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Indigenizing the Structural Syllabus: The Challenge of Revitalizing Mi'gmaq in Listuguj [Mela Sarkar, Mali An’n Metallic]

University of Toronto Press
Year of publication: 

“Mi'gmaq, an Algonkian language of northeastern North America, is one of nearly 50 surviving Indigenous languages in Canada that are usually not considered to be viable into the next century. Only Inuktitut, Cree, and Ojibwe presently have enough younger speakers to provide a critical mass for long-term survival. In one Mi'gmaq community, however, a new way of passing on the language to adults who do not already speak it is rekindling new hope for the language. Building on a kernel provided by Arapaho scholar and Indigenous language revival activist Stephen Greymorning, teachers in Listuguj have created a structural syllabus that expands on the basic categories found in Mi'gmaq grammar rather than borrowing from methods devised to teach English or French as a second language. Learners have responded enthusiastically. This article reports on a participatory action research project involving Listuguj teachers and researchers from McGill University who are documenting this approach as it evolves.”


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