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Applied linguistics and language planning

Applied linguistics and language planning

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Applied linguistics and language planning

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  1. Applied linguistics and language planning Anth 4 / Waters

  2. What is Applied Linguistics? • AL provides the foundations for the investigation and solution of language-related problems (Hudson, 1999) • Examples: - language education and literacy - problems of translation and interpretation - language and economic development - establishing an official or national language • The most common form of AL is language planning (policies, plans or changes used to improve communication)

  3. The Increased Need for Language Planning Two main reasons: 1) increased numbers of displaced persons around the world due to war and persecution 2) the flawed cultural maps drawn during European colonization (and new multiethnic states that emerged after WWII)

  4. Language Issues: Sub-Saharan Africa • During colonialism, European languages often became the “official” ones (used for admin. and education) • Many countries continue using languages of colonizers (e.g. French, English) in addition to African languages • Multilingualism reflects tribal, national and colonial affiliations (and has been a source of tension and conflict) • Swahili is one of the few African languages that has the status of being an official language • Few countries even recognize a single African language as having majority status (partly due to arbitrary territorial boundaries imposed by colonists)

  5. Official Languages of Africa

  6. African Language Families

  7. Kenya’s Languages • Over 60 languages spoken (English has been the official language since British rule) • Although spoken by few Kenyans, Swahili became the national language in 1974 (used for business & education) • The president deliberately did not select Kikuyu (to avoid ethnic conflict), nor English (a symbol of oppression ) • Some thought Swahili would become the only official language, however it: - shares this status with English - is viewed by some as having low status - may soon become optional language in primary school - is being threatened by Sheng according to some

  8. Language and Economic Development • Increased economic development often leads to decreased linguistic diversity Does this hurt communities, or does it provide people with more opportunities? • Some argue use of local languages is critical in areas with high rates of: childhood malnutrition, maternal morbidity & mortality and infectious disease transmission • Anthropologists warn against using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to development and language planning, and stress the importance of cultural fit