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LANGUAGE POLICY IN A MULTILINGUAL COUNTRY SOCIOLINGUISTICS MID TERM TEST

LECTURER: Prof.Diemroh Ihsan, MA, PhD. Sary Silvhiany, S.Pd.,M.Pd.,M.A.

by Diana luspa 20072006029

Department of Language Education Graduate School Sriwijaya University 2008

LANGUAGE POLICY IN A MULTILINGUAL COUNTRY Introduction In a multilingual country, the number newcomers-immigrants and transborder commuter- is increasing. People encounter communication problems to interact among others. This is a figure that conjures up a great deal of anxiety and subsequently raises questions regarding the integration of the newcomers, particularly from a linguistic standpoint. Language then is not only a means of communication; it is also an instrument of power to deal with the interferences of wider communication. Language development is multidimensional and has many facets. Some multilingual countries have their national languages which they hold up as symbol of unity and linguistics identity. However, the national language is not as a medium of instruction for scholarly discourse. domain but not in others. Therefore, since the phenomena is probably cause language shift and even language loss of a linguistic identity. Multilingual governments evoke language policy to their multilingual society. For example, the citizen must hold their national language as their national identity, set the official language used in official setting, and determine on what language should be taught at school. This should be formulated since multilingual competence can not be ignored towards the multilingual setting. It is because the influence of economic and political developments most often requires the practitioners posses more than one language. In this paper, I would like to explore research discussing government language policy in a multilingual country. Furthermore to see the contribution of the language policy in holding the national and official language and its attempt to face language demand for factual interaction. Symbolism takes priority over use in some

Anthology of the articles The first articles I would like to share is written by Fernan Fehlen (2002). This paper focuses on two aspects : the study of the interference between Letzeburgesh on the one hand and French, German and English on the other. In order to properly understand the linguistic situation in Luxembourg, we must take into account Luxembourgs geographical position, which places it on the linguistic border that cuts Western Europe more or less along the length of the river Rhine in a Germanic and Romance area. Here are some of the findings for the Luxembourgish nationals: Ltzebuergesch is of course the language of Luxembourgers, but 1% of them cant speak it. It is the mother tongue of only 85% of them. Luxembourgers are multilingual, but their linguistic competencies depend on social position, age and also the region of the country. In general more Luxembourgers speak better French than ever, as they are going to school longer and as they have more opportunities to communicate in that language. This is not true for most elderly and the less educated people, who often are forced to use French which they consider a foreign language. Luxembourgers also speak better German, as they are immersed by German mass media, especially television. So Ltzebuergesch is deeply penetrated by German due to the lack of distance between these two languages. Even if functionally standard-Ltzebuergesch has undoubtedly the status of a language, linguistically it is moving closer to standard German. While French dominates some sectors of professional life and the communication between the established and the newcomers, Ltzeburgesch is generally accepted as the language of integration and courses in Ltzebuergesch are becoming more popular with foreigners, who are choosing to stay in Luxembourg. Since 1848 a policy of bilingual instruction has been followed, with German predominating in the lower and French in the higher classes. At the age of six the pupils start learning to read and write in German and at the end of the second class they begin with French. The climax of this evolution was the law of 1984:Ltzebuergesch was declared the national language of Luxembourg; French and German were accepted as administrative languages, while French was confirmed as the language of the law. In 3

this case the government policy helps to keep their national language, but still consider the linguistic competence towards their multilingual country. The second article entitled Language Choice in an acutely Multilingual Society in Papua New Guinea is written by Geoff P.Smith (1995). The writer presents the background situation showing how language diversity has led to the emergence of various languages of wider communication over the last century. government policy in education and administration is also reviewed. Guinea University of technology is described. Melanesia is an area in the south-west Pacific characterized by extreme linguistic diversity. Since the definition of Melanesia is based on fundamentally racial criteria, its boundaries include the independent states of Papua New Guinea. It possesses a high degree of multilingualism. Firstly, colonial power established administrations based on the language of the metropolitan power. The western half of the island was colonized by the Dutch in 1828, while Britain and Germany occupied the remainder of the Island. The whole of the eastern part of New Guinea came under Australian administration in the second decade of the 20th century, while Dutch New Guinea became the Indonesian province of Irian jaya in 1963. Thus, English, French, German and Dutch and more recently Bahasa Indonesia came to be spoken in the region. Papua New Guinea, with over 850 indigenous languages is an interesting case to study how a recently independent country (1975) deals with extreme linguistic diversity. According to the constitution, there are three national languages, English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu, although none is designed as the official language. English is the official language of most formal education, and is widely respected as both a key to employment opportunities and a means of communicating with the outside world. Hiri motu was used by the Australian administration, especially the police, as a lingua franca in papua, and, although the number of speakers was considerably less than Tok Pisin, it was retained as a national language after independence largely for political reason. But since Children were seen to be losing their cultural identity especially their language identity, in a major policy initiative issued a program which restored a greater role for cultural identity in education, including vernacular literacy program. It was hoped that the child would make the transition to English as lingua franca. 4 Then the Finally, a

promising tertiary program in Communication for development at the Papua New

Moreover, in the government primary schools, the English-only policy is still officially in operation, although in practice, it appears that more and more Tok Pisin is being used in the earlier grades. The article written by Nikhat Shameem discusses about language attitude in multilingual primary schools in Fiji and the school policy towards the multilingualism might encounter by the children. Fiji is a multilingual country in the South Pacific with English, Fijian and Hindi being the official languages. As is inevitable in multilingual societies, language use is functional with Fiji Hindi and Fijian being the mother tongues of the two main ethnic groups in the country, the Indo-Fijians and the Fijians. English, because of Fijis colonial history, is a powerful language of choice as language of instruction in Fiji schools and as the language of public systems, bureaucracy, law courts and parliament. It is also the preferred language of literacy for Indo-Fijians, who form nearly half of Fijis population. Most Indo-Fijians do not read or write Standard Hindi well. Fiji Hindi is a pre-literate language of low status within the Indo-Fijian community and is used only for informal, communicative purposes. Language attitudes in the nations education system influence the ways in which language is taught and used in Fijis classrooms. This article reports on attitudes towards languages in Indo-Fijian education by reporting on research conducted in eight primary schools in Fiji. It looks specifically at the language attitudes of the school policy makers: the head teachers and class teachers, and of 48 Indo-Fijian primary school children. Language attitudes shape language behavior and this inevitably affects language proficiency and use in subsequent generations, particularly when attitudes to language are shaped by political and social events, and driven by economic need in a diglossic nation like Fiji. However, in multilingual communities, the different motivations to learn each language would depend on the perceived usefulness of each and the functions each fulfils for the individual and the society. Instrumental motivation is particularly important for Indo-Fijians in Fiji who perceive English language study as the key to economic and educational advancement and an escape from the political, social and racial problems resulting from the three coups. Finally, headteachers and teachers proposed some statements if students to achieve academic success and get good jobs, English must be taught monolingually, English must be taught as early as possible in the school system, English must be

taught as much as possible; Students need to have a teacher of English who uses it as their mother tongue. Language policy towards the multilingualism is also studied by Linda B. Akanbi in her article entitled Promoting Literacy Development in a Multilingual Society: The South Africa Language in Education Policy. On her recent trip to South Africa as a member of the People to People Ambassador Programs Literacy and Reading Education Delegation to that country, she had the occasion to attend a briefing by the Chief Education Specialist, Mr. Mandelo Maseko, from the South Africa Ministry of Education, to make site visits to Project Literacy, the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Shine Center, the University of Cape Town, and the Center for Early Childhood Development, among other places. She learned first-hand the challenges that the country faces as it strives to promote a culture of reading while at the same time promote multilingualism. While each site visited is worthy of its own topic, she limits the article to a discussion of South Africas Language in Education Policy According to one of the architects of the Language in Education Policy, Dr. Carol Bloch of the University of Cape Town, the impetus for the policy came from the passion of the Afrikaners not wanting to give up their language to English (as so frequently happens when an African nation gains its independence--English becoming the lingua franca). Also this policy is the culmination of a curriculum innovation project designed to promote African language development and multilingualism. But since even in a classroom, there is a lack of native language speaking subject advisors to the education department because of rapid changes of wider communication. However, there are few literacy English specialists in African continent. This situation influences the language education policy to promote the literacy in their multilingual society: learners have the right to be taught in the language of their choices; the governing body of a school may decide on the language policy of the school, schools must provide for more than one language of teaching where necessary. In Grade 3 upwards: Two approved languages; one has to be an official language. Grades 5-9: One of the two approved languages taken must be passed. Grades 10-12: Two languages must be passed and one of these must be an official language. South Africa has strong commitment to literacy development in all of its official languages and for the positive steps that are currently underway to address the 6

myriad of issues surrounding effective implementation of their Language Policy in Education. It certainly puts what the schools in the U. S. are facing in terms of teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or English Language Learners (ELL) into perspective. Yet there are some commonalities. I think there are policy implications for countries around the globe (including the U.S.) that are facing similar challenges regarding language diversity in school classrooms. Ways need to be sought to make these vital connections. In Harmut Harberlands article about Domains and domain loss, in my opinion this is also a language policy attempt to sort out different areas of language use in multilingual societies, which are relevant for language choice. In Fishmans version, domains were considered as theoretical constructs that can explain language choice which were supposed to be a more powerful explanatory tool than more obvious (and observable) parameters like topic, place (setting) and interlocutor. In order to identify disastrous bilingual situations, he distinguished at least eight types of these situations according to the distribution of several languages (standard and dialect) across different situations of language use. The family German dialect The playground and street German dialect The school language of instruction Standard Italian Subject of instruction Standard Italian Language of breaks and conversation Standard Italian The church Standard German Literature Standard Italian The press Standard Italian, possibly Standard German The military Standard Italian The courts Standard Italian Governmental administration Standard Italian However, the fact is users behavior sometimes makes them choose the language randomly since one country is sometime not a stable multilingual community, at least not with stable in-group multilingualism for the majority group. The language policy then permits the users to extend the domain concept with a dominant majority language but widespread elite multilingualism for out-of-group interaction. Finally, the problem could be solved to code switching as a legitimate expressive resource.

Another study dealing with multilingualism is conducted by Andrew Gonzales with his article entitled language planning in multilingual countries. He uses the Philippines as a case study of multilingual country. There are 120 mutually unintelligible Philippine languages in use in the islands although all are genetically related. In addition, based on the National Statistics Office 1990 survey, about 99% of Filipino households speak Filipino or Tagalog as a first or second language. About 56% of Filipinos report themselves able to speak English (see Social Weather Stations 1994). The lack of resources and the multilingual situation in the archipelago make it impossible to try to develop all languages although the Komisyon sa Wikang Filiino, or the academy, has a division that focuses on the conservation and maintenance of these languages and their literatures. The official languages continue to be Filipino and English, the national language Filipino, but the language most commonly in use in schools is English and in the print medium, still English. Other media are now dominated by Filipino. Officially Filipino can be used in government work and in legislation as well as judicial judgments, but English still dominates. What we have in the Philippines in 2003, therefore, is a multilingual society still trying to crystallize itself as a nation, having 120 separate languages, but now, by consensus, having accepted Tagalog based Pilipino (renamed Filipino because it is perceived to have incorporated vocabulary and elements from the other Philippine languages). The population uses English for its intellectual and business needs and Filipino for local communication and entertainment. A scattering of foreign languages, learned by some in special schools and through travel, are also heard: Japanese, French, Spanish and Mandarin (in order of popularity as choices by students). Policy and reality do not match. The official language is supposed to be Filipino and the language of the schools to be increasingly Filipino. In fact, however, English continues to dominate government and business transactions at the highest levels as well as international communications and education, especially science and mathematics classes, at all levels and all subjects at university level. In brief, there has been language policy but not implementation and realization. In actual fact, no matter what the policy has been, the local vernaculars have been used in schools as the initial languages of instruction among entering school children, but the languages have not been given the official recognition that they deserve.

The last article that I want to share is language Policy and Planning: Understanding UKMs Past, Present, and Future Concerns and Response by Saran Kaur Gill. The article is about UKMs as one university more than any other that has worked tirelessly towards the use, development and modernization of Bahasa Melayu as a language of knowledge and education. Unfortunately, because of political and administrative priorities, the proposed plan drowned in the colonial British educational policy. This was not followed up by any concrete measures to implement the dream. To rectify this social and economic imbalance, the Malays felt strongly that the institution of Bahasa Melayu as the national language, its legislation as official anguage and its development as language of knowledge was necessary to provide it with national and administrative capital that would lead to its development as a language of higher status. Therefore, having mastery of this language would provide the Malays with linguistic capital with greater value for economic opportunity which would then lead to social and professional mobility. Through the landmark recommendation of the Razak Education Commission in 1956, the Government implemented the National Education Policy, which stipulated Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction in schools. The aim of this policy was to remove the identification of a particular ethnic group with school achievement and reduce the inequality of opportunity among ethnic groups. Having legislated Bahasa as the national and official language for the domains of education and administration, over time, the Malays started to feel frustrated to see their language, which was such a strong symbol of national and ethnic identity, progressing at a very slow pace with regards its implementation in the education sector, particularly in the field of higher education. If we examine the history of UKM and all that it has done over these years to develop and promote Bahasa Melayu as a language of science, the responses of the UKM lecturers of the science and technology disciplines can be understood. Their responses are a reflection of the frustration and disappointment over the work done for the promotion of the language and the fact that it has succeeded as the language of education all these years at least in terms of being used as a medium of instruction the transmitting the information to students via lectures and tutorials as well as the language of research.

After all, the linguistic value and the power and strength of a language largely hinges on the breadth of domains in which it is used, and ensuring this is what universities and academia need to work towards sincerely and to ensure a continued strong role for Bahasa Melayu. The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UKM can take a lead role in these efforts. Presently, Bahasa Melayu is being researched and taught at two different schools at the Faculty the School of Language Studies and Linguistics, and the School of Malay Language, Literature and Culture Studies. In addition, the Institute of Malay World and Civilization plays an important scholarly role regarding Bahasa Melayu. This diverse situation dilutes efforts to provide a concerted stand for the language. Instead what needs to be done at UKM is to set up a school of excellence, where all those knowledgeable and passionate about the language will devote their energies to the researching, teaching and learning of Bahasa Melayu (this will enable UKM to still adhere to its original mission and vision). This, capped by dynamic and visionary leadership, could plan, create and provide ideas for future exciting developments for Bahasa Melayu in the face of globalisation. Conclusion Towards the multilingualism in a country, the government contributes language policy. Based on some article that I summarize, the government proposes the policy in order to keep on holding their national language as the national identity. As it happens in Malaysia in which the governments try hard to struggle with the dilemma of the hard realities and demands of internationalization and its impacts on language use in academia. As the case in Philippines, policy and reality do not match. Economics seem to be one of the most determinative factors. English are easier to understand. The new initiatives in improving competence in English and the fact that the national language is taking a back seat to Economic considerations and survival make language planning for the national language unrealistic. In short, the policy is made to keep the national identity. But rationally, the language user also struggle to overcome the wider communication among multilingual society in their country since recently there are so many newcomers such as expatriates, immigrants, various commuters from the borders of the country. 10

Therefore, policy may not be fully carried out in practice. It presumes rationality on the part of the language planners in drafting action plans, but these action plans likewise presume rationality on the part of economic and political decisions makers and would be beneficiaries (parents and children) of these rational policies. REFERENCES Akanbi, Linda. Promoting Literacy Development in a Multilingual Society: The South 25, 2008. Fehlen, Ferdinand. Luxemburg, a Multilingual Society at the Romance/Germanic Language Border. www.multilingual-matter.net/jimmd/023/jimmd , accessed on October 30, 2008. Festinger, Nancy. Courthouse in a Multilingual Society: Maintaining Good Relations with Your Court Interpreters. www.nyc.gov/htm/oath/pdf/courthouses in multilingual society.pdf. Accessed on October, 2008. Gill, Saran Kaur. Language Policy and Planning: Understanding UKMs Past, Present, and Future Concerns and Responses.www.ifla.org/IV/ifla66/papers/035e.htm. Accessed on Oct, 2008. Gonzales, Andrew. Language Planning in Multilingual Countries: The case of the Philippines.www.ifla.org/IV/ifl a66/papers/035e.htm. Accessed on Oct, 2008. Haberland, Harmet. Domains and Domain Loss. http://www.ruc.dok/cuid/publicationer/mobility/haberland. Holmes, Janet. An Introduction to Linguistics. Longman: New York Shameem, Nikhat. Language Attitudes in Multilingual Primary Schools in Fiji. www.multilingual matters.net/lcc/017/0154/pdf. Africa Language in Education Policy. www.kennesaw.edu/education/eece/TTLS/pages, accessed on October

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