The politics of bilingualism

The politics of bilingualism - “Politics of...

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Unformatted text preview: “Politics of Bilingualism” Dr. S. Vaniarajan Three Perspectives on Language as Problem Cognitive Personal & Social: as Right Political Sometimes perceived as caused by “strong” bilingual education Poverty, underachievment Derived from personal, legal or constitutional rights Debates in US courts: Landmark Lau vs Nichols 1970 Individual rights, Group­based rights as Resource All three orientations connect language with politics, economics, society, and culture. LLD 108 LLD Politics of Bilingualism” Personal and National Foreign language education Preservation of non­English langs. Debate: which languages are a resource? 2 US Language Orientations “Weak” Bilingual Education: English Only or English First: “Strong” Bilingual Education: English “Plus” the native language Both groups see proficiency in English as instrumental towards achieving the American Dream Politics of Bilingualism” 3 Movements toward legal monolingualism of the US Imoff (1990): “Stimulate the similarities that unite us versus the differences that separate us.” LLD 108 LLD Orientations of Minority Groups, per Ogbu 1978/1983 The Golden Dream Castelike Autonomous Immigrant Per Ogbu: Lack power and status As strangers, can operate outside of society Less intimidated Absorbed into “host” Failure at school Low motivation to succeed in society, coupled with sense of inferiority Black Americans Puerto Ricans Mexican Americans Not subordinate to dominant language group American Jews The dominant majority see bilingual education as creating national disunity, rather than unity, disintegration rather than integration. LLD 108 LLD Politics of Bilingualism” 4 Assimilation vs Multiculturalism Assimilation Metaphor: Melting Pot­­ homogeneity, loss of identity Multiculturalism/Pluralism Metaphors: Language Flower Garden, Tossed Salad, Patchwork Quilt­­ heterogeneity, celebration of diverse Rationale: Separate powerful ethnic groups Meritocracy is incompatible with national unity and integrity Types: Economic vs. cultural identities Rationale: 1960s and civil rights LLD 108 LLD Politics of Bilingualism” 5 Equilibrium or Conflict? Equilibrium Paradigm Conflict Paradigm English is the oil that keeps the clock working Combinations: Linguistic pluralism Society as human body Breakdown is integral to society English is the painful injection that cures or the knife that excises the diseased organ Singapore LLD 108 LLD Politics of Bilingualism” 6 Discussion/Debate Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. What is the dominant perspective on multilingualism in your native country (assuming it is multilingual): problem, right, or resource? Relate your own perspective on American bilingualism: good or bad? Necessary? Problematic? Give examples of “autnonomous, castelike, or immigrant” groups in our country. How does bilingualism work? Is it in equilibrium or in conflict? LLD 108 LLD Politics of Bilingualism” 7 ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course LLD 108 at San Jose State University .

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