Learning about, learning from, learning with – Towards a critical practice and theory of situated language sciences
Silva Sinha V., Sinha C., Da Silva Sinha V.
Our aim in this chapter is to critically examine the sciences of language as practices/theories in a complex of inter-related social, cultural, political and ideological ecologies. The specific topic around which we try to disentangle and illuminate this web of practice/theory is the study of endangered (especially, Indigenous minority) languages and cultures. The motivation for this exploration is our conviction that understanding languages as ecological phenomena necessitates a reflexive, deconstructive examination of the presuppositions underlying conventional answers to two key questions: “what is [a] language?” and “how do languages articulate their ecological grounding?”. The plural notion of “situated language sciences” implicates, simultaneously, the ecology of scientific practices/theories, and the ecology of social and cultural practices embedding languaging. 1 In respect of both these perspectives, our interrogation is ontological: we want to understand what language sciences are about—that is, what do language sciences set up and analyse as their objects, and in what kinds of worlds are practices of languaging ecologically enmeshed?