Who’s reading who? Surveying the languages of research in Timor-Leste education
Marie Quinn University of Technology Sydney (UTS), AUSTRALIA
Scholarship into all facets of life in Timor-Leste have been studied extensively by researchers from around the world and from Timor-Leste, with the majority of work appearing in Portuguese or English, and only few publications – e.g. TLSA proceedings, the journal Dialogos – maintaining a multilingual policy. Globally, the prevalence of English-speaking journals has the effect of silencing some (non-English) voices (Curry & Lillis, 2004) and even in the area of language teaching, Liddicoat (2016) found most researchers writing about multilingualism read and write monolingually. The Portuguese philosopher Boaventura de Sousa Santos warns us that drawing only from one source of knowledge privileges particular ways of seeing the world, “obliterando outras formas de conhecimento [obliterating other forms of knowledge]” (Santos, Menses & Nunes, 2006, p. 20). As researchers, are we seeing the whole picture if we stay within one language?
This presentation showcases some initial work into the languages of research in the context of education and language in Timor-Leste, where Portuguese-speaking and English-speaking researchers regularly ignore each other and consequently re-create research with little idea of what the other “camp” is doing. This has led to a number of consequences, unhelpful for the “academy” of researchers: the perpetration of particular myths around education; and, the “discovery” of findings already “found” in another language. The presentation proposes some ideas around solutions to the dual-monolingualism of Timorese research field.