Multilingual Thursday, 24th March

1. A collaboration between the universities of Bristol in the UK, Dodoma in Tanzania, and Ketebe in Ethiopia: Theory, Practices and Policies for ‘Late Exit’ Transition in the Language of Learning and Teaching: A Literature Review. ‘Late exit’ transition here means switching from L1 to the new language of learning and teaching later in one’s school career PDF below

and UKFIET blog post about the literature review here

“A recent World Bank report estimates that 370 million learners in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) complete all or part of their basic education using an international/European/former colonial language (L2) as the official language of learning and teaching (LOLT). This is a major factor undermining educational quality and equity worldwide …”

2. The next event in Birmingham University’s MOSAIC Group for Research on Multilingualism Seminar Series is Delinking from the Coloniality of Language in Southern Educational Settings with Carolyn McKinney from The University of Cape Town. More info and registration here and PDF of flyer below.

Carolyn’s presentation will explore “the challenges of the coloniality of language as well as of describing languaging in education settings of the South. It will show how colonial language ideologies continue to exclude African language resources and multilingualism in African languages from formal education settings”.

3. News of a successful campaign to save the Hawaiian language from extinction 2,000 people spoke Hawaiian in 1983; 25,000 now speak it. Does Barack Obama, I wonder?

4. News of a similarly successful campaign to encourage the learning of the Towa language in New Mexico, including a photo of a rather fine butterfly dance which was made possible by a federal government decision in 2016 to allow language programs to teach in their native languages and no longer require English as a medium of instruction.

5. And, finally, today’s poem for Ukraine: Again, by Claudia Ferradas (PDF below.)



the texture of my grandfather’s land

is being torn apart.

Born Ukrainian,

he was Polish when he reached Argentine shores,

a refugee

with children and a wife

whose nationalities were a question mark.

I was born into a home that sounded like a symphony.

Ukrainian, Yiddish, German, Polish.

I could not tell one language from the other,

just knew that they all hurt.

We learnt to travel light,

always ready to pack and get away,

to wonder how much pain you could take with you,

respect silence, smell fear.

I did not dare ask questions

about the number burnt on Grandpa’s arm.

Memories bled.

Vodka tasted like metal on your temples.

We thought it was all past,

a past of wolves and snow,

but we can hear again the wild dogs howling.


Old Europe weaves its uncertain tapestry

murmuring excuses

as it cuts the thread of wasted generations,

and Grandpa is fighting in the streets again

under a different name,

aware that frontiers are as fluid

as the blood that thaws its way across the snow

only to reveal

the bones beneath.

Claudia Ferradas

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