printability and standardization

Bernard Spolsky spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon Jan 12 19:33:42 UTC 2004


Felicia
At that time, most Navajos lived in traditional homes a good distance from
their neighbors, and from water. That was the point she was making - she
could choose city life with indoor plumbing etc (but living among
non-Navajos where her children would pick up English/  As time went by,
demographic conditions changed - roads were build, water and electricity
provided in small semi-urban settlements and towns, where children also
switched to English.  I describe it in Spolsky, Bernard. (2002). Prospects
for the survival of the Navajo language: a reconsideration. Anthropology &
Education Quarterly, 33(2), 1-24. But I think the central point is that you
should not try to separate the language issue from the social, political,
demographic, cultural, religions, economic etc context.
Bernard
Bernard Spolsky   spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
[mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Felicia Briscoe
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 9:06 PM
To: 'lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu'
Subject: RE: printability and standardization


Bernard,
 
Your statement is interesting on so many levels...like why does one have to
make a choice between speaking the major language of one's cultural group or
carrying water a mile in a bucket?  Or why those who stay on the
Reserveration are speaking Navajo less and less...which of course brings the
whole concept of "revervations for some people" into the arena for
questioning.
 
Felecia

-----Original Message-----
From: Bernard Spolsky [mailto:spolsb at mail.biu.ac.il]
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 9:51 PM
To: lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Subject: RE: printability and standardization


Christina's comment reminds me of a remark made by a Navajo graduate student
of mine many years ago: by moving to the city, she knew it was unlikely that
her son would grow up speaking Navajo, but at least she wouldn't have to
carry water a mile or two every day. 
Of course, those who stayed on the Reservation are speaking Navajo less and
less.
Bernard

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
[mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Christina
Paulston
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 9:54 PM
To: lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Subject: Re: printability and standardization


I must express myself extremely badly to be so misunderstood. Of course a
person can be literate in more than one language or dialect - I read some
seven languages, eight, myself. We are not, that is,  I am not talking about
a linguistic problem but a social. Of course the LSA comment "from this
perspective" they noted, was perfectly sound. It was the Black community
across the country who rose up in protest at having AAVE imposed on them and
you can give them all the linguistic information you want and it is not
going to help.  
    What about South Africa, now with 11 official languages? Many Afrikaners
for "pedagogically sound" reasons now urge the African population to send
their children to mother tongue schools - exactly the same policy enforced
under apartheid for reasons of segregation.  Parents prefer education in
English for their children - are you going to tell them they suffer from
false consciousness ( a singularly brilliant concept, that)? There are as
always other circumstances, quality of teachers, texts, etc but parents
still want English.  And I think it should be their choice.
    The problem of course becomes worse when the children and the parents
disagree over that choice - which is not uncommon with immigrant groups.  I
just object to linguists playing omniscient gods and recommending  options
for life decisions on the basis of linguistic criteria.  Most people want a
decent life, at least for their children, a good job, good health care (Bush
should take note), a secure old age, etc, and if that necessitates another
language, they don't care. Of course they can remain bilingual but the
children usually don't think it is worth it.
    Etc.  My very last comment, Christina

----------
From: Ronald Kephart <rkephart at unf.edu>
To: lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Subject: RE: printability and standardization
Date: Sun, Jan 11, 2004, 11:15 AM




At 11:02 AM -0600 1/10/04, Felicia Briscoe wrote:



...There also seems to be an underlying assumption in much of the recent
writing that
bilingualism is either very difficult to attain or that it is someway is
detrimental to the person who is bilingual.  I find this a very strange
assumption. Why can't a person be fully literate in AAVE and fully literate
in standard English.  Why is it so often posed as an either/or option?



I think part of the answer lies in what anthropological linguist MJ Hardman
calls our linguistic postulates: specifically, the importance of
singularity. This manifests itself in all sorts of ways not only within our
language but also how we think about language, as well as more widely: one
"right" answer, one god, preference for individual over collective work,
"most valuable players," the totalitarian nature of our corporations, even
the prescriptive insistence on "he" rather than "they" as a generic pronoun.
And of course, "one language."

See: Hardman, 1978, Linguistic postulates and applied anthropological
linguistics, in Papers on linguistics and child language, edited by V. Honsa
and M.J. Hardman-de-Bautista, 117-36. The Hague: Mouton.

-- 
Ronald Kephart
Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice
University of North Florida
http://www.unf.edu/~rkephart



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