Language revitalization being discussed

“Envisioning Language Revitalization” is the theme for a pair of gatherings being held at Western Carolina University to focus on efforts to preserve the languages of small populations.

The Envisioning Language Revitalization Summit is scheduled for Monday, June 20, and Tuesday, June 21. The summit will allow administrators, educators and researchers who are documenting, revitalizing and maintaining languages to discuss the goals, implementation and assessment of language programs, with a particular focus on the use of language in instruction for children from birth to sixth grade, and on second-language education in the community.

The logo for the summit and symposium includes the traditional Cherokee language versions of “We are envisioning language revitalization,” “June 20-23,” and “North Carolina.”

The logo for the summit and symposium includes the traditional Cherokee language versions of “We are envisioning language revitalization,” “June 20-23” and “North Carolina.”

Attendance at the summit is by invitation-only, but it will be followed by the Envisioning Language Revitalization Symposium, which is free and open to everyone who is interested in preserving endangered languages. The symposium will be held beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22, and Thursday, June 23, in the Peele, Westmoreland Suhre, Hartshorn Hospitality Room of WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Each day’s session will be preceded by a continental breakfast.

Symposium participants will present their work on language documentation and language program implementation, with a focus on multimodal and multifunctional language techniques and materials that can be used in the classroom for general kindergarten through sixth-grade education, and which can be used by potential speakers of the language in the community.

Symposium presenters will include Tom Belt, visiting instructor of Cherokee in WCU’s Cherokee Language Program; Margaret Bender, an anthropologist from Wake Forest University; Rainy S. Brake of the New Kituwah Immersion School; Sara L. Snyder of Columbia University; Eastern Band member Nannie Taylor; and Hartwell Francis, director of the WCU program.

Both gatherings were organized by WCU’s Cherokee Language Program and the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The project is sponsored in part by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

More symposium information is available by contacting Hartwell Francis at 828-227-2303 or hfrancis@wcu.edu.