ERIC Number: EJ935874
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Mother-Tongue Schooling in Eradicating Poverty: A Response to "Language and Poverty", Ed. by Harbert et al.
Mufwene, Salikoko S.
Language, v86 n4 p910-932 Dec 2010
During the past two decades, field linguists have expressed serious concerns over the unprecedented rapid loss of "indigenous languages", the endangerment of many others, and the implications of these processes for the education and economic development of "indigenous populations", among other matters. The book to which this article responds is a rare volume that focuses on the use of "minority languages" in education and national economies to eradicate poverty, as well as on socioeconomic hardships the poor experience in shifting to the "dominant language". I explain how complex the subject matter is and how little prepared linguistics still is for it. I show that our profession has no empirically grounded and ecology-specific advice to provide to economists and politicians who are concerned with societal multilingualism (mis)construed as an obstacle to economic development. Nor does the field appear to have determined under what ideal socioeconomic conditions a language can be maintained without being a liability or an unnecessary burden to its speakers.
Descriptors: Economic Development, Language Maintenance, Language Dominance, Indigenous Populations, Poverty, Language of Instruction, Language Role, Language Skill Attrition, Language Minorities, Multilingualism, Socioeconomic Status, Second Language Learning, Civil Rights
Linguistic Society of America. 1325 18th Street NW Suite 211, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-835-1714; Fax: 202-835-1717; Web site: http://www.lsadc.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A