Minority vs. Majority

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Today it is difficult to imagine a civilized country whose people speak only one language. On account of that, the introduction of plurilingualism as a key policy is the demand of a global society, since the normal functioning of any multinational state significantly depends on the language policy.

In this sense, language policy can be considered as a tool for keeping the balance and sustaining the strong relationship between majority and minority languages. According to the Council of Europe (COE), while setting language policy education authorities should consider not only human rights (learning and teaching minority languages), but also economic competitiveness, social inclusion and integration, since it directly affects the national cohesion (COE, 2009). Similarly in the Kazakhstani case, although after getting the independence, the development of the native language were recognized as one of the top priorities, the language policy of a country also takes into account the rights of the minority groups: Russian as a language of interethnic communication, provision of education in minority languages where they are densely populated and protection from linguistic discrimination by the Law On Languages. All these actions were done to prevent the misconceptions between majority and minority groups on their linguistic interests.

In addition to this, the importance of plurilingual approach in a teaching process is very crucial. According to the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) linguistic and cultural competences of an individual are valuable background (Despagne, 2012). Nevertheless, Igoudin states that in most cases teachers prefer monolingual approach: teaching through dominant language and ignoring the minority one (Despagne, 2012). The most common explanation for this is that teachers are categorically not interested in plurilingual paradigm, since they associate it as an additional amount of work which implies great responsibility. Therefore, the plurilingual approach mostly needs the support of teachers, which implies the bottom-up approach to foster plurilingualism in a schooling system.

To conclude, the plurilingualism in a schooling system and the social diversity of a country are one of the toughest issues to be dealt with while setting the language policy.

 

References

COE, (2009). Regional, minority and migration languages.

Despagne, C. (2012). [Review of the book  Promoting plurilingualism: Majority language in multilingual settings, by Boeckmann, K., Aalto, E., Abel, A., Atanasoska, T., & Lamb, T.]. TESOL Quarterly, 47(3), 654-657.

 

 

 

 

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