideration of the potential of collaborations, and partnerships between applied linguistics and ILR scholars.




McIvor, O. (2020). Indigenous language revitalization and applied linguistics: Parallel histories, shared futures? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 40, 78-96.