My name is Nathan - kia ora from Aotearoa New Zealand!
I am seeking funding in order to undertake cutting edge PhD research at the University of Alberta, Canada, about the language beliefs and ambitions of young Maori and Sami indigenous people in New Zealand and Norway. I will be investigating what these youth envisage about the role of indigenous language in contemporary society and current policies and processes to revitalise their indigenous languages. This will help to better plan for the survival of these languages. My study starts on 1 September 2013, but is contingent on securing funding. I need to confirm my acceptance by 1 April 2013.
I am an Australian citizen in New Zealand, and Alberta is an ideal location for my research: not only is my superviser an expert in New Zealand studies and indigenous affairs, the university also offers expertise in Nordic studies through the Circumpolar institute. I have been offered a base package of $15,000 for two years (out of a four year programme) to get me going, but this doesn't meet my costs. I need support at least for the first year of the project to meet research and living costs, and so I can apply for further funding.
I am passionate about languages and ensuring we live in a linguistically diverse world! Indigenous language revitalisation is a common global concern, and both the Sami and Maori languages are in danger of disappearing as young indigenous people 'shift' to their country's majority language. This ultimately means indigenous people lose their language. This is of grave concern, because a language is a vehicle of identity, of culture, and of the story of human heritage. Knowing your own language is about knowing who you are in the world. Today, New Zealand and Norway operate similar language policies to revive and secure the vitality of indigenous languages - but despite these similar policies, the Sami languages are regenerating while Maori is slipping further through the cracks. We know that what communities believe about language, including its role in society, guides how, when, and why people use a language. What do Maori and Sami believe about language in contemporary New Zealand and Norway? What societal role do they want for their language? And what is, for Maori and Sami rather than for linguists, the ideal outcome of language revitalisation? How do Maori and Sami experiences compare and what lessons can be learned from both contexts? If youth are custodians of tomorrow's world, understanding their ambitions and desires is key to predicting the state of the world's linguistic diversity and making better policy.
I am a high achieving scholar with a perfect academic record for my Master's study, so I am well-placed to create innovative and quality research. However, I fall 'outside the box' when it comes to normal scholarship opportunities: I am Australian, so I don't qualify for most domestic funds in New Zealand or Canada as these are reserved for local citizens, and the few higly competitive funding rounds for international students closed before Alberta offered me this opportunity. I can apply for scholarships in a year, but that is long after I need to start the research in September 2013.
Your donation will contribute to important and responsible research with practical benefit to indigenous people in New Zealand and Norway. You will be helping to understand the language and cultural experience of people whose languages are in danger of dying so that we can stop language death and support linguistic diversity and effective language revival.
I appreciate your help!