The responsibilities of Linguistics programs: preparing and supporting Linguistics students in collaborative, revitalization-oriented work




Demson, Deirdre

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Linguistics field has encountered many incisive critiques of its fieldwork and documentation practices regarding Indigenous languages in recent years, yet, for this most part, this important scholarly work seems to have made little impact on the way that Linguistics students are being taught and trained. Many Linguistics students, especially those who are non-Indigenous, leave Linguistics programs lacking both necessary preparation and support in collaborative, revitalization-oriented language research with Indigenous communities. This thesis takes up the question of what constitutes ethical language work with Indigenous speech communities, and argues finally that curricula must provide instruction and training in preparing students to undertake collaborative research practices not only by providing such instruction within dedicated fieldwork courses, but also by making alterations to the full scope of Linguistics curricula and program designs. The thesis also incorporates an examination of the ideologies that underpin the Linguistics field and that hinder its ability to orient itself aright towards Indigenous language revitalization. The centrepiece of the thesis comprises interviews with four scholars, all of whom work in or adjacent to the Linguistics field, who offer knowledge and practical insights into the causes and perpetuation of the complex problems at the heart of these programs as they pertain to Indigenous language revitalization. On the basis of the thesis’s findings, practical proposals for decolonizing Linguistics programs are discussed.



Indigenous Language Revitalization, Linguistics, Decolonization, Collaborative language research, Linguistic fieldwork, Racial justice, Indigenist