1st Edition

Living Languages and New Approaches to Language Revitalisation Research

By Tonya Stebbins, Kris Eira, Vicki Couzens Copyright 2018
    306 Pages
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book advocates for a new model of describing the practices of language revitalization, and decolonizing the research methods used to study them. The volume provides a comprehensive treatment of the theoretical and methodological foundations of working with communities revitalizing their languages. It lays out the conceptual framework at the heart of the project and moves into a description of the model, based on a seven-year research process working with Aboriginal communities in eastern Australia. Six case studies show the model’s application in language revival practice. The book critically engages with the notion of revival languages as emergent and ever-transforming and develops a holistic approach to their description that reflects Aboriginal language practitioners’ understandings of the nature of language. It seeks to demonstrate how the conceptual tools developed from this approach can support efforts to develop deeply collaborative research, highlight the diversity of language revitalisation practice and map between the realms of old and new, local and global, and the social, cultural, and textual dimensions of language, making this an ideal resource for researchers and scholars in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, education, cultural studies, and post-colonial studies.

    1. Introduction

    2. Decolonising Linguistic Practices

    3. Concepts

    4. Description of the Model

    5. Applying the Model

    6. A Typology of Revival Languages

    7. Language Revival in Practice

    8. Meeting Points (Implications)


    Tonya N. Stebbins is Associate Professor of Linguistics at La Trobe University. She has two decades of experience with language revitalisation projects in Canada, Papua New Guinea and Australia and experience consulting in Health, Community Services and Education.

    Kris Eira is a community-based linguist at the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages who has worked in language revitalisation in southeast Australia for 16 years.

    Vicki Couzens is Keerray Woorroong Gunditjmara; Senior Knowledge Holder for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Gunditjmara Mother Tongue. Vicki’s contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practices extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’. Vicki acknowledges her Ancestors and Elders who guide her in her work.