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ERIC Number: EJ1069156
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1461-0213
Applied Linguistics and the Use of Minority Languages in Education
Cenoz, Jasone; Gorter, Durk
AILA Review, v21 p5-12 2008
Research on minority languages is ordinarily not well known by speakers of "big" languages but it has focused on several areas of Applied Linguistics and it is relevant to many areas. This current volume of "AILA Review" features five articles. Each of the articles emphasizes some aspects of research, depending on the recent developments in each case and on the availability of specific types of research results. In the first article, "Achievements and Challenges in Bilingual and Multilingual education in the Basque Country," Jasone Cenoz summarizes the results of different educational linguistic models in the Basque Autonomous Community regarding achievement in Basque, Spanish, English and other school subjects. Cenoz also discusses the new challenges for the Basque educational system, which include the need for more effective teaching of languages of wider communication and the integration of immigrant students. F. Xavier Vila i Moreno discusses the situation of Catalan in "Language-in-Education Policies in the Catalan Language Area." He provides an overview of the main school models in the fragmented Catalan language area from a comparative perspective. His summary of recent research results emphasizes language learning, language practices, effects on social cohesion and academic achievement. The challenges of the education systems are to adapt to a new multilingual, multicultural environment, where immigrant languages combine with globalization. At the same time, these systems may be regarded with suspicion by majority speakers, especially those who live in traditionally monolingual areas. The next article by John Harris, "The Declining Role of Primary Schools in the Revitalisation of Irish" focuses on the major challenge of the education system in Ireland, which has to constantly produce a high proportion of people with good Irish in order to maintain the small proportion of Irish-speaking households. He examines evidence from national surveys of pupil achievement and attitudes in order to establish how well this strategy is working. Results show a long-term decline in success in learning Irish in mainstream schools and to a lesser extent in Gaeltacht schools. The situation in Wales is discussed by W. Gwyn Lewis in "Current Challenges in Bilingual Education in Wales." He commences with a brief summary of the development and current statistics on bilingual education in Wales. He then discusses the inadequacies of current typologies and terminology in bilingual education models. The early results from a 2007/08 survey of language allocation in bilingual schools in Wales are presented, along with an emerging new typology. He points out that if Welsh-medium and bilingual education is to flourish in the twenty first century, it must do so in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the children and parents. In the fifth case study, Durk Gorter and Cor van der Meer discuss "Developments in Bilingual Frisian-Dutch Education in Friesland." They give an outline of the weak position of Frisian in the education system and the slow development of language policy. They discuss the research outcomes on language attitudes, school achievement in Dutch and Frisian and an experiment with a number of trilingual schools. Although the general point of departure for Frisian is encouraging, the way Frisian is taught in the schools reflects the position of Frisian as a predominantly spoken language in society at large. These five situations focus on the achievements and challenges faced by minority languages in education in some countries in Europe but the authors strongly believe that they are relevant for applied linguists all over the world.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland; Netherlands; Spain; United Kingdom (Wales)