4. Cultural linguistics and bidialectal education

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Many Australian Aboriginal school students use Aboriginal English in home and community contexts. This dialect differs from the Standard Australian English of the school system in linguistic form and conceptual basis. Cultural linguistics provides a means of analysing the conceptual differences that distinguish the two Englishes, thus leading towards a culturally inclusive form of teacher preparation (“two-way bidialectal” education) which is bringing about more successful teaching of Aboriginal students. This chapter outlines the use of the concepts of category, schema and metaphor in analysing distinctive features of Aboriginal English and it describes the three main phases of two-way bidialectal education: awareness raising, easing the transition to the “standard” dialect and cultivating alternative ways of approaching experience and knowledge.


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