Source: Early Childhood Development – Intercultural Partnerships, Jessica Ball & Barbara Bernhardt, Principal Investigators
Summary: Project Background
Research involving Indigenous peoples outside of Canada emphasizes the influences of Indigenous language learning and cultural aspects of language socialization on English
conversational style and dialect. Dialect learning and features of language mediated interaction using varieties of the dominant language have implications for education, developmental assessment, early intervention, cultural preservation and justice issues. There is an emerging awareness that the heritage languages, language socialization, and cultures of Aboriginal peoples living in Canada influence the ways in which Aboriginal children and families use English, as well as their experiences within dominant culture institutions such as schools. As a group, Aboriginal children and youth have not been as successful as they could be in the school system. This may be because of a lack of appreciation by preschool and school teachers for conversational styles, preferences, and expectations surrounding the use of English by Aboriginal children and youth.
This exploratory project has successfully stimulated broader interest within the fields of
linguistics and education in the nature of Aboriginal English dialects, and has begun to raise awareness of the need to appreciate the language skills that Aboriginal children may possess although they may be using a variant of English not familiar to members of the dominant culture. The project has contributed a comprehensive review of the extant literature on Aboriginal English dialects, and has formulated some general principles and specific strategies for future researchers to engage this topic through language sampling and analysis.