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On the role of agency, marginalization, multilingualism, and language policy in maintaining language vitality: Commentary on Mufwene

On the role of agency, marginalization, multilingualism, and language policy in maintaining... <p>Abstract:</p><p> This commentary focuses on three main topics raised in Mufwene’s (2017) target article, in addition to language policy, which I propose must be taken into account in order to support language vitality. First, this commentary explores the nature and role of speakers’ agency regarding the fate of their language. Second, it addresses whether it is always the case that populations shift because they sense that preserving a language can marginalize them, since this is presented as a possible cause of language loss in Mufwene’s article. Third, it reflects on the role of multilingualism in language death. I argue that multilingualism and/or competing languages need not result in language loss but may rather result in language coexistence, as long as each language fulfills a distinct function. Finally, I explore the key role of language planning and policy in determining the life or death of languages, likely to be one of the most effective ways to ensure language vitality, if the right language policy is adopted. </p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Language Linguistic Society of America

On the role of agency, marginalization, multilingualism, and language policy in maintaining language vitality: Commentary on Mufwene

Language , Volume 93 (4) – Dec 21, 2017

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Publisher
Linguistic Society of America
Copyright
Copyright © Linguistic Society of America.
ISSN
1535-0665

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p> This commentary focuses on three main topics raised in Mufwene’s (2017) target article, in addition to language policy, which I propose must be taken into account in order to support language vitality. First, this commentary explores the nature and role of speakers’ agency regarding the fate of their language. Second, it addresses whether it is always the case that populations shift because they sense that preserving a language can marginalize them, since this is presented as a possible cause of language loss in Mufwene’s article. Third, it reflects on the role of multilingualism in language death. I argue that multilingualism and/or competing languages need not result in language loss but may rather result in language coexistence, as long as each language fulfills a distinct function. Finally, I explore the key role of language planning and policy in determining the life or death of languages, likely to be one of the most effective ways to ensure language vitality, if the right language policy is adopted. </p>

Journal

LanguageLinguistic Society of America

Published: Dec 21, 2017

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