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2015: Issue 1


2016 Meeting Report

Annual Meeting 6th May 2016, University of East London: Technology & Media: Emerging trends in Africa and the diaspora

The Conversation

http://theconversation.com/uk

This is a reputable though not peer-reviewed resource. It has a Creative Commons Licence, and republishing is permitted.

Members of the Language in Africa SIG have been publishing on-line in The Conversation

November 5, 2015

English rules in Uganda, but local languages shouldn’t be sidelined

Medadi Ssentanda, Makerere University and Judith Nakayiza, Makerere University

The stories of and attitudes to three particular languages – English, Swahili and Luganda – provide an interesting starting point for a debate around Uganda's language policy.

September 7, 2015

Uganda’s private schools must stop snubbing language learning policy

Medadi Ssentanda, Makerere University and Judith Nakayiza, Makerere University

In Uganda, private schools are simply ignoring a policy that calls for pupils to learn in a mother tongue rather than in English for the first three years of their education.

May 14, 2015

Digital stories could hold the key to multilingual literacy for African children  

Bonny Norton, University of British Columbia

Research tells us that multilingual literacy matters. But teaching children in Africa to read in their mother tongues as a springboard to literacy in other languages can be a fraught process.

22 May, 2015  

Not all of Ghana’s children attend school – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning

Brendan Rigby, PhD Candidate in Language Literacy Education, University of Melbourne

Researchers know very little about the daily lives and education of children who are excluded from formal schooling. According to UNESCO’s definition of “out of school” these children are never expected to enrol, have dropped out or are expected to enrol later in formal schooling. But a case study in Ghana suggests that there may be a different way of considering notions of literacy and schooling. This is important because goals set for universal primary education under the Millennium Development Goals have not been achieved.

Feliciano Chimbutane - Expanded Spaces for Mozambican Languages in Primary Education: Where Bottom-Up Meets Top-Down

Abstract:

This article describes how 16 Mozambican languages—and counting—have been brought into primary education in Mozambique through a 2002 curriculum reform, and how they are faring in light of tensions between general aspirations for dominant languages and public demand for bilingual education. Bilingual education based on learners' home languages, as one of three optional “modalities” of the reform, has grown in popularity since piloting in the 1990s, and classroom- and community-level actors are making considerable contributions, assisted by middle-level scholars and organizations. Although official policy has not been accompanied by allocation of resources at the top, it appears that implementational spaces (Hornberger, 2005) are being filled from the stakeholder level, contributing to ownership of bilingual programs and satisfaction with promoting local languages and cultures. Given current limitations at the top and middle, the question is whether the bottom can sustain implementation.

Publication Date: 2012

Publication Name: International Multilingual Research Journal

Annual Meeting 2016

The 2016 Language in Africa SIG Annual Meeting will be on Friday, May 6th 2016 at the University of East London, and will be on the theme: Technology and Media: Emerging Trends in Africa and the Diaspora.

The plenary speaker will be Professor Bonny Norton, University of British Colombia.

Papers are invited on the general theme of the conference. Please send abstracts of up to 250 words by March 28th 2016 to: Annette Islei, Convenor LiA SIG, annetteislei@gmail.com

Topics of interest centred around the theme could include, for example:

Goodith White, Secretary of Language in Africa SIG

The role of a university in indigenous language and community development

Mountains of the Moon University, Fort Portal

Postgraduate Hall, Kabundaire

Thursday 29th October 2015, 1 – 5pm.


The aim of the seminar is to promote discussion between and within Ugandan universities and with community members, and develop concepts for the role of universities in languages and community development.

We welcome your participation.

Speakers:

Organising team:

Research from the LiA SIG Meetings

We are very pleased to be publicising research from LiA SIG meetings, SIG members, and in particular from inside African universities.


Report on BAAL 'Language in Africa' SIG meetings Reading in African languages: Developing literacies and reading methodologies. Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty

Language Teaching, Volume 48, Issue 02, April 2015, pp 297 - 301

doi: 10.1017/S0261444814000457 Published Online on 13th March 2015

With thanks to Professor Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty, SA, we have a SIG 'Research in Progress' article in the April 2015 issue of Language Teaching. It comprises ongoing research into both the technicalities of reading processes - especially the study of eye-movements, contrasting English and Bantu languages, and research into literacy practices and interventions. The report is based mainly on the SIG Reading seminar of 17 January, 2014

Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0261444814000457


We will have another Research in Progress from SIG Meetings in the 2015 October Issue of Language Teaching which focuses on Language in Education.


SIG member Dr Willy Ngaka from Uganda has published with Fred Masagazi Masaazi Participatory Literacy Learning in an African Context: Perspectives from the Ombaderuku Primary School in the Arua District, Uganda - open access - Journal of Language and Literacy Education (JoLLE) Vol. 11.

Check this link to view the article and podcast: http://jolle.coe.uga.edu/current-issue/

ABSTRACT: This study documents the experiences of volunteer teacher research assistants in relation to pupils' interaction with parents, texts, and informal literacy practices in the community, and considers how these practices may enhance literacy instruction and production of local reading materials. The research site was located in the context of Uganda's mother tongue education policy, driven by a whole language approach to teaching literacy in one primary school in the Arua district. Locating the research in sociocultural and ethnographic perspectives on literacy, the authors use observation, document analysis, and informal interviews to capture the phenomena of interest in the project. Findings show that although pupils, parents, and community members engaged in informal literacy practices and interact with cultural resources and written texts including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacies on an everyday basis, such cultural resources, informal practices, and written texts outside the classrooms have not been adequately used to enhance participatory teaching and learning of literacy. Further, local materials development in the implementation of Uganda's current language policy was characterized by lack of local reading materials and declining literacy levels among pupils. The authors recommend building research, teaching, and materials development capacity for promoting various literacies including digital literacies and for enhancing authentic literacy instruction.


SIG member Dr Barbara Graham who works in Kenya has published with Dr Agatha Ginkel in Language, Culture and Curriculum, 2014, Vol 27,3,244-259: Assessing early grade reading: the value and limits of 'words per minute'

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rlcc20/27/3

This is a much needed study into the difficulties of comparing literacy assessments in languages with very different structures - such as average word length (word length in English is noticeably shorter).

Abstract

Primary school enrolment in low-income countries has increased in recent years. The quality of education is, however, still a cause for concern. Better measurement of early reading progress has been suggested as a means of improving education quality. Benchmarks based on the number of 'words per minute' (WPM) students are able to read correctly have been proposed as a basis for assessment and comparison, even where languages and orthographies differ. This paper explores the extent to which WPM benchmarks, based mainly on research with native English speakers, are appropriate for cross-language comparisons. A quantitative study of early grade reading in two European (English and Dutch) and two African languages (Sabaot and Pokomo) analysed WPM and comprehension scores of over 300 children in three countries. Results indicate that similar comprehension scores were associated with diverse WPM rates. This suggests that WPM is not a reliable comparative measure of reading development since linguistic and orthographic features can differ considerably and are likely to influence the reading acquisition process. We argue that a good understanding of the languages of literacy (L1 and/or other) and their effects on reading acquisition are essential to the quest for quality education.  Results of assessments of children reading in their own language and in English seem to be compared - or simply assembled - without thought to basic issues that may be skewing results.


Barbara also published a valuable article Creating Cycles of writing and reading in a resource-poor school community in Kenya: Could one literacy event lead to ongoing literacy practices. International Journal of Education Development 33 (2013) 294 - 301 in which she analyses the process and benefits of a literacy intervention that she undertook in Pokoma, Kenya.

She encouraged parents to write stories for their children in the local language, and details the process of creating the project, with all the local restraints, the writing of stories which took place, and then a key analysis of why, despite the apparent success of the intervention - stories were written - parents were NOT likely to continue - a major factor being attitudes to English as well as logistics, e.g. personal time.


SIG member Dr Judith Nakayiza - PhD SOAS, Makarere Univeristy, Uganda: Saudah Namyalo & Judith Nakayiza (2014): Dilemmas in implementing language rights in multilingual Uganda, Current Issues in Language Planning, DOI: 10.1080/14664208.2014.987425

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2014.987425

Abstract

Even after decades of uttering platitudes about the languages of Uganda, language policy pronouncements have invariably turned out to be public relations statements rather than blueprints for action. A serious setback for the right to linguistic equality and the right to use Uganda's indigenous languages has largely hinged on the language policies, which the government has not fully implemented under the guise of language diversity in Uganda. Against this backdrop, this paper explores three research questions: (i) What is the current language situation in Uganda?, (ii) What is the transient nature of language policies in Uganda? and (iii) What implications do the language situation and policies have in relation to the language rights and linguistic freedoms of Ugandans? The paper is based on an on-going research project that investigates the possibility of strengthening indigenous languages for their increased viability to national development. Data were collected using interviews and content analysis. Using a triangulation method, associations were drawn between language policy and language diversity and the prevalent abuse of language rights which surrounds the use and development of indigenous languages in both formal and informal contexts.


The Reading Association of Uganda (RAU) ( SIG members Margaret Baleeta and Willy Ngaka) has placed the presentation of this years meeting in Dropbox.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hsmw2o0p5ygpl6c/AABHIgX6kZf8gPwEtr963r0fa?oref=e&n=267248129


From references I picked out Medadi Ssentanda The Challenges of Teaching Reading in Uganda: Curriculum Guidelines and language policy viewed from the classroom  in Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, Vol. 8,2, 2014, 1-22

 and found online access http://apples.jyu.fi/issue/view/17  medadies@gmail.com


LiA SIG members - please send us more news of your publications.  We need to form a bibliography.


Annette

Secretary of Language in Africa SIG, British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)

Annual Meeting 2015

Friday 22nd May 2015

Theme: "Developing languages in Africa: social and educational perspectives"

Venue: School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham

The objective of this BAAL Language in Africa (LiA) meeting is to enable LiA SIG members and others to get together, present their research, and discuss current issues with a focus on the impact of ideologies on sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts of language use in Africa, including areas such as language in education, language in development, and language maintenance and shift.

Keynote speaker: Prof.Lutz Marten, SOAS.

'Three contexts of language development in Africa'

Lutz Marten is Professor of General and African Linguistics at SOAS, University of London. Lutz has conducted extensive fieldwork in East, Central and Southern Africa, working on Swahili, Luguru, Bemba, Herero and other Bantu languages. Focusing on language in context, his work gives attention to local and transnational forces acting on languages. Besides pioneering work on 'Dynamic Syntax', his publications include studies of language contact and comparative Bantu grammar, and a co-authored textbook, 'Colloquial Swahili'.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Presentations can focus on any theme-related topic.

Abstracts written in English of max 300 words (with bibliographical references) for a 30 minute paper should be sent by 10th April 2015 to Dr. Ross Graham: bsx288@coventry.ac.uk. The preferred file formats are .doc and .pdf. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 17th April 2015.

REGISTRATION

The Meeting fee is £20.00 for BAAL members, £30.00 for non-members and £15 for students.

Registration may be made directly via the attached '2015 LiASIG conference registration form'. For online registration and further details of the event on the website when available, see www.liasig.wordpress.com.


Annual Meeting 2014

Saturday 3rd May 2014

Theme: 'Ideology and language choices: African perspectives'

Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG

The objective of this BAAL Language in Africa (LiA) Meeting is to enable LiA SIG members and others to get together, present their research, and discuss current issues with a focus on the impact of ideologies on sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts of language use in Africa, including areas such as language in education, language in development, and language maintenance and shift.

Keynote speaker: Dr.Tope Omoniyi, University of Roehampton

'The English-Plus Project and Effective Public Healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa'

Tope Omoniyi is Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Roehampton. His publications cover diverse areas, including language policy and planning, the impact of social change on language identity, multilingualism and education, globalization and World Englishes, and the sociology of language and religion. Tope recently (Jan 2014) published the article 'Indigenous language capital and development in Sub-Saharan Africa' in a special issue of the International Journal for the Sociology of Language on 'Language Issues in Development', which he also edited.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Presentations can focus on any theme-related topic.

Abstracts written in English of max 300 words (with bibliographical references, if any) for a 30 minute paper should be sent by 6th April 2014 to Dr.Ross Graham: bsx288@coventry.ac.uk. The preferred file formats are .doc and .pdf. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 11th April 2014.

REGISTRATION

The Meeting fee is £20.00 for BAAL members, £30.00 for non-members and £10 for students.

Registration online and further details of the event on the website www.liasig.wordpress.com.


New Seminar Series!

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and SOAS , University of London

Friday 17 January 2014: 2pm - 6pm, SOAS

Theme: Reading in African Languages: Developing literacies and reading methodologies

A major factor in the weakness in children’s educational achievement in post-colonial contexts is widely ascribed to the fact that children are required to learn to read through the former colonial language. Introducing learning to read through the child’s familiar community language is continually advocated by international and grassroots organisations. BUT, even where this is taking place, children are not always advancing well.

How far is this due to traditional attitudes and pedagogic practices – AND – how far is this due to lack of research into the psychological processes of learning to speak and read a language with a very different structure from English, French, etc.? Writers of curricula and teacher educators in Sub-Saharan Africa have to resort to research into those languages.

Hosted by Prof Lutz Marten at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the seminar will be led by Professor Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty from the University of KwaZulu-Natal who is interested in reading research in isiZulu. Prof Elizabeth Pretorius from UNISA and Dr Joanne Westbrook from the University of Sussex will also give their input. We would like to be joined by other reading and language specialists in debating various aspects of reading.

A special edition of the journal Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies is currently being planned for 2015. We will therefore be considering seminar papers for inclusion in this Special Edition.

Deadline for Abstracts of up to 300 words: 15 December 2013

Send to: wildsmithr@ukzn.ac.za

Notification of Acceptance: 23 December 2013

FURTHER INFORMATION is available on the LIASIG website: http://liasig.wordpress.com

Annual Meeting 2013

The 2013 Annual Meeting of the BAAL Language in Africa Special Interest Group will take place on Friday 28 June at Edge Hill University Ormskirk Campus.  

Theme: Language as communicative practice in African and African diasporic contexts


Presentations can focus on any theme-related topic.  Poster presentations are also welcome, for display throughout the day.  Abstracts of up to 300 words should be sent by Friday 17 May 2013 to Jo Shoba at shobajo@edgehill.ac.uk, to whom informal enquiries can also be addressed.  Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by Friday 31 May 2013.  


Further information about the event and registration details will be circulated shortly.


Annual Meeting 2012

Saturday 5th May 2012

Theme: The social life of language and language development in Africa

Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG

The objective of this BAAL Language in Africa (LiA) Meeting is to enable LiA SIG members and others to get together, present their research, and discuss current issues related to language and literacy in African schools, and other issues which relate to the sociolinguistic or sociocultural contexts of language use in Africa, including language endangerment and development.

Keynote speaker: Dr Jo Westbrook University of Sussex

The Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, recently published their research report on Teacher Preparation and Continuing Professional Development in Africa: learning to teach early reading and mathematics.  http://www.sussex.ac.uk/education/cie/projectscompleted/tpa

CALL FOR PAPERS

Presentations can focus on any theme-related topic.

Abstracts written in English of max 300 words (with bibliographical references) for a 30 minute paper should be sent by 17th March 2011 to Ross.Graham@coventry.ac.uk. The preferred file formats are .doc and .pdf. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 2nd April 2012.

REGISTRATION:

The Meeting fee is £20.00 for BAAL members, £30.00 for non-members and £10 for students.

Prepayment is essential, either online at www.liasig.wordpress.com, or by cheque addressed to Annette Islei, 58 Leaver Rd, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 1UW. Registration form is attached. For queries: please contact annetteislei@gmail.com


Annual Meeting 2011

April 2nd 2011

Theme: Language, Education and Development

Venue: Coventry University

CALL FOR PAPERS

The objective of this BAAL Language in Africa (LiA) Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting, organized by Coventry University, is to enable LiA SIG members and others to get together, present their research, and discuss current issues related to language learning in English medium contexts in Africa. The keynote speaker for the meeting will be Dr. John Clegg of the University of Bristol.

Presentations can focus on any theme-related topic. Abstracts written in English of max 300 words (with bibliographical references) for a 30 minute paper should be sent by 4th March 2011 to Ross.Graham@coventry.ac.uk. The preferred file formats are .doc and .pdf.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 18th March 2011.

Register and pay for the BAAL LiA SIG Meeting using the Registration Form which can be obtained from Ross.Graham@coventry.ac.uk. The Meeting fee is £30.00 (£20.00 for BAAL members and £10 for students). This includes refreshments and lunch.

Annual Meeting 2010

Date: 21-22 May, 2010

Theme: Language Learning in English Medium Contexts in Africa

Venue: 35 Berkeley Square, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK


Language in Africa SIG