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Which Sardinian for education?


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Co-authored with Laura Vardeu. Presented at the CLOW2, Turin, May 2016.

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Which Sardinian for education?

  1. 1. Co-funded by the European Union Which Sardinian for education? A CLIL-based laboratory in a middle school in OroseiFederico Gobbo <> (Amsterdam / Milano-Bicocca / Torino) Laura Vardeu <> (Torino) CLOW2 Turin 5-6 May 2016
  2. 2. According to UNESCO, Sardinian is an endangered language. During the last two generations, the vitality and vigour of Limba (the Sardinian language) has gone drastically down: •Youngsters tend to abandon Sardinian when the literacy process towards Italian starts in school; •Italian has been increasingly invading the domains traditionally associated with the use of Sardinian (e.g. family, peers).
  3. 3. LIMBA SARDA COMUNA (LSC) is the official standard writing system of Limba used by the local government since 2006.
  4. 4. LSC: a contested standard Some of the epithets cast against the LSC by the local press: •‘plastic language’; •‘Frankenstein monster idiom’; •‘artificial language’.
  5. 5. 1) precise orthographic regularity but with a free lexicon; 2) the LSC orthography is a sort of common denominator of the Sardinian varieties and it uses only a graphic form apart from the phonosyntactic modifications of the spoken language. It was studied to cover all local varieties, e.g. : ['gatu] [' atu]ɣ gatu (‘cat’)
  6. 6. 3) it corresponds to the Mesania variety that is a natural meeting point between the different varieties, that have a lot of variation at phonetic and phonological level. The process of normalization of written Sardinian is not simple: the first model of written standard (LSU: Limba Sarda Unificada) was refused by the speakers because: a)it was modeled on the prestigious Logudorese variety b)it contemplated the standardization of lexicon and pronunciation.
  7. 7. Acquisition planning • Normally the school system in Sardinia is (still) essentially monolingual in Italian. • According to Skutnabb-Kangas, only strong models of multilingual schools obtain additive multilingualism in learners (e.g. immersion programmes for majorities). • Our CLIL-based laboratory is obviously limited, but it is also the first such laboratory using LSC in public schools in Sardinia, as far as we know.
  8. 8. The laboratory in Orosei • Research hypothesis: to test the use of the LSC as a written code in middle-school classrooms (possible refusal feelings). • Testing the hypothesis: using the LSC in a didactic field with lessons about the history of Sardinia from a Mediterranean and European perspective.
  9. 9. • Testing field: the CLIL method was used in 3 different classes at the secondary school «G.A. Muggianu» in Orosei (Nuoro). Research question: "Could the phonetic distance between the LSC and the Orosei local variety (between 13, 57% and 15, 53% ) be an obstacle to didactic aims? "
  10. 10. Methodology • Preparation of the didactic material in the LSC according to the students' competences and to the historical facts of the ministerial programme; • Sardinian history language laboratories (4 hours in each class): the Sardinian language was used both orally (local variety) and in written form (LSC, for the didactic material);
  11. 11. A specimen of the didactic materials Su giudicadu de Càlari, chi fiat cumpostu dae sos territòrios de su Sulcis e de s'Ogiastra, fiat su prus mannu e si basaiat subra sa messarìtzia; su rennu de Arborea, cun sos pranos mannos suos, fiat adatu a s'agricultura e a sa pastorìtzia. Su giudicadu de Torres fiat de importu pro su cummèrtziu: in su portu turritanu colaiant difatis sos produtos de s’internu de s’ìsula pro nche los leare a Còrsica e a Frantza; su de Gaddura, imbetzes, fiat adatu de prus a sa pastorìtzia. Istemmas de sos giudicados:
  12. 12. Research phases 1) Preliminary research to understand learners' linguistic and sociolinguistic background (sociolinguistic questionnaire); 2) elaboration and organization of the didactic materials; 3) effective phase in which LSC was used in the classroom; 4) follow up phase and evaluation to look into the students' reaction and satisfaction compared with the developed activity (evaluating questionnaire).
  13. 13. The population of the sociolinguistic research Classes→ Sex ↓ 3C 2B 1B TOT. Girls 4 7 6 17 Boys 8 9 13 30 TOT. 12 16 19 47 The sample was composed of 47 students of which 8 were foreigners:
  14. 14. The preliminary sociolinguistic research
  15. 15. Words and sentences translation
  16. 16. • Several semi-speakers; • strong lexical italianization with new generations; • boys tend to use Sardinian more frequently than girls; • at least a superficial knowledge of lexemes and sentences by foreign students. Preliminary observations
  17. 17. Observation on the didactic activity in the classroom • Sardinian native speaking students, with low marks at school, got better results, above their average. • Linguistic activation: many speakers, who had stated that they understood Sardinian but did not speak it, used Limba in a quite fluent and appropriate way.
  18. 18. Introducing the teaching of Sardinian at school would allow the systematization of linguistic input – to which students in the community context are exposed – and to turn it into output.
  19. 19. Observations on the evaluative questionnaire • Even though the final evaluative questionnaire was written in Italian, a lot of students chose to complete it in Sardinian: this is positive in terms of output; • for students who had at least a fairly good knowledge of Sardinian, the dichotomy between written and spoken was not an obstacle for their comprehension.
  20. 20. Final remarks • Successful pilot experiment: the spoken Sardinian language and LSC can be used to communicate disciplinary subjects; • don't consider learners' first language has a negative influence on their educational results; • no refusal feeling towards LSC, that also proved to be a valid instrument of metalinguistic reflection (e.g. comparison between Romance languages);
  21. 21. • Limba is seen as a symbolic function of identity and this was a very important factor in the laboratory. This pilot experiment shows that a concrete application of the LSC in schools is possible and desirable but it is important to consider that the competence and the use of the Sardinian language vary across the regional territory, with differences between urban and rural settings.
  22. 22. The standardization of the Sardinian language can’t only come from above but it is necessary to consider its end language users: •to test systematically the LSC in schools; •to extend the research in the South of Sardinia; possible southern student’s negative reactions, far from compromising the introduction of LSC at school, could be an opportunity to introduce some changes and to make the written language fit speakers’ needs.
  23. 23. Co-funded by the European Union Bos torro gràtzias pro s’atentzione! Thank you for your attention!