LANGUAGES AND LINGUISTICS A Critical Perspective
Préparé par : Moha Ennaji
2013 / Numéro 32
Table of Content
Acknowledging the role of language, language policy, culture, and power relations in any society, critical theorists have stressed that not all language policies are equally valued and that they have an impact on linguistic and cultural diversity and on education (Grant & Sleeter 2011; Merryfield 2010; Jenks 2010; Shohamy 2004; Cooper, Shohamy & Walters 2001; Schiffman 1996; Fishman 1989). Consequently power relations determine not only the selection of the languages that will be official, national, or regional and that have access to the educational system, but also which ones and to what degree they will be integrated as languages of instruction or as subjects in the curriculum. Taking into account the socio-cultural context and people’s attitudes is of paramount importance as they affect both decision-making and the success or failure of the language policy. These complex language and cultural issues are at the heart of what we explore here in this issue.
This volume brings to the foreground language as a subject of study, a means of instruction and tool of communication, as well as a social phenomenon. After all, language shapes society and culture. Bertrand Russell once said, "No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest". This leads us to think that language is examined in terms of its socio-cultural functions.
To realize one of the basic human rights, i.e., freedom of expression, it is important that people express themselves in their mother tongue as often as possible, and that they master other national, regional, and foreign languages. Language is also a catalyst for actions that can contribute to knowledge acquisition and production, development, and the preservation of cultural heritage. Without efficient policies to foster linguistic diversity in all walks of life, the world risks denying millions of people the right to engage in public debate, participatory democracy, and sustainable development.
Languages and Linguistics 32 (2013), pp. v-viii
The contributors to this volume come from multiple disciplines: education, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology. They tackle the subjects of language, culture, and education from theoretical, sociological, and pedagogical approaches that are explored through critical perspectives. The analysis in each article ranges from linguistic, ethnographic, cultural, to qualitative based on fieldwork. The issue encompasses contributions from five multilingual countries, some not widely known about and others that have serious multilingual issues.
In the first article,"Ideological Perspectives in Language Policy: Framing Nashville English-only Debate", Mohammed Albakry and Nancy Warden bring to the fore the 2009 language debate in Tennessee, as voters rejected a proposed English-only amendment to the charter of Nashville. Based on opinion articles and letters to the editor, the survey discusses the dominant ideological debate between the opponents and the proponents of the English-only restriction. The authors argue that the findings have ramifications for language identity, language policy, education, and immigrants’ integration. .
In the second article, “Multicultural Literacy: Using National Metaphors as a Culture Learning Strategy for “Third Culture Kids””, Janie Hubbard and Nieke Coppelmans illustrate how the use of metaphors in the classroom as a culture learning strategy can help learners of English as a foreign/second language to acquire the target language skills and compare cultures. Based on fieldwork and a case study, the article reveals that this strategy contributes to the promotion of multicultural literacy development among culturally and linguistically diverse students; it also leads to the improvement of classroom activities in the domain of multicultural literacy.
In the third article, Charles Owu-Ewie addresses the issue of “The Language Policy of Education in Ghana in Perspective: The Past, the Present, and the Future.” As a science educator and researcher, the author conducts a historical and comparative study to discern the extent to which language policy in Ghana incorporates local native languages relevant to literacy and education. The author argues that the stable use of the mother tongue as a means of instruction in primary education and as a subject in pre-tertiary institutions in Ghana will depend on reframing the language policy in education, and on strong governmental support and change of attitude.
In the fourth article, "Berber Language in Contact with Colloquial Arabic in the Maghreb: A Case of Language Revitalization", Ennaji examines the status of Berber in the aftermath of its official recognition thanks to the militancy of the Amazigh cultural movement and the political will to integrate Amazigh in education. The author shows the extent to which this language has historically been impacted by Arabic at the lexical and the morphological levels, and how its introduction in schools will contribute to change of attitude and to more language change in terms of the standardization and codification of the Amazigh language.
In the fifth article, "L’Impéritie de la Lexicographie Arabe Face à l’Expansion Néologique des Langues de Créativité Scientifique", Abderrezak Dourari presents a critical perspective of the Arabic lexicography and its weak creativity in the domain of science, particularly social sciences, describing how factors like salafism, nationalism, traditional cultural norms, lack of critical thinking, and absence of creative modern strategies in academic writings in Algeria and other Arab countries have contributed to the stagnation of the Arabic lexicon and of scientific research in general in this part of the world.
Finally, in his Arabic article, Abdessamad Rouai looks at the syntactic structure of adverbs in Modern Standard Arabic in a comparative perspective. He examines the different analyses that have recently been developed, particularly the Adjunct Hypothesis of Pollock (1989), the Specifier Hypothesis of Cinque (1999-2004), the Scope Hypothesis of Ernest (2002-2004), and the Phases Hypothesis by Mizuno (2010) and Shu (2011). In this article, the author develops an analysis of Arabic adverbs within the minimalist framework Chomsky (2001, 2004, and 2005). He shows that adverbs are controlled by their modifiers within head phrase that semantically determine them locally given that the syntactic structure in the Minimalist Program is defined by phases and controlled by c-command and by the processes of Movement (Move), and agreement (Agree) which are themselves realized in many recent works through Internal Merge.
Cooper, R., Shohamy, E. and Walters J, (2001). Language Education. Volume in honor of Bernard Spolsky, John Benjamins Press.
Schiffman, H.Linguistic Culture and Language Policy.Routledge 1996.
Shohamy, E. (2004). The hidden agenda of language policy. New York : Routledge.