Applied Sociolinguistics

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LANGUAGE POLICY AND PLANNING

Text of Applied Sociolinguistics

  • Applied Sociolinguistics

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    Language Policy

    A course or principle of action

    adopted or proposed by a

    government regarding a given

    language.

    What do governments do with

    languages either officially

    through legislation or by court

    decisions?

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    Language Policy

    o determine how languages are used

    o develop language skills needed to meet

    national priorities, or

    o establish the rights of individuals or groups to

    use and maintain languages

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    Language Policy

    Language policy is sometimes used as a

    synonym for language planning. However,

    more precisely, language policy refers to the

    more general linguistic, political and social goals

    underlying the actual language planning process.

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    Language Policy

    Language planning is actually part of a language

    policy that a given government adopts regarding

    one or more of the languages spoken in the

    country.

    e.g. Catalan forbidden during Franco's dictatorship 1937-

    1976. Catalan not allowed in schools and no books or

    newspapers could be published in that language - it was

    considered of importance for the Catalan movement, which

    was believed to threaten the union of Spain.

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    What is Language Planning?

    A deliberate effort to influence the function,

    structure, or acquisition of a language or language

    variety within a speech community.

    In multilingual countries LP results from the need of

    implementing a language policy regulating the

    scope and use of the languages and/or language

    varieties within their territories.

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    Language Planning

    A few decades ago, decisions concerning language

    planning were characteristic of developing countries

    which often needed to make decisions on whether

    to use the former colonial language or other national

    languages as a unifying code.

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    Language Planning

    More recently, LP has become an issue in western

    societies - a social demand to preserve minority

    languages or a political demand to expand the use

    of international languages to promote intercultural

    and supranational communication (e.g., the EU).

    The factors affecting language planning (economic,

    educational, historical, judicial, political, religious

    and social) give an idea of its complexity.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Cobarrubias (1983)

    Four typical ideologies

    Language Planning

    Linguistic Assimilation

    Vernacularization Internationalism

    Linguistic Pluralism

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Linguistic Assimilation

    The belief that everyone, regardless of origin,

    should learn the dominant language of the society.

    France applied this policy to various peoples within its borders.

    The U.S. applied it both, internally with immigrants and externally (The Philippines and Puerto Rico)

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    This seems a reasonable decision for the

    integration of minority groups, but it raises the

    problem of conservation and respect for minority

    group identities and cultural heritage, which are

    often supposed to disappear under this motivation

    for language planning.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Eg. The case of Russification in the former Soviet

    Union where Soviet rulers tried to spread the

    Russian language and culture throughout the

    whore Soviet Union.

    A different action could be simply lack of official

    actions undertaken to preserve a language, which

    can also lead to language assimilation.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    In Australia, there were about 200 languages at the

    time of the European conquest and only around 20

    were still spoken by younger generations in the

    1990s.

    A major factor in Aboriginal language death in

    Australia was the linguistic assimilation policy

    undertaken up to the 1970s with their 'English only policy in schools.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Linguistic pluralism

    The acceptance of various languages or varieties,

    centered on individual or geographical criteria, i.e.,

    an individual may be stimulated to maintain his/her

    language in the case of a multilingual setting,

    where his/her language represents a minority that

    does not identify with a specific geographical area

    (immigrants in a big city)

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    It can also be the case of a multilingual state that

    adopts various official languages as they are

    spoken in different geographical areas (e.g.,

    French and English speaking Canada; French

    and Dutch-speaking Belgium; and, English and

    Afrikaans-speaking South Africa).

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Vernacularization

    Entails the reconstruction or renewal of an

    indigenous language that is not used by a

    wide group of speakers but after some

    changes (the alphabet, pronunciation,

    relexicalization, etc.) becomes widespread

    and adopted as an official language

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    e.g., Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea,

    Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia, Tagalog

    renamed Filipino in the Philippines and

    Quechua in Peru.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    Internationalism

    It is reached when the motivation in language

    planning is to adopt a non-vernacular language for

    wider interethnic communication as a political

    solution to an internal problem often arising from

    equally powerful minorities, one of them aiming at

    imposing their language as the official language,

    or the language of education and trade, for all.

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    Factors motivating decision-making in language planning

    e.g. English in Singapore, India and the

    Philippines.

    English and French are the languages that have

    been most internationalized.

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    Factors affecting language planning

    a) Socio-demographic factors

    b) Linguistic factors

    c) Socio-psychological factors

    d) Political factors

    e) Religious factors

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    Aims of Language Planning

    Eleven Language Planning Goals have been

    recognized (Nahir 2003):

    1. Language Purification

    2. Language Revival

    3. Language Reform

    4. Language Standardization

    5. Language Spread

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    Aims of Language Planning

    6. Lexical Modernization

    7. Terminology Unification

    8. Stylistic Simplification

    9. Interlingual Communication

    10.Language Maintenance

    11.Auxiliary-Code Standardization

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    Types of Language Planning

    Heinz Kloss (1967), distinguished three basic

    types of language planning:

    Status planning - all efforts undertaken to change the use and function of a language or language variety within a given society.

    Corpus planning - concerned with the internal structure of the language

    Acquisition planning - aims to influence aspects of language, such as language status, distribution and literacy through

    education.

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    Status Planning

    Refers to the allocation or relocation of new

    functions to a language (such as using the

    language as medium of instruction or as an

    official language).

    Status planning affects the role a language

    plays within a given society.

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    Status Planning

    The decision to use Hebrew as a medium of

    instruction in Jewish schools in Palestine from

    the end of the nineteenth century is an example

    of status planning.

    Previously, classical Hebrew had not been used

    in everyday communication, and its use had

    been restricted to prayers and religious as well

    as scholarly writings.

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    Status Planning

    Language-planners distinguish many possible

    functions a language can occupy in society.

    Official: the use of a language as legally appropriate language for all politically and

    culturally representative purposes on a

    nationwide basis. In many cases, the official

    function of a language is specified

    constitutionally. E.g. Irish and English have official status in Ireland.

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    Status Planning

    Provincial: the use of a language as a provincial or regional official language. In this

    case, the official function of the language is not

    nationwide, but is limited to a smaller

    geographic area (Stewart 1968).

    e.g In the Canadian province of Quebec,

    French is the only official language (since

    1974), while both English and French have

    official status in the other provinces of Canada.

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    Status