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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
in particular 
"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?`

Robert Phillipson