book review: Can Schools Save Indigenous Languages?: Policy and Practice on Four Continents

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Jun 22 16:01:18 UTC 2008

Can Schools Save Indigenous Languages?: Policy and Practice on Four
Series: Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities
Published: 2008
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Book URL:

Editor: Nancy H Hornberger
Hardback: ISBN: 9780230013322 Pages: 200 Price: U.K. £ 45.00

This book offers a close look at cases of indigenous language
revitalization on four continents: Māori in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Sámi in
the Nordic countries, Hñähñö in Mexico, and Indigenous languages in Latin
America. Contributions by experts from each case are in turn discussed in
international perspective by four counterpart experts. Starting from the
premise that Indigenous language revitalization is worth doing, the focus
here is on HOW to do it, and in particular, the role of schools in that
endeavour. Schools alone are not enough to do the job, but in tandem with
other social institutions, can be a strategic resource. Indigenous language
revitalization is never only about language, but also about the identities
and experiences of speakers and communities. The authors advocate for the
rights of Indigenous peoples to exercise both voice and choice in
determining their own Indigenous language revitalization and education

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