Latin America Solidarity Centre

Indigenous Languages

AIM

For students to develop an awareness of the many languages in Latin America, and develop their language awareness skills by comparing and contrasting two different foreign languages.

MATERIALS

Facilities to play a video.

Video:

Worksheet with crossword.

Crossword answers.

Worksheet with weekly routine.

Routine reading.

LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM

Senior Cycle:

I. Basic Communicative Proficiency 10,

II. Language Awareness, 1, 2, 5,

III. Cultural Awareness, 3, 5

METHODOLOGY

Tell students that one result of colonialism is that the names of places are changed. For example tell them that America used to be called Turtle Island by some indigenous tribes before Europeans discovered it. Some indigenous peoples believed that the world was all on the back of a turtle. Europeans changed the name to America after an Italian explorer called Amerigo Vespucci. Ask them to guess where Columbia got its name.

Ask students to try to think of any places in Ireland that had their names changed by the British.

E.g. Baile Átha Cliath – Dublin

Corcaigh – Cork

Show the picture of the Derry/Londonderry sign – ask them why they think the word London was erased?

Explain to students that, just like in Spain, there are many languages in Latin America besides Spanish, that come from before Spanish and Portuguese people came to Latin America. Give some examples – Tzotzil and Nauhatl in Mexico, Guarani in Brazil, Quechua in Peru.

Tell students they are going to learn a few words of Quechua – the days of the week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1rVbqkLgmI After watching the video students are given the crossword to fill out. After filling it out, students share their answers. Nominate students to give you the correct answers.

Next, give students a copy of your timetable. Say a few sentences in Spanish. Students have to match the activity with the correct day.

Explain to students that some languages in Latin America are in danger of extinction. Tell them one language dies every 14 days.

Ask them to think about these questions in groups:

  • Why are languages dying? ¿Por qué se están muriendo las idiomas?
  • Ask them if they think languages should be protected, and to justify their reasons for their opinions.
  • ¿Deberían ser protegidas las idiomas en peligro? ¿Por qué? ¿Cómo se las podemos proteger?

Ask them to work in groups to brainstorm ways to protect dying languages.

CONNECTIONS WITH IRELAND AND TAKING ACTION

Ask students to look at demands for language rights as human rights in the North of Ireland, and the grassroots movements demanding it – An Dream Dearg for one. Tell them to check out the hashtags #AchtAnois and #DeargLeFearg. What do the hashtags mean? What are people looking for and why are they angry?

Why was the ‘curry my yoghurt’ jibe made by a DUP politician offensive to some Irish-speakers?

Do they think Irish should be compulsory in schools? Why/not? ¿El irlandés debería ser obligatorio en las escuelas en Irlanda? ¿Por qué/ por qué no?