21 March 2023

Current trends in the documentation and revitalization of Abui: Challenges and best practices

The next meeting in the seminar series of the Center for Research and Practice in Cultural Continuity

“Decolonizing approaches to studying history and linguistic-cultural heritage. Methods, tools, results and challenges”

will take place on

March 22nd, 2023 at 16:45 CET.

In this talk, I present some of the current documentation and revitalization efforts among the Abui people of eastern Indonesia as well evaluating some of the challenges and best practices that have arisen along the way. The speakers of the Abui language of eastern Indonesia are shifting to the national language Indonesian. This is characteristic of hundreds of languages in eastern Indonesia, where there is little government support for indigenous languages. For the last twenty years, there have been a number of community-based documentation and revitalization efforts which include tangible (digital) media, such as children’s books, documentaries, a dictionary, a YouTube channel as well as efforts to introduce the language in school curricula. In addition, this has also resulted in a number of study abroad opportunities for several Abui people. While many of these outcomes have yielded success, they have also caused a fair amount of internal conflict. In this talk, I lay out some these developments and discuss their impact on various stakeholders. In doing so, I also critically evaluate some of these methods, highlighting some of the main challenges, and opening the floor to discussion on best practices.

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