Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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Conférence dans le cadre de Multi-L (Axe 2)
Villejuif - Bât.D - S.511 - 14H00

Sinfree Makoni (Penn State University)
Decolonizing language in Education: a considered view

The focus of this presentation is on language in education as part of a broader project to decolonize applied linguistics. The applied linguistics we envisage is one grounded in the experiences in colonial and postcolonial contexts and among marginalized and indigenous communities in the geographical North. There is a concern that  moves to replace European languages with students' mother tongues may miss the point and that the very notion of separate and nameable languages and either or options between them is also in need of decolonization. Part of any project to decolonize applied linguistics is to step away from simple assumptions that replacing a former colonial language with an indigenous one is itself an emancipatory move. This move still operates from a Northern framework that fails to understand the differences that the South brings to the fore. Other domains of applied  linguistics such as assessment and second language acquisition (SLA), are equally in need of decolonization through an understanding both of the roles they play in maintaining North-South inequalities and the ways they can be rethought in terms of multilingual repertoires. SLA research as it has slowly progressed from a remarkable narrowness of language diversity and context through the celebrated multilingual turn, nevertheless retains the acquisition of the same set of language as targets of acquisition. This is not so much of a turn, just a slight expansion that retains its Eurocentric thinking, applied linguistics must cultivate a decolonial imagination that makes it possible to envisage an alternative reality and an alternative justice.