Colloquium 2016


LANGUAGES OF GUYANA: Theory, Policy & Practice – in Education and Beyond

Hosted by The Department of Language & Cultural Studies, Faculty of Education & the Humanities, University of Guyana.

Organised by Charlene Wilkinson for the Department of Language and Cultural Studies and the Informal Working Group for the Guyanese Languages Unit

WHEN IS IT? 10-11 August 2016

Day one:

8.00am: Registration on the door. NB: Online pre-registration is advised

8.30am: Introductions

9.00am: Keynote speaker

4.30pm: Closing

Day two:

8.30am: Starting time

4.30pm: Closing

WHERE IS IT? The University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus

WHAT IS IT? A series of panels and break-out sessions to take place over two days, aimed at public education and public participation in deliberations about the origin of our languages, language use, language attitudes, language documentation and preservation in Guyana. Specially invited presenters, all experts in their field will enlighten the audience on the scientific, philosophical, social and political issues under the sub-themes: Theory, Policy and Practice. The themes are not by any means mutually exclusive.

WHO IS IT FOR? The general public; the entire university community, the education system, entrepreneurs, cultural leaders, political leaders etc – in short, the nation at large.

WHY? To situate the University of Guyana in the larger institutional context and raise public consciousness about language issues.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? GY$1,000 (including lunch), FREE for students on presentation of ID





Specific Objectives: Essentially, Guyana’s foremost linguists and other skilled professionals, will provide public education and initiate discussion in a public forum about:

  • The importance of public participation in matters of language policy and language rights
  • The implications of colonial deficit perspectives and the multilingual difference perspectives that have replaced the former.
  • The Charter on Language Policy and Language Rights in the Creole Speaking Caribbean
  • The importance of Guyana’s signature to the Charter
  • Current language practices and language attitudes in education, the public services (e.g., security, law, health), the media, business and advertising
  • Desirable language practices in the above mentioned spheres
  • The International Centre for Caribbean Language Research
  • The proposal to launch a Guyanese Languages Unit at UG



  • Description and documentation Creolese Language and Tradition, the Structure of Creolese,
  • Language Variation in Creolese, Education, Creolese language, Guyanese Culture and National
  • Development


  • Preservation, Description and documentation, Education, Guyanese Culture and National
  • Development


  • Description and documentation, Education


  • Guyanese Languages and National Development, Guyanese Languages as Cultural Capital
  • Pedagogical Principles and Language/s education – in school and out of school
  • Guyanese Languages in the Media


Towards a National Commission on Language Policy, Public Education, Schooling, Government’s Role

Expected Outcomes: An action plan for language policy formulation and implementation in Guyana