Friday, September 22, 2017

Recognition and support for languages and language learning in Canberra

On 15 September 2017, MLAs from all parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly spoke about the importance of languages, language learning, language maintenance and, in the case of indigenous languages, language revitalisation. The following was agreed to:

That this Assembly:
1. notes:
  • in 1999, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proclaimed annual observance of International Mother Language Day on 21 February;
  • that about 170 languages are spoken in Canberra;
  • the significance of preserving Indigenous languages as a link to Indigenous culture and histories and as an expression of identity;
  • the place of language instruction in government and non-government schools and in other organisations such as the 40 community language schools in the ACT;
  • the social, cultural and economic benefits of multi-lingualism to the ACT and Australia; and
  • that the Government’s ACT Languages Policy encourages the learning of a language other than English, and 
2. calls on the ACT government to observe International Mother Language Day in the ACT to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by the people around the world, especially those in Canberra, through:
  • establishing collections and displays, sometimes called an “Ekushey Corner”, at ACT Libraries to promote and protect mother languages;
  • promoting the active participation, revitalisation and maintenance of local Indigenous languages;
  • exploring options to support the construction ofa monument in Canberra dedicated to the mother languages of Australians;
  • continuing the ACT Heritage Library’s collection of oral history as a means of preserving the multi-lingual inheritance of the ACT; and
  • supporting second language instruction in schools.
For full transcript of supporting speeches and discussion see: http://actbilingual.weebly.com/uploads/4/4/9/1/4491774/mother_tongue_motion_act_la_13_september_2017.pdf



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