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Multilingualism common sense vs linguistic perspectives Jacomine NortierAILA 2008 Utrecht University25 August Netherlands.

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Presentation on theme: "Multilingualism common sense vs linguistic perspectives Jacomine NortierAILA 2008 Utrecht University25 August Netherlands."— Presentation transcript:

1 Multilingualism common sense vs linguistic perspectives Jacomine NortierAILA 2008 Utrecht University25 August Netherlands

2 Topics: Lingua Trail Media about multilingualism (L1 and L2); integration Multilingual teenagers about bilingualism Discrepancies! The fear for loss of Dutch

3 Lingua trail September 2006, European AILA meeting in Bolzano/Bozen. Rita Franceschini: European network of long distance walking trails in order to observe and document linguistic diversity. Compare

4 Our axiomas (not to be discussed): Parents should help their children to discover the world in a language they all feel comfortable with. A good command of L1 supports the learning of other languages.

5 A lay-person’s perspective on multilingualism - through the media: Numerous examples such as: “Integration is impossible as long as people continue to speak their own (other) language at home.” Reaction by anonymous Internet user: “En wij integreren wel degelijk!! als je op straat ziet hoe die jongeren onderling praten dat is alleen in het NEDERLANDS, daardoor vergeten zij hun moedertaal, En als nog blijft Verdonk zeggen dat Marokkanen te veel Marokkaans onderling praten, ik zou niet weten waar zij het vandaan haalt.” (But we DO integrate; Young Moroccans only use DUTCH and forget their L1. Verdonk (former minister - JN) keeps on telling us that we Moroccans do not integrate. Where does she get that from?)

6 Former minister of Integration, Rita Verdonk; January, 2006: “I want rules of behaviour about what we think is important in order to live here. It should be forbidden to use any other language in public than Dutch.” Reaction of another prominent member of her party: “We should make clear that it is difficult to live here if you don’t have Dutch in your genes.”

7 Volkskrant, 20 August, 2008: “Migrants who speak Dutch well run the same risk of overweight as native Dutch people. In other words: integration has a positive effect on weight.” (JN:) Ergo: when you speak Dutch, you are integrated and don’t suffer (very much) from overweight, contrary to those poor migrants who don’t speak Dutch

8 Questions from a concerned school director: What are you linguists going to do about the fact that so many migrant families don’t speak Dutch at home? How can we help them to integrate if they refuse to adopt Dutch as their most important language?

9 Integration Thus: Language is associated with integration But: What is integration?? (based on work by Richard Bourhis) Important: integration has to come from both the newcomers (minority) ànd the majority group

10 Minority perspective: does it make sense to keep yes no yes no our own language & culture? does it make sense to have yes yes no no contact with the majority? 1. integration 2. assimilation 3. segregation / separation 4. marginalisation / individualisation

11 Majority perspective: are they allowed to maintain yes no yes no their language & culture? are they allowed to jointhe yes yes no no majority group? 1. integration 2. assimilation 3. segregation / separation 4. marginalisation / individualisation

12 According to this model: The Dutch media & common sense seem to aim at assimilation And what about members of minority groups?

13 Quotes from interviews with bilingual teenagers; Gulnur (L1 Turkish): Mijn neefje nu, eh hij is nu negen jaar en hij heeft echt problemen op school, met eh Nederlands enzo, maar ook met Turks. Ik weet niet, dat ligt gewoon aan je taalgevoel volgens mij, gewoon hoe je bent met taal (my nephew is nine and he really has problems at school, with Dutch but also with Turkish. I believe this is a matter of linguistic sensitivity, how you handle a language) Mijn Turks is goed en ja, mijn Nederlands ook, dus. (My Turkish is good and my Dutch too, )

14 continued: M’n moedertaal is Turks en ik ben echt- mijn Turks is goed, en mijn Nederlands is ook goed, ik bedoel dat eh heeft geen invloed op mijn Nederlands, echt niet. (My native language is Turkish and I’m really – my Turkish is good and my Dutch is good, I mean that doesn’t influence my Dutch, believe me.)

15 Salaheddine (L1 Moroccan Arabic): J: Zijn er ook mensen in je familie die slecht Arabisch spreken? (Are there people in your family who don’t speak Arabic well?) S: Ja en die spreken dan ook minder slecht- eh die spreken dan ook niet slecht Nederlands maar wel minder goed… (Yes and then they don’t speak bad Dutch but it is less…) … en ik zie ook dat mensen die haast de moedertaal niet meer spreken hebben ook héél veel problemen met een andere taal te leren. (and I also see that people who almost don’t use their native language have lots of problems when they learn another language)

16 Çağla (L1 Turkish): Maar je moet toch een basistaal hebben om een andere taal te leren? (But don’t you need a base language in order to learn another language?)

17 According to the model: These teenagers clearly have an integrative perspective.

18 Discrepancy: Media (representing majority perspective; common sense): L1 prohibits learning of L2 (why??) Bilinguals themselves: L1 does not prohibit, even supports the learning of L2 Perspective of majority: assimilation Perspective of minority: integration Discussion: do you recognize this from your own country? And isn’t it self-evident that members of minority groups want to keep their own language/culture?

19 Linguistic perspective should be (according to me, how about you?): Instrumental, based on objective research: irrespective of assimilationist/integrative perspective  L1 supports learning of other Ls; facts Another (weak) argument: linguistic rights

20 The fear for loss of Dutch Discussion about change (linguists) versus decay (lay-persons). Examples in Dutch: 3 rd person plural object pronoun is used in subject position: *(??) HUN zijn aardig (them are nice) ZIJ zijn aardig (they are nice)

21 Linguistic analysis, other languages: Dich kumpst (Limburgian dialect) 2SING OBJ come Dat heeft ‘m gezien (Flemish) That has 3SING OBJ seen Mi lobi ju (Sranang) 1SING OBJlove you Moi, je préfère X (French) 1SING OBJI prefer X

22 Linguistically: zij  hun is understandable. Socially: resisted but change in progress

23 Other examples: The invasion of English; reaction from linguists: Mainly lexical, and morphologically integrated: -een filetje saven -survivallen in de Ardennen -stringen kopen

24 LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE???? Analyse, describe But: Herbert Blankensteijn (journalist); November, 2005: linguists should protect the quality of Dutch in stead of describing it.

25 Conclusion: What linguists do is (often) not appreciated by non-linguists Lay persons have clear ideas about what linguists should do: protect Dutch against loss and decay. Do we want to change this? How?


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