types of diglossia/bilingualism/multilingualism

Christina Paulston paulston+ at pitt.edu
Wed Apr 16 13:55:53 UTC 2003

Stan, I think you have to distinguish what the larger unit is within which
you find bilinualism, a canadian province, an indian reservation in the US,
a nation-state, an empire, etc. - many of then have different patterns. For
the last 100 years, we have typically talked about bi/multilingualism within
nation-states. Belgium and Switzerland are always mentioned in this context,
classical territorial state bilingualism BUT with many monolingual speakers.
Whether Belgium lasts is another question (see Kas Deprez), and I
increasingly see reports (and complaints) that many Swiss prefer to be
bilingual in MT + English.
    Now there are interesting signs, in Europe at least, of increasing
regional nationalism heralding a minority language, Basque lands, Corsica,
Saami, Catalunya in spades, etc. which spell the need for
reconceptualization of some of our theories on lge maintenance/shift. See
e.g. Sue Wright's forthcoming book on LPP.
    So, Stan your gadfly questions are much needed - keep them coming. :-)

>From: Survey Coordinator Brazil <survey_coord_brazil at sil.org>
>To: lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
>Subject: Re: types of diglossia/bilingualism/multilingualism
>Date: Wed, Apr 16, 2003, 9:04 AM

> Dear lg. policy list members,
> After looking at Fishman's list of long-lasting societal bilingualism, I
> drafted
> a response similar to Paul Lewis', but his is more eloquent and pithy.  Just
> that of the listed
> languages, it looked like all of them were pretty clear examples of
> diglossia.  Are the Spanish ones exceptions to this?  I guess I should have
> framed my question more carefully.  I should've asked for examples of
> bilingualism without diglossia.
> What rang my alarm bells regarding Quebec was hearing what sounded like
> bilingualism without diglossia.  Frenchmen writing love letters in English
> sounded to me like old domains of use were changing.  It's pretty clear
> there are social, economic, and political changes in Quebec which are
> altering the old French/English language use configuration.  To me, this is
> fraught with peril.  In talking to French Canadians, its still clear that in
> Quebec, like the rest of the world, the overwhelming rewards and benefits
> still acrue to people who speak English.  Monolingual French speakers don't
> the best possibilities of advancement.  In the past, language use patterns
> (probably as a result of discrimination on the part of English speakers)
> kept the majority of Quebecois monolingual (two solitudes).  If that is
> changing, and there is leaking between domains formerly reserved for English
> or French, isn't that cause for concern, not just rejoicing?  The new
> attitudes, the lack of divisiveness in Quebec can lead to widespread group
> bilingualism.  This can have the effect of opening up the English speaking
> world, one that was formerly closed to Frenchmen because they were
> monolingual.  That sounds like a more unstable linguistic situation to me.
> As long as the French Canadians were discriminated against, their language
> survived because you had diglossia.  The happy news is that discrimination
> is mostly a thing of the older generation now.  The unhappy news is what
> looks like bilingualism without diglossia - an unstable situation.  So is
> French really stronger in Quebec now?
> On another topic, in talking about Canada outside of Quebec, Churchill says
> that Landy and Allard have demonstrated that French schooling almost
> eliminated the loss to assimilation.  I might be confusing Reversing
> Language Shift (RLS) here with Language Maintenance (LM), but I thought that
> schooling had little long lasting impact on RLS, if the language wasn't
> spoken by the wider society.
> Stan Anonby

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