About this talk
Writing is the modality perhaps most associated with language reification, language separability and strong normativity – at least in most Global North standard language cultures. However, world regions with longstanding multilingualism have maintained grassroots writing cultures more suitable to these ecologies. In this talk, I report on the LILIEMA programme, a language-independent literacy programme running in southern Senegal. I demonstrate how LILIEMA adheres to the design principles of existing grassroot literacies in this area, which are based on transferring the sound-grapheme association rules of a focal language of literacy to the writing of entire repertoires. I illustrate how this method permits both language-based writing, i.e. writing with the pragmatic intention to write a language and language-independent writing; i.e. writing with a focus on contextually appropriate choice of semiotic tools. Finally, I shed light on how the teaching materials and classroom discussion enable participants and teachers to uncover scalar and perspectival processes regarding the categorisation of speech forms.
Friederike Lüpke is Professor of African Studies at the University of Helsinki and a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. She is chair of AfriStadi, the Africa Research Forum in Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Helsinki. Her research on rural multilingualism in Senegal has been central for the emerging inter- and multidisciplinary field of small-scale multilingualism studies. Multilingualism is not only a focal area of her research. What makes sustainable multilingual ecologies and how they can be nurtured in families, small-scale settings, and international higher education environments is a question that underpins her teaching, language learning (currently of Finnish), and interaction at the university and beyond.
April 28, 2022
7:00-8:15 PM HST