Improving Local Language Education in Eritrea through Corpus Based Study

Author: Yonas Mesfun Asfaha (Asmara College of Education, Eritrea)
Speaker: Yonas Mesfun Asfaha
Topic: Applied Sociolinguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


In a mother tongue education policy, elementary level education in Eritrea is provided using all the nine languages in the country as a medium of instruction. One of the challenges this policy is facing is the lack of standardization and research on these languages. Tigrinya is one of the nine languages and spoken by around 50 percent of the population and one of the languages with relatively longer history of written texts and use in schools (it was first used in schools in the 1940s). But little research has been conducted on the language. One of the challenges this absence creates is the irrelevance of media for socializing the language community into the language. The study aims to use the instruments of book leveling and print corpus analysis, developed in the TalkTogether projec. The paper discusses the methods through which these communities are socialized into the language, and the ways in which to increase the efficiency of this socialization, both within informal and through formal means.

Keywords: Language diversity, mother tongue education, standardization, Eritrea, age of acquisition, print corpus, curriculum revisions.