CRITICAL ISSUES OF LANGUAGE POLICY IN MULTILINGUAL EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS CRITICAL ISSUES OF LANGUAGE POLICY IN MULTILINGUAL EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS ANAS MUSA ISMAIL ANAS MUSA ISMAIL
Sinhala Declaration, 1956 • The Sri Lanka in 1956 passed a law which made Sinhala the sole-official language of the country, despite the fact that quarter of the population were Tamil. This ignite huge public unrest where thousands lost their lives
Kiev, Ukraine, 2012 • In July 2012 thousands of people took to the streets of Kiev to protest a government decree that adopted Russian language in some Ukrainian institutions.
THE STRUCTURE • Introduction • The Role of Nation States • Components of Language policy • Language Practice • Language Belief (Ideology) and • Language Planning • Typology and Models of Bilingual Education • The Effectiveness of Bilingual Education • Standard Languages vs. Standardization • Epilogue/Conclusion
INTRODUCTION:the ‘indispensability’ of bilingualism/multilingualism • How many languages are there in the world? • There are estimated 6800 languages in the world • How many countries? • Roughly between 193 and 250 • The languages are more than thirty times the number of the world countries • So, bilingualism/multilingualism is present in practically every country • IMPLICATION: Multilingual/bilingual educational practice is present in every country of the world • It is simply INDISPENSABLE!
THE ROLE OF NATION STATES • State nations as the most vital units of analysis • Minority/Majority status is assigned using national boundaries • The case of Mandarin • 900,000,000 speakers in China—majority • Yet minority in other countries like Malaysia
COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE POLICY • Language Practice • Language Belief (Ideology) and • Language Planning
LANGUAGE PRACTICE • This concerns the attitude the members of a community show toward the available varieties of a particular language. • Example: Haitians who migrated to Miami may use English in varying degrees • People naturally show little enthusiasm for the language of immigrant minorities even when the language is a world language. • Example: Spanish (in the US), Arabic (the language of many immigrants in France and Netherlands).
Language Policy includes any conscious effort to change people’s practice by a means of management or intervention.
LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY AND BELEIF • The belief of language community about the “appropriacy” or otherwise of certain language elements • Assigning values and prestige to certain aspects of it • These beliefs can be a basis for language policies
Language Ideology or belief, therefore, designate a speech community’s consensus on what value to apply to each of the language variables or named language varieties that makes up its repertoire.
Language Loyalty • “This refers to efforts by a speech community to maintain its own (first or home) language in the face of real or perceived threats to its status and continued use” Bowerman (2006)
Why Some Languages Feel Threatened by Others? • Depopulation or mass emigration (of its community) • Mass immigration by other speech community • Coercion (martial or economic) • Voluntary language shift (often for economic reasons)
The Strength of Loyalty • How conscious the speech community is and • How conscious the mainstream society is about their otherness
The Case of Irish:Efforts to maintain a language eroded in its home territory • Contact conflict with England for 800 years • English only became the language of opportunity In 17th century • Previous attempts failed • The dominance of English has since been overwhelming (Irish L1 speakers under 3%) • After independence (1921), Irish was made the first official language • Succession of revival campaigns Irish may not be the mainstream medium of communication in Ireland, butt its official status is becoming more overt
LANGUAGE PLANNING AND POLICY • Language Planning (used in 1950s and 1960s) refers to sweeping intervention and control of language behavior, therefore, determining the exactly the language(s) that people will know in a given nation. • Language planning does not leave anything to the individual to decide; the governing body determines not just what the person will know, but also how to arrive there.
LANGUAGE POLICY • On the other hand, Language policy attempts to be less interventionists • Refers mostly to principles with regard to language use • Example: A number of languages should be learned in a given country or that minority languages have the right to maintain their languages It DOES NOT go into which group or which language or HOW this should be implemented
TYPES OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION • Null form of bilingual education • Weak form of bilingual education • Strong form of Bilingual education
“Null” Form of Bilingual Education • Brings together bilingual children with the aim of monolingualism in the majority language. • Submersion • Technically, this is not form of bilingual education
Weak forms of bilingual education • Allow children to use their home language temporarily • Weak forms include • Structured immersion • Withdrawal classes • (various forms of) Sheltered English • Transitional Bilingual education
Strong Forms of Bilingual Education • Aim for each child to achieve bilingualism, bi-literacy and cultural pluralism. Examples • U.S dual language schools • Heritage Language programs • Canadian immersions, and • European Schools movement
BilingualEducationModels • Transitional Models • Maintenance Model • Enrichment Model
Transitional Models • Teach the target language as quick as possible • The students are “exited” or “mainstreamed” into regular classes • The model includes • Early exit • Late exit • ESL pull out • One year structured immersion
Maintenance Models • Instructions in academic subjects are designed in student’s native language • But they also learn English (target language) during the school day • Is otherwise called ‘Developmental’ programs (long-term and no limit)
Enrichment Models • Promote cross-cultural understanding among bilingual students • Unique: natives of the target language are in the class • Enrichment models have time limit (some times part of transitional)
The Effectiveness of Bilingual Education • The strongest research support come from the success of Canadian immersion programs since 1960s • Complex equation between academic success and other factors like: • Devotion and dedication of teachers • The children’s feeling towards the acceptance of their minority lang. and, • Positive development between bilingual education and cognitive development It cannot be assumed that bilingual education, per se, results in higher attainment across the syllabus. There are interacting variables that underlie such assumptions.
Standard Languages vs. Standardization • Standard languages pass through the following processes • Selection • Codification • Elaboration (of function) • Acceptance (by the relevant community)
Standards exist to avoid the dangers of variability • Standard could evolve as a result of • its association with a religious or literary writing • Creation of official body which “institutionalizes” it • It can emerge overnight
Epilog/Conclusion • Educational institutions as the primary mechanisms for promoting ideological power • Language policy and power are inseparable • “Linguicide” as important factor in language policy (Russia, Turkey and Syria in regards with Kurdish and Kiswahili)
“Language policy is about choice. It may be the choice of a specific sound, or expression, or of a specific variety of a language. It may be a choice regularly made by an individual, or socially defined group of individuals, or a body with authority over a defined group of individuals. It may be discovered in the linguistic behavior language practices) of individual or group. It may also be discovered in the ideology or beliefs about the language of the individual or group”