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Multilingualism Rights And Policy

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  • 1. Multilingualism: rights and policy
  • 2. English
    English is the official language of the United Kingdom and is spoken by around 400 million people around the world.
  • 3. Welsh
    • Modern Welsh is the direct descendant of the Celtic language that was spoken throughout Britain at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions in the 5th century.
    • 4. The Welsh Language Act 1993 establishes in law the equality of the Welsh and English languages in Wales. It places an obligation on the public sector to treat the Welsh and English languages equally in the provision of services to the public in Wales.
    • 5. According to the 2001 census results, 582,368 people aged three and over were able to speak Welsh - 20.8 per cent of the population of Wales.
    • 6. The Welsh Language Board's (Bwrdd yr IaithGymraeg) main function is to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language. It provides a range of information about Welsh.
  • Gaelic in Scotland
    The 2001 census recorded 65,674 people aged three or over as being able to speak, read or write Gaelic - 1.3 per cent of the Scottish population.
    The Scottish Government provides information in Gaelic.
  • 7. Cornish
    Since 2002, Cornish has been recognised as a minority language by the UK government, under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Charter protects and promotes historical regional and minority languages in Europe, in recognition of the contribution they make to Europe's cultural diversity and historical traditions, and to limit the danger of extinction.
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/LivingintheUK/DG_10012519
  • 8. And the others?
    What are we talking about when we refer to multilingual language rights?
    Do you have a right to speak your native language?
    Do you have a right to be educated in that language?
    What’s at stake in issues of language rights?
    Where do you get those rights from?
  • 9. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007, UN)
    Three articles pertain to language:
     
    Article 13
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
     
    Article 16
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
  • 10. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2
    Article 14
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
    2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
    3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.
  • 11. US Commissioner of Indian Affairs for Alaska in 1886,
    justifying the introduction of schools
    to Inuit & American Indians:
     
    They [Native Americans] must abandon tribal relations;
    they must give up their superstitions;
    they must forsake their savage habits and learn the arts of civilization;
    they must learn to labor,
    and must learn to rear their families as white people do,
    and know more of their obligations to the Government and society
    (Darnell & Hoem, 1996:62).
  • 12.                                                                   
  • 13.                                                               
  • 14. Edward Piwas, (Innu elder and hunter) Utshimassit
    There will be no fish, caribou, ducks, geese at Emish [Kaupiskatish-shipis] after the mining starts.
    The bear is different. The bear is like the whiteman, but he can’t live with them in the winter. He will walk around in the Emish camp. He will eat at the whiteman’s table because the Akanishau has killed the fish in the river.
    The white people will keep the baby animals for pets and these animals will starve - they will not know how to hunt for themselves. Take for example the goose that was seen at Black Ash. It was lost and didn’t know its migration route.
    Even the moose - he is the brother of the Akanishau. He will walk on the streets of Emish with a tie. The Akanishau has three friends - bear, moose and raven, but he can’t be friends with the squirrel because it steals from them.
    The smog from the milling plant will kill the plants and animals. And it will float into our community. We will not see the smog - it will slowly kill the animals and us.
    They will probably not just drill in one place - they will drill all around us. The wildlife officer will know when he can’t find any animals. He will blame us for the lack of them but he will not think about the drilling.
     (Innu Nation, 1996a:38)
     
  • 15. The white man takes such things as words and literatures for granted, as indeed he must, for nothing in his world is so common-place. On every side of him there are words by the millions, an unending succession of pamphlets and papers, letters and books, bills and bulletins, commentaries and conversations. He has diluted and multiplied the Word, and words have begun to close in upon him. He is sated and insensitive; his regard for language – for the Word itself – has diminished nearly to the point of no return. It may be that he will perish by the Word.
    N. Scott Momaday
    House Made of Dawn
  • 16. 3-600 languages left in 2100?
    Optimistic estimates
    50% of today’s spoken
    languages may be
    extinct or seriously
    endangered in 2100
    Pessimistic but
    realistic estimates
    90-95% may be extinct
    or seriously
    endangered in 2100
  • 17. What then is language policy?
    Planned interventions pronounced and implemented by states, supported/enforced by law
    Nearly always in multi-lingual/-cultural ecologies
    Policies compare/evaluate language status/function and differentially impact the varieties they recognize
    As well as those that were left out for whatever reasons
    Necessarily reflect power relations among groups
    Various political & economic interests – internal & external
    Latter include (ex-)colonial powers, international business concerns, neighbour states, politically aligned groups, etc.
  • 18. Examples of official Language Policies
    Assam Language Act 1960 made Assamese compulsory in govt, led to ethnic tensions/violence w/Bengali migrants
    Tanzania changed language of secondary education from English to Kiswahili (2001)
    Ghana changed from using vernacular languages in first 3 years of primary school to English (2002)
    Council of Europe (2001) urged govt. of Macedonia to allow use of Albanian in schools, courts & administration
    Egyptian govt requires fire extinguishers in Cairo taxicabs to have instructions written in Classical Arabic
    In fact most taxi drivers cannot read them…
  • 19. Examples of un-official Language Policies
    Consider non-official policies, too – states may be dysfunctional, contested, newly-formed, multinational
    Kansas City school suspends child for using Spanish in class– no policy?– school board rescind suspension (2005)
    Arab funding of Somalian schools leads to Arabic replacing Somali as language of education (2004)
    Linguistic landscape studies (street signs, site and place names) show different bilingual patterns in Israel:
    Hebrew/English in Jewish areas, Arabic/Hebrew in Arab ones, Arabic/English in East Jerusalem.
    (Official languages are Hebrew and Arabic.)
  • 20. Elements of language policy 1
    Language practices of community or polity: patterns of selection from linguistic resources /repertoire, for particular domains
    Domains: constellations of institutional factors which affect language selection (Fishman 1965, 1972) – typically,
    settings, occasions and role relationships;
    Or, locations, topics and participants
  • 21. Elements of language policy 2
    Language ideologies and attitudes about language and use
    Ideology: a system of symbolic forms which work to create and support systems of social power
    Language ideologies systematically associate language choices and speakers with e.g. economic, political, and moral dimensions
    Languageplanning then is an attempt to change practices, which must engage with language ideologies.
  • 22. Contrasting definitions of Language Policies
    Spolsky (2004): Language policy is comprised of all three components (practices + ideology + planning)
    Shohamy (2006): Language policy falls between ideology and practice.
    Includes both overt & covert mechanisms which create & maintain both official policies & de facto ones (=practices)
    Overt: school language policy, citizenship or voting test
    Covert: street sign, school language test, monolingual health info
  • 23. Contrasting definitions of Language Policy
    Schiffman (1996): Language is main vehicle for the construction, replication, transmission of culture itself
    Language policy is primarily a social construct, rests primarily on other conceptual elements:
    Belief systems, attitudes, myths
    Whole complex can be treated as linguistic culture
    "Language policy is not only the specific, overt, explicit, de jure embodiment of rules in laws or constitutions, but a broader entity, rooted in covert, implicit, grass-roots, unwritten, de facto practices that go deep into the culture."
  • 24. Covert practices vs overt policy
    • Latter 2 views stress that covert practices shape the overt policies, given their effect on everyday practice
    • 25. They promote ideologies favored by state or powerful groups,
    • 26. Marginalize or exclude minorities, or powerless majorities;
    • 27. But they could be used to raise language awareness, change attitudes, protect language rights & reform policy.
    • 28. So, language policy could be a way to turn language ideology into practice.
    • 29. Overtlanguage policies can afford to pay lip service to inclusive language, diversity and democratic processes, as long as covert mechanisms are functioning to execute policies with contrary aims.
  • Past Focuses of Language Policy Activity
    “Solving language problems” of developing nations
    New nations of Africa, Asia, S America/Caribbean needed grammars, dictionaries, orthographies for indigenous languages
    Language development:
    Graphization, standardization, modernization
    Nation-building seen as the primary mission
    Choose national language variety for various functions
    Unifying; separatist; participatory; historicity; authenticity
  • 30. But Language Policy in whose interests?
    Q of how language is used to reproduce social and economic inequality, & role of experts, loomed larger
    Use of post-colonial language for technical/formal domains, indigenous vernacular for others, led to
    Imposed stable diglossia, status loss for I/V, and privileging of educated elites, like colonial model
    How are language policies used as instruments of Western extension of control over other peoples?
    Do they favor majority/elite/client interests over those of minorities/masses/independence-seekers?
  • 31. Critical views of language shift
    Are Western ideas of monolingualism and cultural
    homogeneity – with diglossia as “2nd-best” fallback – And a
    “rational-choice” model of decision-making, with capitalism
    and market values underlying it,…
    Assumed as prerequisites for modernization,
    social/economic progress, democracy and national unity?
    Histories of standardization reveal it as product of modern
    state-formation processes and ideologies;
    Why is this pathway presumed good for developing,
    multilingual countries w/indigenous diverse peoples?
  • 32. Linguistic Imperialism & LHR
    Societal multilingualism should be set as the norm,
    Accepted as prerequisite for functioning democracy.
    Groups can better participate on level ground with institutional recognition given their language/culture.
    LHR is one way to champion such goals both at level of states and international protections & instruments.
    LHR also aimed against linguistic imperialism – the continued dominance/exploitation by large powers, using their languages as weapons and contributing heavily to language shift and loss (soit’s argued).
  • 33. Linguistic hegemony at home
    “Monolingualism but…” is common among nations –
    Hegemony of one national or official language, named in a constitution or legislation, but with
    Tolerance for 1 or more regional/minority languages achieved by (variously enforceable) legal means
    Eg, US 14th Amendment and Civil Rights Act Title VI
    One LP goal is to codify such tolerance, determine who it should extend to, & make it accessible to them
    NB: such “Lx tolerance” only makes sense where ethnic/nationalist monolingualism is assumed to rule
    Paradigm set by Act of Union, French Revolution, post-1812 treaties, then German & Italian nationalism...
  • 34. Print Capitalism & Nations
    Print capitalism –
    dissemination of the written word in the standardized form of a national language, as commercial enterprise
    …was crucial to the formation of modernity & building of nation-states.
    Print capitalism also was agent for the development and marketing of language ideologies,
    …which place citizens within national contexts by linguistic means. - “Greeks speak Greek, wherever they are”
    Educational systems were organised, in part, to guarantee the success of this enterprise, and of the new national identity it supports and is emblematic of
  • 35. Selling National Language Ideology
    A principal type of successful language ideology
    1) Creates hierarchies of language,
    2) Valuing most highly the written standard form of a national language, abstracted from elite speech,
    3) Makes it subject to (upper middle) class norms through education, and
    4) Sells it to the whole society as the Only True Form of Language.
    5) Other forms are then erased & made Not-Language.
  • 36. Functions of a Monoglot Ideology
    “Monoglot ideology” invests in monolingualism as a fact, and denies evidence of linguistic diversity.
    How? by coupling belief in pure standard language,
    With membership of ethnolinguistically-defined group
    + Right to reside in a region occupied by them.
    “We’re English. We speak English here!”
    Herder: Volk + language + territory = nation-state
    This ideology produces identities (=of citizens), and
    Works effectively to prohibit public linguistic diversity.

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