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Language And Nation Focus Questions 2020

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Linguistics
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Montessori Training of Southern Nevada
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LINGUIS 210; Pucci
1
The Power of Words
LINGUIS 210; Summer 2020
Focus questions for Lessow-Hurley Ch. 10, Trudgill Ch. 7 & 10
Trudgill, Ch. 7:
1. Who tends to be bilingual in multilingual countries? Why?
Linguistic minorities tend to be bilingual. One such example would be indigenous
language minorities. Several countries might have more than one spoken language. The
linguistic minority has to acquire the main language, therefore being forced to speak two
languages. Minority speakers do not want their language to become extinct and invalid.
2. What are some of the “problems” of multilingualism for countries?
Many countries see multilingualism as a threat to nationalism and there were instances
in history, for example with Catalan, where the language was oppressed, banned and
prohibited. Minority speakers or speakers of the “lesser” languages have to learn the majority
language in school and are not able to learn and acquire their language there. Furthermore,
children at school are sometimes discouraged from using their native language and sometimes
even punished. Native speakers of minority languages are not provided access to literacy
through their own native language and their culture is not adequately represented at schools.
3. Comment on the following quote from Trudgill: “or it may be that the educational policy of
the country concerned is reasonably intelligent and and sophisticated linguistically, and the
children, as should always be the case, learn to read and write in and are taught through the
medium of their native language in the initial stages of their schooling, with the majority
language being introduced later on” (p. 123).
Where is this the case? Has the “English only” approach disappeared from the scene in the US,
to the best of your knowledge?’
The US has a long history of language oppression, in particular concerning Native
Americans. Most states, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota, nowadays have
only English as an official language and children are taught literacy through the medium of the
English language. There are other cases where the above mentioned option of learning to read
and write in the native language in the initial stages of schooling is indeed possible. One such

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LINGUIS 210; Pucci
2
case is Catalan nowadays, or Sorbian in Germany, where children at elementary schools learn
Sorbian as well as German.
4. Trudgill discusses several approaches governments have taken with regard to “minority”
languages (p. 122-128). What are some of these approaches? What are their real or potential
consequences?
National governments have the opportunity and possibility to recognize linguistic
minorities or ignore them, for example as is the case with Gaelic in the UK or Sami in Norway.
Another example is the oppression of Catalan under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who
banned and prohibited the language because he wanted nationalism. Governments may select
official languages and develop them, with choices often preferring one group over another.
5. What has the status of Catalan (in Spain) been in the last fifty years? Is Catalan a dialect of
Spanish? How has this issue been brought up and used politically? (p. LH p. 139; Trudgill p. 129-
131, 145)
Catalan is a Romance language of its own and even the official language of Andorra, a
region between France and Spain. It used to coexist with Spanish at schools, but under the
dictatorship of Francisco Franco, it got banned. He wanted nationalism and established laws to
suppress Catalan. Since Franco's death 1975, things have improved for Catalan. It is now
published and broadcast and has even become required at schools, coexisting with Spanish
again. It has even been made required at school “as an attempt to undo the damage done
under Franco's rule.”
6. The author discusses some of the complexities of “competing lingua francas,” with reference
to Malaysia and India, as well as other situations (p. 132-135). What are some of the most
important issues he raises?
In Malaysia, Malay is spoken by 30% of the population and another 30% speaks
languages such as Cantonese, Hakka etc. 12 different Chineses varieties exist. 10%, on the
other hand, speak Indian languages and other people speak Portugese, Thai etc. English serves
as a lingua franca. The question about the lingua franca, however, remains. Malay would be a
reasonable option with the amount of people who speak it. English is popular, but has no real
roots in the country. The government is likely looking to strengthen both languages.
7. Trudgill spends substantial time discussing the linguistic situation in Norway, and its
development over time (p. 137-144). What is he trying to illustrate with this example? What
makes Norway unique?

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LINGUIS 210; Pucci The Power of Words LINGUIS 210; Summer 2020 Focus questions for Lessow-Hurley Ch. 10, Trudgill Ch. 7 & 10 Trudgill, Ch. 7: 1. Who tends to be bilingual in multilingual countries? Why? Linguistic minorities tend to be bilingual. One such example would be indigenous language minorities. Several countries might have more than one spoken language. The linguistic minority has to acquire the main language, therefore being forced to speak two languages. Minority speakers do not want their language to become extinct and invalid. 2. What are some of the “problems” of multilingualism for countries? Many countries see multilingualism as a threat to nationalism and there were instances in history, for example with Catalan, where the language was oppressed, banned and prohibited. Minority speakers or speakers of the “lesser” languages have to learn the majority language in school and are not able to learn and acquire their language there. Furthermore, children at school are sometimes discouraged from using their native language and sometimes even punished. Native speakers of minority languages are not provided access to literacy through their own native language and their culture is not adequately represented at schools. 3. Comment on the following quote from Trudgill: “or it may be that the educational policy of the country concerned is reasonably intelligent and and sophisticated linguistically, and the children, as should always be the case, learn to r ...
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