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

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Taylor-Leech, Kerry. 2008. "An impartial observer or an impassioned advocate? Researching language policy in East Timor." Linguistics Research Seminar Series 2008. Sydney, Australia 31 Mar 2008 Sydney, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

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

Presentation TypePresentation
Authors
AuthorTaylor-Leech, Kerry
Journal or Proceedings TitleLinguistics Research Seminar Series 2008
Year2008
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.ling.mq.edu.au/research/seminars_2008/Kerry%20Taylor-Leech.pdf
Conference/EventLinguistics Research Seminar Series 2008
Event Details
Linguistics Research Seminar Series 2008
Event Date
31 Mar 2008
Event Location
Sydney, Australia
Abstract

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.

Keywordslanguage policy; social responsibility; linguists; Timor-Leste
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440709. Public policy
470401. Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
440105. Linguistic anthropology
Public Notes

Abstract only held.

Byline AffiliationsMacquarie University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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