Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)


Kendall A. King


Thousands of individuals in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere are currently endeavoring to learn highly endangered, Indigenous languages, most laboring under conditions that are radically different from the majority of world language learners. These learning contexts are defined not only by shortages of materials, limited domains of use, few proficient speakers, and wide dialectal variation, but by histories of colonialism, racism, and oppression. To date, there has been relatively limited interaction between applied linguistics scholarship on language learning on the one hand, and Indigenous language education on the other. Concomitantly, despite massive worldwide demographic shifts of recent decades, applied linguists still know relatively little about simultaneous additional language and initial literacy learning among students with interrupted or limited formal schooling. Yet, these students are among the fastest growing populations in many U.S. districts and elsewhere. Drawing on the roots and four decades of scholarship in Educational Linguistics as a field, and five years of studies in Minnesota (home to thousands of Ojibwe and ten of thousands of Somali youth), this presentation argues that deep consideration of contexts and learners such as these is productive for the development of a robust field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics more broadly.