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Language policies in the English-speaking countries.

To begin with I would like to say that nearly all European countries contain linguistic minorities- groups of speakers who have as their native variety a language other than that which is the official, dominant or major language in the country where they live.

It must be stressed that multilingualism brings problems for governments and others concerned with national organizations of various kinds. Multilingualism also brings with it problems for individuals especially for those who are members of linguistic minorities. They have to acquire proficiency in at least to 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 one. The educational policy of a country can be reasonably sophisticated linguistically. It requires children to read, write and speak both their native language and the majority language.

As far as we know English developed from Anglo-Saxon and is a Germanic language. However, all the invading peoples; particularly the Norman French, influenced the English language and we can find many words in English which are French in origin. Nowadays all Welsh, Scottish and Irish people speak English, even if they speak their own language as well. Moreover, all the countries have their own special accents and dialects, and their people are easily recognizable as soon as they speak. People from the 4 countries in the UK have difficulty in understanding one another because of these different accents. A southern English accent is generally accepted to be the most easily understood, and is the accent usually taught to foreigners.

But sometimes the educational policy of a particular nation is to discharge, to ignore or not to encourage minority languages. In extreme cases the minority language may be forbidden or disapproved of in school. This was true both of Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in Scotland- at one time a law force that actually made the speaking of Gaelic illegal.

Happily this approach (подход) and the attitudes associated with it have almost disappeared from the educational scene in the UK: Gaelic and Welsh are spoken freely and studied at schools.

Language loyalty (верность) can be a powerful weapon and has often manipulated to political advantage. Where language is a defining characteristic of a minority ethnic group wanting independence, particularly where other characteristics are not significant, linguistic factors are likely to play an important role in any separatist movement.

However, communication problems in multilingual areas are not necessary as serious as one might think. People are able to communicate with each other easily because they were also familiar with other languages capable of functioning as a lingua franca. It is a language which is used as a means of communication among people who have no language in common.

A further solution has sometimes been advocated for problems of multilingualism- that artificial languages, such as Esperanto should be adopted as a lingua franca.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 922

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