Survival of African Languages at stake

The African Languages Association of Southern Africa (ALASA) and the Faculty of Human Sciences of NUST, in collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNAM, are jointly organising the annual ALASA Conference which will take place in Windhoek from 29 June to 1 July 2016.

This year the conference will be held under the theme ‘Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Empowerment of African Languages in the 21st Century.’ This is the first time that the conference will take place in Namibia.

The United Nations estimates that, if nothing is done, more than 3 000 languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century. With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth, but also important indigenous knowledge. The purpose of the conference is to attract scholars, and a cohort of established and emerging researchers will gather in one assembly to deliberate on topics related to African languages which are under threat.

Dr Niklaas Fredericks, Head of the Department of Communication at NUST, appealed to experts in the fields of languages, technology and culture to attend the ALASA conference. “We intend to cover a variety of sub-themes, such as the use of technology in teaching of African languages and terminology development,” Fredericks said.

Dr Rewai Makamani, Deputy Head of the Department, stressed that the idea is to arouse interest to strategically position the mother-tongue to be on par with official languages such as English and to ensure that African languages do not become extinct in this information period.

More than 150 proposals for paper presentations have already been submitted by local and international researchers. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the organiser, Dr Makamani, in the Department of Communication at NUST for more details. He may be contacted at: rmakamani@nust.na or telephone (061) 207 2688.

Date: 
Friday, May 13, 2016
for Month: 
May, 2016

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