Maintenance of Minority Languages in Majority Settings
Maintenance of Minority Languages in Majority Settings
Rather than showing the picture of how the people with different languages are related to each other, it is more essential to break down the orders of natural languages existing in any given area and only by this way that we can identify which language is considerable as good and appropriate to ensure somehow that they will continue to be used.
Language serves as marker of group of people and most disputes involved in language minorities deals with the way the languages are reproduced in consideration with the affiliation in geographical boundaries. Maintaining language minorities which are all too often ill-equipped for modern life, strengthens the position of the dominant language as the only common language of communication.
Francophone comprises larger fraction of Canada’s speakers prior to the twentieth century and it went less due to imbalance in the flow of population such as birth rate among French speakers and as immigration of English speaking people. Quebec apparently endures English and they have maintained the high concentration of French speakers.
Francophone Canada remained a vital community sustained by the hard efforts of people from within the community who ensure that the French speaking minority population will continue to thrive (Posner and Green 345-358).
The same case had happened in some other part of the world where the people had different origin that changed their cultural sphere, such as in India which, aside from Hindi, also has some regional dialects.
Having language minority remained as a matter of political questions especially as it was applied in instructional materials which requires rationalized language policy. Multilingual education came out as another option and a good consideration for better accessibility of education transcending the boundary of language (Groff 8-12).
Endangerment or even extinction can be the worst case scenario when language wasn’t maintained. When we talk about endangered language, we refer to the gradual decrease of monolingual speakers using the language. One example of this implication was stated in the works of David and Maya Bradley (316-321) which tackles the revival of native languages of Aboriginal group in Australia.
Designs for the attempt of reviving languages can only be possible with enough resources like documentations or retrieving information from similar languages. The efforts for this also require valid aim or intentions in having it done apparently to make it worthwhile than just having it done for the luxury of education. Losing the function of a language relates to the reasons for its decrease of usage or may extent to total non-usage.
A language has the power as long as it has the function fulfilled as it was used contemporary industries. The report by Michelle Goldberg and David Corson (1-3) shows that bilingual Immigrants, with an official language learned, are not perceived to bear any advantage for they are not recognized in their chosen field even though, in some situations, proficiency in the language is a crucial skill required in the job. Valuing this skill thru formal recognition is greatly beneficial for the company itself since it contributes in returns in the market specially when dealing with bilingual clients.
Linguistic minorities whether in Canada, or in Europe or in Asia don’t just preserve the natural communication means of their group but can also provide reflection of their culture which separates them to the rest. They were therefore protected and promoted by laws in the belief on its significant importance of preserving the identity of these groups (Jimenez & Nakagawa 6).
Compared to the situation in Australia, the minorities in Canada, Francophone, has different form since they are comparable to the majority group, Anglophone, when we talk about their origin. None of these two naturally emerged in the land since both were influences or contributions from European. French colonized Quebec after its discovery and for centuries, French has already been an official language (Mc Creery 6).
Vitality of relationship between the language and culture in a community determines proliferation of a language therefore, and maintenance and preservation requires analysis of people in group by their demographic prominence, social status, and economic power.
These variables can determine the vitality of a language relative to the culture developed in parallel to the language. In order to study the essential factors affecting the growth of the language and design a maintenance procedure, it needs a clear definition of the culture in which it is in. Anything that is associated with vernacular culture manifests linguistic features. Daily activities of people and collective behavior can show its relations to linguistic attributes then we can determine what perceptions and concepts influence the language (Grenoble and Whaley 261-264).
Another implication that needs to be aided by language maintenance is the tendency that the difference in language would extend to the separation of people and a state. In Canada, tension rose between English speakers and French speakers, mainly Quebec, carrying the biggest fraction of French-Canada. For decades, a Marxist group called Front de Liberation de Quebec (FLQ) tried to gain sovereignty and fought for the independence. The government applied quick aid to pacify the nationalist actions by making French speakers feel more welcome as they created official policies for the benefit of bilinguals (Ruypers 149).
From the viewpoint of anyone who wants to grow towards the wider immediate community such as in the case of minority relative to the majority surrounding them, it tends to make the minority encouraged to gain the actual condition of the majority. When we talk about the will to sustain linguistic identity, it needs to be acknowledged that it is important to develop individuals and the community without compromising the culture and language. Keeping the diversity of language varieties needs not to be broken instead should be respected in the way that none will be damaged (Bastardas-Boada 3-5).
Any action in a community, whether it is verbal or physical, contributed to the culture that defines the distinction of human group. The ability to share with the rest this developed culture makes the group dynamic in the wider scope. These are the notions to be considered as a challenge for anyone attempting to participate in different social dimension.
This idea can be applied to the relationship of minority and majority languages which are connected by communications since every language users are considered as part of the community of ideas and practices (Duranti 46).
After all, the maintenance of a language, however few the users are, would be simplified as long as there is enough reason for it to stay. It will not matter whether the majority of people around use different language or doing different thing from what you do for if language really serves as a mean for communication, differences will then not make this a problem but a source for it to become richer and maintained.
Duranti, A. “Linguistic Anthropology”. UK: Cambridge UP (1997): 46
Posner, R. and Greene, J.N. “Trends in Linguistics”. Walter de Gruyter and Co. (1993): 345-358
Groff, C. “Status and Acquisition Planning and Linguistics Minorities in India”. (2003):8-12
Bradley, David and Maya. “Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance” TJ International (2002): 316-321
Corson, D. and Goldberg, M. “Minority Languages learned Informally- The Social Construction of Language Skills through the Discourse of Ontario Employers” ON: University of Toronto (2001): 1-3
Jimenez, V. and Nakagawa, M. “Linguistic Minorities” Public International Law and Policy Group (2005): 6
Mc Creery, C. “the Order of Canada” Toronto: University of Toronto Press Incorporated(2005): 6
Grenoble, L.A. and Whaley, L.J. “Endangered Languages” UK: Cambridge UP (1998): 261-264
Ruypers, J. et. al.”Canadian and World Politics”. Canada: Emond Montgomery (2005): 149
Bastardas-Boada Albert. “Linguistic Sustainability and Language Ecology”. Catalonia, Spain: Centre Universitari de Sociolinguistica I Comunicacio (2005): 3-5
Subject: Language Ecology,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 27 September 2016
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