use of minority languages

Christina Paulston paulston+ at
Fri Jan 9 22:51:37 UTC 2004

Felicia, Yes, No. CBPaulston

>From: Felicia Briscoe <FBriscoe at>
>To: "'lgpolicy-list at'" <lgpolicy-list at>
>Subject: RE: use of minority languages
>Date: Fri, Jan 9, 2004, 4:47 PM

> Stan and Christina,
> Just out of curiousity have either of you read either Skutnabb-Kangas's or
> Angela Valenzuela's discussion of the benefits of maintaining a first
> language?  Do you not find their arguments compelling?
> Felecia
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christina Paulston [mailto:paulston+ at]
> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 3:18 PM
> To: lgpolicy-list at
> Subject: Re: use of minority languages
> Stan, a voice of sanity C
> ----------
>>From: Stan & Sandy Anonby <stan-sandy_anonby at>
>>To: lgpolicy-list at
>>Subject: Re: use of minority languages
>>Date: Fri, Jan 9, 2004, 3:15 PM
>> I wish I could be more convinced about the benefits of first language
>> literacy.  We put our daughter in French immersion in Canada.  She first
>> gained literacy in a second language.  We're under the impression that the
>> kids graduating from French immersion schools in English Canada are better
>> prepared academically.  I met a cadre of Hawaiian kids who were studying
> in
>> a Hawaiian immersion school.  Although their first language was English,
> we
>> were told they were better prepared academically than Hawaiian kids who
> were
>> educated in English.
>> It seems to me that one thing in common with French immersion and Hawaiian
>> immersion is great parents!  Seriously though, in both cases, the children
>> had parents who believed in a system of education.  This might be
> contrasted
>> with the rest of the parents, who didn't think too much about their
>> children's education, and were content to drift along with the flow.
>> Stan Anonby
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Ronald Kephart" <rkephart at>
>> To: <lgpolicy-list at>
>> Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 2:29 PM
>> Subject: Re: use of minority languages
>>> At 9:42 AM -0500 1/9/04, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:
>>> >It seems to me in the discussion of the use of Ladin and other
>>> >languages, we need to keep in mind what the attitudes of the
>>> >speakers are toward literacy in their language, and what it might
>>> >mean when literacy in another language might give them more 'power'.
>>> Yes. The issue surfaced when I was doing work on literacy in Creole
>>> English in Grenada back in the 80s. Interestingly, though, in my case
>>> the most vociferous critics were "educators" from Canada and Great
>>> Britain, who were convinced that time learning to read Creole was
>>> wasted and would produce "confusion" in the kids I was working with
>>> (age about 12) when it came time for them to read standard English. I
>>> think I showed that this was not the case, and I think that heaps of
>>> research in other more or less analogous situations supports this.
>>> So, my two cents worth: We need to respect people's attitudes and
>>> opinions, but as people whose profession is the study of these
>>> issues, we also need to tell them the truth, whenever we can. The
>>> notion that first-language literacy impedes or hinders literacy in
>>> the "standard" or "official" language is, basically, an instrument of
>>> oppression promulgated by people and institutions who benefit from
>>> the illiteracy they claim to be so concerned about eliminating.
>>> --
>>> Ronald Kephart
>>> Associate Professor
>>> Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice
>>> University of North Florida

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