use of minority languages

Felicia Briscoe FBriscoe at
Fri Jan 9 23:28:37 UTC 2004


Do you disagree that a child might feel a bit of psychic trauma if she
cannot speak to her grandparents and that such a phenomena of generational
breakage might be detrimental to a community?  Do you not think that being
forced to abandon your first langauge might lead to feeling so inferiority?
And do you think that whatever knowledge the older generation has that can
no longer be passed onto the next generation is okay because it really isn't
important knowledge?  As you no doubt are aware these are vulgar renditions
of Valenzuela and a bit of Skutnabb Kangas's arguments about the benefits of
retaining your first langauge. I would be very interested in your response.


-----Original Message-----
From: Christina Paulston [mailto:paulston+ at]
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 4:52 PM
To: lgpolicy-list at
Subject: Re: use of minority languages

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
>> kids graduating from French immersion schools in English Canada are
>> 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
>> immersion is great parents!  Seriously though, in both cases, the
>> 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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