Seminar “Rapping… Relocating the creative power of languages”

The Linguapax delegate for Europe based in Newcastle (UK), Josep Cru, as a partner of the European project CRIC on “Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal” at a conference held in Playa Ancha University in Chile.

Here is a reproduction of the article posted by UPLA on their website:

Music as a vehicle for revitalising ancestral languages

“Listen to our conversation. We all say do not be ashamed, wake up your heart. Speak mapudungun !! “, says the background song that welcomes us at the seminar on” Rapping… relocating the creative power of languages “, held at the University of Playa Ancha

We don’t understand the lyrics because in Chile  ancestral languages are not part of the curriculum of school formation, yet it is there where with their music the young people have made them resurface.

The activity was carried out in the framework of the European project financed by the European Union, entitled Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal  (CRIC), in which UPLA is involved, with the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr. Felip Gascón i Martin, and the researcher of the Center for Advanced Studies, Dr. María Angélica Oliva, as part of the Chilean team, together with the Universidad de la Frontera, and Universidad Austral.

This is a research and internationalisation initiative on the cultural narratives of renewal and crisis. There are four European and six Latin American universities involved, with a total of 40 researchers. Since 2016 and for 4 years, we will generate a large global research network, “said Dr. Oliva.

During the seminar, the expert on linguistic diversity at the University of Newcastle, with an extensive experience in Europe and Latin America, Dr. Josep Cru Talaveron, referred to “Bilingual Rap: strategic uses for the revitalisation of native languages.”

Rap and hip hop

In his lecture Dr. Cru presented the situation of indigenous languages in Latin America and  language policy and planning in different countries.

He gave an overview of the languages spoken in Chile, and then delved into how young people are re-appropriating indigenous languages. Many of them did not speak the original language, because they did not receive it as a legacy from their parents because of stigma or racism, explained the researcher from Newcastle.

He maintained that “thanks to music these languages are resurfacing, for example, through hip hop and rap, to reappropriate an ethnic identity. Young people then begin to use languages as an artistic and revitalising instrument. “

He underlined that much more emphasis should be given to people as agents of language policy. “Institutional policies fail in many cases. Although there is bilingual intercultural education policy in most Latin American countries, including Chile, all these institutional policies are symbolic, they do not really reach young people to encourage them to use ancestral languages. “

It is through music, in a playful and artistic way, that young people are revitalising and revaluing the ancestral languages, “not from what comes from above, from the State, but from what comes from the grass-roots, from what comes out of the people, “concluded Cru.

A workshop session followed the conference to reflect upon the issue.