Get Australia's Language Potential PDF

By Michael Clyne

ISBN-10: 0868407275

ISBN-13: 9780868407272

Australia is a rustic with a large variety of languages in an international during which there are extra multilinguals than monolinguals. This e-book explores the ambiguity of a country wealthy in language assets, but characterised through monolingual pondering. With perception and fervour, Michael Clyne illustrates the ways that our language assets may be consolidated and additional constructed for common gain.

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By 2003, many independent schools had introduced bilingual education, whether religious studies in Arabic, Greek or Hebrew or an immersion program in French, German, Greek or Hebrew, which in some cases had been evaluated and received government funding. Suddenly an Anglican school in regional Victoria was told that introducing an AustLanguagePotential04 15/8/05 12:39 PM Page 24 2 4 • AU S T R A L I A ’ S L A N G UAG E P OT E N T I A L immersion program in French was illegal. A well-kept secret was that the clause had never been removed – but a phrase had been added – ‘or in relation to any bilingual education programme approved by the Board’.

Greater attention to language is thus a responsibility to ourselves and our nation. But there is another issue too – the information we communicate in each language will not be identical because of the close link between the structure of the language and the cultural exigencies of the communities. This is what prompted linguists such as Wilhelm von Humboldt, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf 9 to develop the twin notions of linguistic determinism and linguistic relativism – the ideas that every language has its own way of looking at the world and that language may predetermine ways of thinking and behaving.

Also, some psycholinguists work with the idealised concept of ‘balanced bilingualism’, which is a type of equilingualism usually defined in terms of certain psycholinguistic tasks to demonstrate neither language is dominant. It could constitute high or low proficiency in both languages. Main functions of language In order to consider the value of plurilingualism, we must first reflect on what it is that language does. First and foremost, it is the most important means of human communication, and this is one of the main things that distinguishes us humans from other beings.

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Australia's Language Potential by Michael Clyne


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