Beyond Contrastive Analysis And Codeswitching: Student Documentary Filmmaking As A Challenge To Linguicism In Hawai'i

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Higgins, Christina; Nettell, Richard; Furukawa, Gavin; Sakoda, Kent
Linguistics and Education
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01-12-2015 2:55 PM
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This article discusses a documentary film project produced by high school students in Hawai'i that investigated the value of Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole) in schools and society, and which ultimately aimed to address the problem of linguicism ( Skutnabb-Kangas, 1990). The project was carried out within a critical language awareness framework that treated students as knowledge producers and which provided them with the opportunity to use their own communities and languages as repositories of knowledge and as sites for learning about the relationship between language and society. Through exploring the meanings and values of their language, the students produced a documentary that ended up challenging many of their own assumptions about Pidgin, and which revealed the importance of translingual practices ( Pennycook, 2007). This article draws on material from the documentary and interviews with the students to illustrate how the students' views towards Pidgin changed during the course of the project, with a particular focus on the language's legitimacy. The results suggest that a students-as-knowledge-producers approach may offer more potential to challenge linguicism than many contrastive analysis approaches currently being used. By treating non-mainstream languages as subject matter in their own right, without reference or comparison to the dominant language, we argue that these languages earn more respect and acknowledgment in school settings and beyond.
Native American and Alaska Native Children
Heritage and Indigenous Language Programs
Family and Community Involvement