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Re: Multiligualism as the norm?
There are some marvellous descriptions of language loss and language
recovery in the book
Minority education: from shame to struggle
ed. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Jim Cummins
Multilingual Matters, 1988
"Nobody could see that I was a Finn"
by the (immigrant Swedish) novelist Antti Jalava
and "Returning to Sami identity"
by Johannes Mauranen, of indigenous origin.
These are about individual, personal bilingualism, imposed
monolingualism and its consequences. At the societal level (to follow
Calvet's clarification) it has to be pointed out that such individual
experiences are what groups of immigrants and indigenous people have
been subjected to.
Some languages that have been killed off have actually been
regenerated. Cornish in the UK is an example. And a doctoral thesis
on the revitalisation of an Aboriginal language in South Australia,
the Kaurna language, by Rod Amery, is being condensed so that it
will appear in book form soon (with the publisher Swets and
within a few months.
Even the World Bank is now aware that if groups are educated through
their mother tongue and gets good instruction in this and the
dominant language, they will do better than if they are submerged
exclusively in the dominant language (which is what is now being
enforced in California afeter a brief transitional phase). But the
Bank (which sets the tone for much postcolonial and even
post-communist education) employs a rhetoric of support for "local"
languages, while its policies are still strengthening European
languages, English in particular, worldwide. But isn't this what
globalisation is all about?`