[lg policy] bibitem: "Language policy contra practice in multilingual schools: A social approach"

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 13 16:38:30 UTC 2011

Mastin Prinsloo

"Language policy contra practice in multilingual schools: A social approach"

This paper examines the divergences between what educational policy
calls for in South African schools with regard to language and
learning and what takes place in schools. It argues that South African
constitutional and education policy statements employ an idea of
languages as boundaried entities and systems and combine this
understanding of languages with discourses on language rights and of
language endangerment. An alternative view is developed that studies
language as practice rather than system. From this perspective the
idea of ‘a language’ is a misleading shorthand for a diverse range of
language varieties, genres, registers and practices. Such resources
are not equally distributed amongst users of these resources and they
carry different social weightings or valuations. The paper argues that
the language assumptions in language policy ‘erase’ linguistic
complexities and assume a linguistic homogeneity and stability which
is inappropriate. A view of language is developed where language
operates as a ‘non-neutral medium’ in stratified social contexts of
all kinds. These inequalities operate just as much within designated
‘languages’, in terms of the varieties and their uses within that
language, as across them. The observed differences between policy
prescription and language practice provide support for this
alternative perspective on language.

An international conference examining transnational, translocal and
global flows of people, language and literacy through the lens of
social practice. Cape Town January 2011

-- http://www.moblanglit.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173
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