An impartial observer or an impassioned advocate? Researching language policy in East Timor

Taylor-Leech, Kerry (2008) An impartial observer or an impassioned advocate? Researching language policy in East Timor. In: Linguistics Research Seminar Series 2008, 31 Mar 2008, Sydney, Australia.

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In this presentation I draw on my experiences of researching language policy and planning in East Timor. An interweaving theme is the challenge of maintaining an
objective stance in a situation where language politics are fraught with contradictions and conflicting interests. The East Timorese language ecology is the product of the
experiences of Portuguese colonialism and Indonesian occupation. The National Constitution of 2002 declared Portuguese (the former colonial language) and Tetum (the
indigenous lingua franca) to be co-official. English (the language of the UN and the aid industry) and Indonesian (the language of integrasi or integration with Indonesia) were declared working languages 'for as long as is deemed necessary.' The vernacular languages were declared national languages, 'to be protected and promoted by the State'.
With regards to language policy, East Timor is obliged to find a path through the wider political ideologies represented by Portuguese, Indonesian and English. How East Timor strikes a balance between these ideologies will have important consequences for its indigenous languages. Against the background of my research findings from semistructured interviews and focus groups, I pose the question of how the researcher also must strike a balance between the role of an impartial observer of the politics of language reform and an impassioned advocate of linguistic and cultural diversity.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Lecture)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract only held.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2011 03:01
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: language policy; social responsibility; linguists; Timor-Leste
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160103 Linguistic Anthropology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy

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