Robert H Barbour and Te Taka Keegan
The survival LCTLs may depend on extending them to accommodate
Information Technologies. Techniques for doing so through teaching courses
in technology using a LCTL are described. The process of developing an
appropriate pedagogy is discussed with reference to introductory computer
science courses in the Mäori language. The global context of indigenous
languages in relation to Information Technology is briefly considered.
Suggestions are made for further work.
The Mäori language has been marginalised in the New Zealand education
system. Young people were not taught Mäori so that number of Mäori speakers
declined to the point at which the language was under threat.
Bilingual Units (where Mäori is used for instruction in some
subjects) and Kura Kaupapa Mäori (Mäori immersion schools operating under
Mäori customs and values) were established as part of a cultural
renaissance during the last ten years.
In 1990 a proposal was advanced for a Programme in Mäori within the
Bachelor of Arts Degree called Te Tohu Paetahi in which the medium of
instruction was to be the Mäori Language. Other disciplines were asked to
support the initiative by offering subjects taught in the medium of the
In the early 1990s the Computer Science Department rewrote the
introductory course on personal computers, assigning it a new course
number, 0657.113, and calling it Computer Applications.
In the summer break of 1992/1993 the School of Computing and
Mathematical Sciences paid two Masters students to translate the work
manual of the Introduction to Computer Science Course, 0675.113, from
English into Mäori.
The 1993 course was retaught in 1994, with the structure and grading
of the course remaining constant, the difficulties were worked through and
in almost all cases course objectives were met.
In 1995, due to semesterisation, the Computer Science Dept. decided
to alter its delivery of first level computer science courses. New Course
manuals were required to support the changed curriculum.
It was initially envisaged that the Manual "He Kawenga Rorohiko"
would be written from a revision of the manual "Ngä Tautono Rorohiko".
However the task was greater than expected since 103 involved programming
concepts while 113 was confined to computer applications.
In the summer of 1995/1996 two students worked on the translation of
practical assignments for the course 0657.123 He Tomokanga ki te Ao
Rorohiko. This course successfully provides for students seeking
technology education in a heritage language.
The scale of the global problem of western hegemony in information
technology is such that very special efforts supported by special pleading
will be required to ensure the survival of LTCLs.
Placing an indigenous student into an environment that is totally
foreign to them, isolating them from other students of a similar
background, teaching them using a pedagogy based in a different culture and
then expecting them to pass well is unrealistic, no matter what subject is
Providing technology courses in heritage languages promotes language
preservation by expanding the vocabulary required to support communication a
bout the technology. We are also concerned that the communication process
between cultures be facilitated. But, we see the problem as being of much
less significance than the survival of particular languages and cultures.
New techniques in the internationalisation of application programs should
serve to ensure LTCLs survive and enhance communication between
This development was made possible through the foresight and support
of the Dean of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Ian Graham,
Kia ora Ian.
Benton, R.A. (1991) The Mäori Language: Dying or Reviving? Honolulu
East West Centre Association.
- 0657.113: Computer Applications 1993 Course Manual, University of
Waikato, Hamilton New
- 0657.123: The Computing Experience 1995 Course Manual, University
of Waikato, Hamilton