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Challenges in Indigenous Language Education: The Brunei Experience

  • Noor Azam Haji-OthmanEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Asia in Transition book series (AT, volume 4)

Abstract

In August 2010 the Language Centre, Universiti Brunei Darussalam took the unprecedented step of introducing modules in Tutong and Dusun, two unwritten traditional languages of distinct indigenous ethnic groups in Brunei. This chapter outlines the challenges faced by the centre in bringing these dying languages into the classroom, defying the official position of the Ministry of Education on teaching indigenous languages, and succeeding in (re)introducing the languages to a new generation of young Bruneians who never had the chance to learn the languages from their parents. No one had ever imagined these languages—that have traditionally only been spoken and have no ‘teachable standard’—would one day form part of a university minor degree programme. Today the classes continue to receive a steady stream of students every semester. This discussion shows how this was achieved mainly through the persistence of linguistic staff who saw merit in formally teaching these languages but also knew the administrative and pedagogical challenges would be onerous.

Keywords

Brunei Universiti Brunei Darussalam Language education Tutong 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiti Brunei DarussalamBandar Seri BegawanBrunei Darussalam

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