ERIC Number: ED171114
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Sociolinguistic Assessment of the Notion 'Im/migrant Semilingualism' from a Social Conflict Perspective. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 17.
This study challenges the Toukamaa and Skutnabb-Kangas theory of semilingualism and suggests that an integrated set of sociological and sociolinguistic factors can predict the performance of minority bilinguals in school. Semilingualism is described as a low level of competence in the minority language, a linguistic handicap that prevents the individual from acquiring the linguistic skills appropriate to his original language capacity in any language. Within the framework of a social conflict theory of power, sanctions, and conflict, where there are subordinate and dominant language groups, numerous examples are presented of social class and language-related differences that suggest that existing bilingual education programs neither provide for nor test for ethnolinguistic differences. Because subordinate immigrant language groups develop contact-dialects and non-standard varieties of both the native and the dominant language, instruction in the schools could be built around the vernacular and allow for gradual transition to standard versions of either the native or the dominant language. Conventional researchers from dominant language groups need to take into account sociological and sociolinguistic factors that contribute to subordinate language groups' use of the dominant language. Information is needed for: (1) support for the subordinate languages in education; (2) degree of language shift in the subordinate language community; (3) the contrast between the home language code/performance style and that of the school; and (4) ways that teaching and testing can be changed to accommodate subordinate language-group children. (Author/MHP)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Code Switching (Language), Cognitive Development, Cognitive Tests, Cross Cultural Studies, Culture Conflict, Ethnography, Immigrants, Language Attitudes, Language Research, Linguistic Borrowing, Linguistic Competence, Linguistic Performance, Migrants, Nonstandard Dialects, Second Language Learning, Social Influences, Sociocultural Patterns, Socioeconomic Status, Sociolinguistics, Testing
Bilingual Education Project, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M58 lV6 (As long as supply lasts)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of the Secretary of State, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto. Bilingual Education Project.
Identifiers: Semilingualism; Thresholds