Linguistics Colloquium: Yarden Kedar
Yarden Kedar, Beit Berl College
Title: Language, Identity and Motivation: A Jewish-Palestinian Bilingual Language Café in Jerusalem
The Good Neighbors – Abu Tor/Al-Thuri project is a grassroots, volunteer-based initiative which started in 2014 in order to promote a shared life approach and to build a joint community between Jews and Palestinians who live side by side in Abu Tor, a bi-national neighborhood, which is located on the seam between East and West Jerusalem. This unique project, which is extraordinary given the long geo-political and national conflict and the explosive daily tension between Arabs and Jews (in the region in general and in Jerusalem in particular) includes initiatives such as language courses in Arabic and in Hebrew; a Language Café; a women’s forum; a community organic garden; “Abu-Job” – a job placement project; a bilingual street library; and a variety of additional community events and festivities which are organized by and intended for Jerusalemites from both nationalities/cultures. In this study, we have focused on the Language Café, an authentic, bottom-up local initiative in which Jews and Palestinians actively teach and learn Hebrew and Arabic from each other. So far, more than 120 Jewish and Palestinian individuals have attended the Language Café.
This study attempts to explore the unique bilingual pedagogy which has evolved in the Language Café on one hand and the participants’ perceived language learning process and its outcomes (i.e., their motivations to learn the language of the other group, their attitudes towards learning situation and its potential outcomes, particularly sociocultural outcomes) on the other.
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