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  • bisharat_dot_net
    Welcome! A number of factors in personal and professional life prompt me to start this group as a hopefully constructive response to the recently declared UN
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 30, 2003
      Welcome! A number of factors in personal and professional life
      prompt me to start this group as a hopefully constructive response to
      the recently declared UN Literacy Decade. The question of "which
      language(s)" often seems to be omitted from discussion of improving
      literacy, although on a local level in a multilingual society the
      issue becomes (or should become) immediately apparent.

      To its credit, this UN effort pays more explicit attention to this,
      and more broadly to "literacies." But what will this mean in practice
      in a time when many languages are progressively impoverished while
      others disappear?

      This forum is intended to facilitate exchange of information,
      thoughts and experience on this topic.

      Don Osborn
      Bisharat.net
    • Don Osborn
      One of the hopes I have for this e-group is that it can serve as a forum for sharing practical and personal perspectives on literacy in multilingual societies
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 22, 2003
        One of the hopes I have for this e-group is that it can serve as a
        forum for sharing practical and personal perspectives on literacy in
        multilingual societies and professional and academic discussion on
        multilingual literacy in general.

        On the personal side, it may be useful for each member to introduce
        her/himself with some info on what their interest or activities are
        relating to multilingual literacy.

        Personally, I am not an expert in any way in literacy, but as someone
        who has studied and works in international development, it is a
        subject and activity that I have discussed and observed. My work and
        studies have also taken me to multilingual societies and my wife's
        maternal language is different than mine (our son speaks both).

        A couple of things in particular come to mind when I think of what
        has gotten me interested in this area. First was in Togo some years
        ago when I showed a book in Ewe to a native Ewe-speaking friend who
        had had a significant amount of schooling (in French), and he had to
        sound out the words - aloud - to understand text written in his first
        language.

        The second was learning that smallholder farmers in the cotton belt
        of Mali had organized a farmers' union using literacy skills in
        Bambara - a totally unexpected outcome of years of literacy efforts,
        but one that could only have come about in that place and time in
        that language.

        These and other experiences have brought me to realize that literacy
        in one language is not necessarily literacy in others, and that lack
        of efforts to expand literacy in certain languages may limit people's
        potential to learn, act, and create.

        Currently I coordinate Bisharat, an initiative for networking and
        information on African languages, ICT and rural development, and I
        thought it timely at this beginning of the U.N. literacy decade to
        try to do something to increase dialogue on what literacy efforts
        can, will and should mean for multilingual societies and the often
        polyglot individuals in them.

        Don Osborn
        Bisharat.net

        --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "bisharat_dot_net"
        <dzo@b...> wrote:
        > Welcome! A number of factors in personal and professional life
        > prompt me to start this group as a hopefully constructive response
        to
        > the recently declared UN Literacy Decade. The question of "which
        > language(s)" often seems to be omitted from discussion of improving
        > literacy, although on a local level in a multilingual society the
        > issue becomes (or should become) immediately apparent.
        >
        > To its credit, this UN effort pays more explicit attention to this,
        > and more broadly to "literacies." But what will this mean in
        practice
        > in a time when many languages are progressively impoverished while
        > others disappear?
        >
        > This forum is intended to facilitate exchange of information,
        > thoughts and experience on this topic.
        >
        > Don Osborn
        > Bisharat.net
      • Andrew Cunningham
        Hi everyone, ... Following Don s lead, I ll briefly introduce myself. My name is Andrew Cunningham, I work for the State Library of Victoria (Australia) and my
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 22, 2003
          Hi everyone,

          Don Osborn wrote:
          > On the personal side, it may be useful for each member to introduce
          > her/himself with some info on what their interest or activities are
          > relating to multilingual literacy.

          Following Don's lead, I'll briefly introduce myself.

          My name is Andrew Cunningham, I work for the State Library of Victoria
          (Australia) and my job focuses on electronic multicultural library
          services and multilingual IT support of public libraries and ethnic
          community organisations within our state.

          On the personal side, I'm an English speaker and my partner is
          Vietnamese. I live in an ethnically and linguistically diverse suburb.

          My main interests revolve around the use of technology, the internet,
          and community networking as tools for language maintenance within
          immigrant and refugee communities. Both from a professional level (as a
          part of my job) and on a personal level, since many of my friends are
          immigrants or refugees.

          Additionally, I'm also interested in the development of web sites for
          the dispersal of information and literacy resources within the home
          country and across a diaspora. There are a couple of projects under
          development locally focusing on literacy issues and resources for the
          some Southern Sudanese languages.


          Andrew
        • Don Osborn
          Thanks, Andrew, and welcome. I look forward to hearing from others on the group... Don Osborn Bisharat.net ... introduce ... are ... [ . . . ]
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 25, 2003
            Thanks, Andrew, and welcome. I look forward to hearing from others
            on the group...

            Don Osborn
            Bisharat.net

            --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Cunningham
            <andrewc@v...> wrote:
            > Hi everyone,
            >
            > Don Osborn wrote:
            > > On the personal side, it may be useful for each member to
            introduce
            > > her/himself with some info on what their interest or activities
            are
            > > relating to multilingual literacy.
            >
            > Following Don's lead, I'll briefly introduce myself.
            >
            [ . . . ]
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