Revitalising Indigenous Languages

How to Recreate a Lost Generation

By (author) Dr. Marja-Liisa Olthuis, Suvi Kivelä, Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas

Publication date:

23 January 2013

Length of book:

272 pages


Multilingual Matters



ISBN-13: 9781847698889

The book tells the story of the Indigenous Aanaar Saami language (around 350 speakers) and cultural revitalisation in Finland. It offers a new language revitalisation method that can be used with Indigenous and minority languages, especially in cases where the native language has been lost among people of a working age. The book gives practical examples as well as a theoretical frame of reference for how to plan, organise and implement an intensive language programme for adults who already have professional training. It is the first time that a process of revitalisation of a very small language has been systematically described from the beginning; it is a small-scale success story. The book finishes with self-reflection and cautious recommendations for Indigenous peoples and minorities who want to revive or revitalise their languages.

Mahalo nui loa to the authors of this important book! Ancestral languages are crucial components of healthy indigenous communities. Yet once a language is lost among childbearing adults, it seems impossible to gain it back again. Developing a resource of fluent second language speaking adults is the answer. This work tells how to reach that crucial step - and with very small languages. E ola nā ʻōlelo ʻōiwi a kākou!