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Child Language Acquisition Symposium for Indigenous Communities

The Indigenous Child Language Research Center (ICLRC) at the University of New Mexico is pleased to announce the first gathering of the Child Language Acquisition Symposium for Indigenous Communities (CLASIC). First language acquisition research is rarely done with Indigenous languages in the United States and Canada and is severely underrepresented in linguistic literature. However, groundbreaking work is being done by community members and some linguistic researchers on what studying Indigenous language acquisition can reveal about Indigenous language structure and methods of language transmission.

At CLASIC, we will allocate time for language nest representatives to present on panels to discuss various topics described below, such as language nest development, successes and challenges, and their future plans. Parents and families of children in language nests are an important aspect of language learning. Therefore, time will also be allocated for them to discuss various topics described below, such as the reasons they chose to enroll their children in a language nest, benefits and challenges they have encountered, and their roles are in supporting language nests. Finally, we will allocate time for linguistic researchers to present on their research in the field of first language acquisition of Indigenous languages and child-directed speech by Indigenous caretakers used within an immersive setting.

CLASIC will provide a forum for all members of the language acquisition community to discuss and share experiences and challenges in passing language down to children. Throughout CLASIC, we will provide space for these groups to have important discussions of how first language acquisition research and language revitalization among very young children can be mutually beneficial. Our aim in bringing these groups together is to work towards building positive relationships based on respect between researchers and communities. We hope that CLASIC sparks interest among communities in the area of first language acquisition research so that in the future we will see more Indigenous people doing this important work.