Language standardisation and hegemony: linguistic norms and national politics - Taylor Ellis

3:29 PM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
This presentation will discuss how Nunavut and the wider Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami program to standardize Inuktitut has potential adverse consequences for the revitalization of Inuktitut in communities where language forms are strongly associated with identity. The content will draw from other policy analyses of other Indigenous language settings (Hill, 2011, 2016; Hornberger, 2009). It will be argued that current efforts, which have been modelled after recommendations made by Fishman (1991) and Grenoble and Whaley (1998, 2006) from a linguistic perspective, do not adequately accommodate political theory and community concerns about the association between distinct cultural identities from Qallunaat and between dialectical communities.

The political theory which will inform the talk will come from Gramsci's (2000, 2014) political discussions of popular language forms. Stretching Gramsci’s approaches to linguistic forms in the field of political theory will be Ives (2004, 2006) who uses the concept of hegemony to propose an emancipatory language politics through the promotion of spontaneous grammars and the support of local forms of language use, as opposed to centralized efforts to impose normative grammars, enforcing a move towards a nation-State (Poulantzas, 2001). This analysis will be informed by a critical policy analysis (Ball, Maguire, & Braun, 2012; Fairclough, 2013; Gale, 2001) of relevant publicly available documents from organizations in Nunavut (Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, 2015; Office of the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut, 2017, 2018) and from the ITK (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, 2011, 2016; National Centre for Inuit Education, 2014).

University of Manitoba

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