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Useful Language for Discursive ESSAYS

¨ To bring up other points or aspects: as far as, regarding, as for, with regard to

¨ To make contrasting points: yet, however, nevertheless, although, in spite, of,

¨ despite, while, on the other hand, it is argued that, opponents of this view say, there are people who oppose, contrary to what people believe

¨ To conclude: all in all, to sum up, in my opinion, in my view, to my mind

¨ To express reality: in fact, as a matter of fact, in practice, the fact is


Subtopic 2: English as lingua franca


1.Answer the questions:

· What languages have you studied and why? Give your personal reasons.

· What are some of the reasons why people learn foreign languages?

· Why did you choose the English language to learn and not any other one?

· How many nationalities have you communicated to and what language have you used in conversation?

· Is your country multinational? How many languages are spoken in your country? Name the minority languages spoken in Ukraine. What parts of Ukraine are mostly Ukrainian and Russian speaking territories?

· What is a demographic dominant language in your country? Are these varieties equal in social status and attitude?

· What langue is usually described as high and low? What language, used in your country dominates in most communicative spheres?

2.Study the following table, illustrating the national multilinguism in Europe and comment on the extend to which dominant official national languages in particular countries are spoken by linguistic minorities.

Language German   Turkish Greek Albanian Hungarian Finnish Swedish French Polish Bulgarian Danish Dutch Italian Russian Ukrainian Slovak Czech Slovene Macedonian Lithuanian Rumanian Spoken by indigenous linguistic minority in: Denmark, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Czechia, Poland Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine Italy, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Italy Austria, Serbia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine Sweden, Norway, Russia Finland Italy Lithuania, Czechia, Ukraine Romania, Greece, Ukraine Germany France Slovenia, Croatia Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine Romania, Slovakia, Poland Hungary, Romania, Czechia Poland, Romania, Slovakia Austria, Italy Greece, Albania Poland Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia



1.1Read the abstract from the article about multilingualism and state your point of view as to the idea of the language policy in your country

Nearly all European nations are multilingual to a certain extent. Perhaps the most multilingual of all the countries in Europe, apart from Russia (most of which is in Asia anyway, of course), is Romania. The largest single group amongst the 24 million or so population have Rumanian as their mother tongue, but at least fourteen other languages are spoken natively in the country. Accurate numbers are not available, but Roman-speaking Gypsies constitute the largest minority with at least 10 per cent of the population, while the other large minorities are Hungarians, Germans, and Jews who speak Yiddish or, in some cases, Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish). Other minority languages include Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Slovak, Tartar. Turkish, Bulgarian, Czech, Greek and Armenian. Multilingualism on this scale clearly brings problems both on governmental and individual level.

Problems for individuals and groups of individuals, especially those who are members of linguistic minorities.

Unlike members of the majority-language group, they have to acquire proficiency in at least two languages before they can function as full members of the national community in which they live. Perhaps the biggest problem they have to face is educational. In some cases the problem will not, perhaps, be too severe, because the two languages involved may not be particularly different. Frisian children learning Dutch are presented with nothing like the difficulty of Sami children learning Swedish, since Frisian and Dutch are quite closely related languages. Or it may be that the educational policy of the country concerned is reasonably intelligent and sophisticated linguistically, and the children, as should always be the case, learn to read and write in and are taught through the medium of their native language in the initial stages of their schooling, with the majority language being introduced later on. This approach has been adopted in many parts of Wales, as well as in Norway and other places. Its aims are that the children should acquire an ability to read, write and speak both their native language and the majority language.

In other cases the minority child may be faced with very considerable difficulty. This may occur where the two languages involved are not closely related and also, more importantly, where the educational policy of a particular nation-state is to discourage, or simply to ignore or not to encourage, minority languages. In extreme cases the minority language may be forbidden or disapproved of in school, and children punished or actively discouraged from using it there. This was formerly true both of Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in Scotland - at one time a law was in force that actually made the speaking of Gaelic illegal - and was for many years the policy of the Turkish government concerning Kurdish.

The effects of the attempted imposition of an alien national language such as English or Turkish may be very serious. The attempted replacement of one language by another entails an effort to obliterate whole cultures; it may be indicative of illogical ethnic attitudes ('the Welsh are inferior to the English'; 'the Kurds do not exist'); and it can very seriously impair the educational progress of children who have to learn a new language before they can understand what the teacher is saying, let alone read and write.

This approach was also for many years the policy in the United States, where it may have been at least partly responsible, together with the broader social attitudes to minority languages that went with it, for the widespread and rapid assimilation of minority language groups to the English-speaking majority. Today, considerable provision is made for some minority groups, notably Spanish-speakers and Native American Indians, to be educated in their own language, and certain other steps have also been taken: public notices in New York City, for example, are posted in Spanish as well as English, to cater for the large Puerto Rican community now living there. However, even the larger, more rural linguistic minorities such as those consisting of speakers of French (in the North-East and in Louisiana) and Pennsylvania Dutch (a form of German) are rapidly declining in size. In all, about 34 million Americans currently have a mother-tongue other than English.

Happily, the 'English-only' approach and the attitude associated with it have almost disappeared from the educational scene in the United Kingdom too, although there are many Welsh and Gaelic speakers who are very unhappy about the status of their languages.

Problems for governments and others concerned with national organizations of various kinds.

Where language is a defining characteristic of a minority ethnic group wanting independence, particularly where other (for example physical) characteristics are not significant, linguistic factors are likely to play an important role in any separatist movement they might undertake. This is partly in response to practical problems, such as education, butmainly a result of the fact that language acts as an important symbol of group consciousness and solidarity. The extent to which this is true is revealed in the part played by linguistic groupings in the development of new independent nations in Europe after the breakdown of the older, multilingual empires. As national consciousness grew, languages like Finnish and several others developed a literature, underwent standardization, and emerged as national languages of fairly monoglot areas when independence was achieved.

The rapid increase in the number of independent European nation-states in the past hundred years or so has therefore been paralleled by a rapid growth in the number of autonomous, national and official languages. Therefore, many governments regrettably regard as a problem the fact that language can act as a focus of discontent for minorities wanting more power, independence, or annexation by a neighbouring state. Where governments do not regard this as threatening or undesirable, they may well regard linguistic minorities benevolently (or simply ignore them). The modern British government, for example, is not seriously intolerant, though they unfortunately may be unconcerned, about Gaelic speakers. Scandinavian governments, similarly, do not obviously fear anything undesirable from the Sami. The government of the Republic of Ireland, too, gives active support to the minority language (something between r and 3 per cent of the population speak Irish natively), and have made it a compulsory subject in schools. This, of course, is because Irish was formerly the language of all -he Irish and as such symbolizes national culture and identity rather than dissidence of any kind.

On the other hand, in cases where governments unfortunately regard linguistic minorities as potentially 'subversive', they may react very differently and foolishly fail to perceive that minority language communities which are recognized as such and well treated, for example in education, are less likely to become disaffected. Their fears, from their own illiberal, centralist point of view, may often be justified: language loyalty can be a powerful weapon, and has often been manipulated to political advantage. In many cases a repressed or discouraged minority language is also the language of a possibly antagonistic neighbouring state - this has been true of Macedonian in Greece, Slovenian in Italy, and German in France and Italy - and the fear is that language loyalty may prove to be stronger than national loyalty. In other cases, disfavoured minority languages may simply have acted as catalysts of discontent, because minority groups have had one additional reason to be dissatisfied with their lot.

The activities of governments having to do with language can be described as instances of language planning. In very many cases activities of this kind, unlike many of those we have just described, can be regarded as both necessary and commendable – for example in countries which are faced with the problem of having to select a national language or languages and, subsequently, of developing and standardizing it/them. This type of language planning, which decides which role is to be played by which language, is known as status planning.

However, communication problems in many areas are not necessarily as serious as one might think. Usually people were able to communicate with each other quite easily, in spite of the fact that they did not know each other's languages, because they were also familiar with other languages like Luganda, Swahili and English: each of these three languages was capable of functioning as a lingua franca. A lingua franca is a language which is used as a means of communication among people who have no native language in common. Some of the languages which are used in this way in Africa, like English and French, are not indigenous to the area in question and are often learned through formal education. Many African lingua francas, though, are indigenous, and may have come to be used as such because of the political dominance of their native speakers, like Luganda, or because they were the language of prominent traders in the area, like Swahili. In West Africa one of the most important lingua francas which is still used for predominantly trading purposes is Hausa. Hausa is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken originally in the region of Lake Chad in north-central Africa, but it has become so widely known that it is used for trading and other purposes by many millions of speakers in areas such as Ghana, Nigeria and Dahomey. Many languages have spread as lingua francas in the same kind of way, only to contract again later for reasons of economics or politics.

1.2 Answer the questions:

1. What is the most multilingual country in Europe, apart from Russia? Name the minority languages spoken in this country.

2. What problems do individuals and groups of individuals, especially those who are members of linguistic minorities, face in a multilingual society?

3. How the practice of language policy is called when the two languages involved in multilingualism are not closely related (in extreme / loyal cases)?

4. How educational problem is solved in Denmark, Wales, and Norway and in the majority of other places in the world where the languages are closely related?

5. What are the effects of the attempted imposition of an alien national language such as English or Turkish?

6. Why the policy of disapproval of minority languages in schools in the United States is considered to be at least partly responsible? Has American language policy changed nowadays? What steps have been taken abolish the 'English-only' approach and the attitude associated with it?

7. What problems the governments and others concerned with national organizations of various kinds face in a multilingual society?

8. Why language is considered to be very important in any separatist movement?

9. What steps governments usually take when they

- do not regard multilingualism as threatening or undesirable

- regard linguistic minorities as potentially 'subversive'.

10. Can the extreme language policy be justified? What are the reasons for that?

11. What government activities in terms of the language policy are described?

12. In what cases language planning is regarded as both necessary and commendable? How the type of language planning is called, which decides which role is to be played by which language in a society?

13. Are communication problems in multilingual society necessarily as serious as one might think?

14. What is lingua franca? What languages you know function (ed) as lingua franca?

15. What factors are necessary for a language to become lingua franca? Should it be indigenous or not indigenous to the area in question?

1.3 Discuss in groups the problems of multilingualism individuals / national governments face in your country.

2.1 Read the article “World English” from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language by David Crystal (activity 14.1 A), follow the activity of the book (14. 1 B).

2.2 Discuss these questions with your partners:

1. Why is there no longer an issue in the minds of many people?

2. What is the attitude to the English language in China?

3. How many countries use English as an official or semi-official language?

4. How can the number of foreign learners of English be doubled?

5. How many children study English as an additional language at primary and secondary levels?

6. The British Council helps a quarter of a million foreign students to learn English in various parts of the world, doesn't it?

2.3Define if the statement is true or false?

1. English has become a world language by virtue of the political and economic progress made by English-speaking nations in the past 200 years.

2. Mother-tongue speakers have now reached around 300 million; and 100 million use English as a second language.

3. In China there has recently been a decrease of enthusiasm for English language studies.

4. English is either dominant or well established in all six continents.

5. Half of the world's scientists write in English.

6. Three-quarters of the world's mail is written in English.

2.4Complete the sentences:

1. According to conservative estimates....

2. More radical estimates, which include speakers with a lower level of language fluency
and awareness, have suggested that....

3. The variation results largely from....

4. English is the main language of...

3.1Read the article “It may be time to brush up your Mandarin” and follow the activities after the text.

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 191

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