LINGUIST List 2.145

Thursday, 18 Apr 1991

Disc: Banned Languages

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. R.Hudson, teaching about non-standard dialects
  2. , Banned Languages
  3. , Banned Languages
  4. "ELISE EMERSON MORSE-GAGNE", Banned languages
  5. , RE: Queries
  6. Murvet Enc, Re: Kurdish

Message 1: teaching about non-standard dialects

Date: Wed, 17 Apr 91 17:27:03 +0100
From: R.Hudson <>
Subject: teaching about non-standard dialects
I issued a general inquiry about school systems where children are taught
about non-standard dialects/languages, and John Phillips kindly suggested
Swiss German and Welsh. He may be right, but I'm doubtful, so let me make
it clear what I'm after: any school system where children are not only
allowed to use local dialect, and perhaps even encouraged to do so in some
situations, but where they learn some of the rules of the local dialect even
(perhaps especially) when these depart from the standard language. As I
understand it, German-speaking Switzerland and Welsh-speaking Wales are
diglossic, meaning that everyone speaks non-standard at home but only the
standard dialect/language is sufficiently respectable to be taught the
rules of in school. E.g. Swiss speakers can't necessarily tell you how many
cases they have, though they may be able to tell you about the cases of
High German.

Dick Hudson
Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London,
Gower Street,
London WC1E 6BT
(071) 387 7050 ext 3152
home: (081) 340 1253
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Message 2: Banned Languages

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1991 11:54 CDT
Subject: Banned Languages
The case of German and French in the Alsace-Lorraine (or Elsass-Lothringen) 
area is an interesting one. The area was annexed by Germany in 1871, and 
German became the language of the schools. Prior to WWI many German 
speakers moved to this area. During the war French was banned "even in 
pubs and on the street." After WWI the area was returned to France, when a 
're-frenchification' took place. During the war years 1941-45 the area was 
reoccupied by Germany. After the war German was banned in the schools.

While German is not now "banned" in this area, it has no official 
recognition, and is considered a foreign language, and stigmatized.

The situation will probably change again because of the EC, with many German 
speaking people moving into the area, and many French working across the 
border in the more developed area of Germany.

[All information in the first two paragraphs taken from: 
_Variation_in_German_, by Stephen Barbour and Patrick Stevenson. Cambridge 
U. P., 1990. Pages 234-235]

Alan F. Lacy
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Message 3: Banned Languages

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 91 16:05:47 MDT
From: <yorickNMSU.Edu>
Subject: Banned Languages
Re: John Phillips on banned languages.

Good to see UK language policy across the centuries getting
an airing; it stops me feeling homesick or bored. John
Phillips refers to the late Nineteenth Century laws requiring
compulsory English-medium education in Wales, and adds "None
of this applies any more of course". Is this really true?
Are Welsh children the only ones in the EC being sent
out into the world crippled, without an education in a major,
or even an EC, language? If he's right, this is worse than the
worst Ive heard for years about the British education

Yorick Wilks
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Message 4: Banned languages

Date: 16 Apr 91 23:14:00 EST
Subject: Banned languages
I believe that in some schools for deaf children in this country, one or
another sign language is banned--either because a different sign language
is being used or because the school is committed to teaching the children
to speak aloud in English. Anyone who specializes in sign languages--Judy
Kegl springs to mind; Ceil Lucas or Clayton Valli also (try Gallaudet U.)--
would know infinitely more about this than I do.
--Elise Morse-Gagne (UPenn Linguistics Dept.)
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Message 5: RE: Queries

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1991 18:41:48 -0400
From: <chambersHG.ULeth.CA>
Subject: RE: Queries
Reply to R. Hudson
You requested info about school systems where students are learning about
their own non-standard dialect. I recall there was a movement in the
United States in the late 1960s early 1970s where African Americna
children were being taught to read IN their own "dialect" (not necessarily
learning ABOUT that dialect in contrast to standard forms). It seems
that there were schools in the state of Michagan trying this. I can't recall
specifics at the moment. i'd suggest you contact Lisa Delpit who wrote
"The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in the Educating other peoples
children" and "Skills and other dilemmasof a progressive Black educator.
both published in Harvard Educat. Review (1988) and (1986). Delpit
was at Univ. of Alaska but I'm not sure now.
Good luck,
Cynthia Chambers,
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

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Message 6: Re: Kurdish

Date: Wed, 17 Apr 91 13:51 CDT
From: Murvet Enc <>
Subject: Re: Kurdish
A short note on Kurdish. I found out that the ban on Kurdish has NOT been
rescinded. The proposal came to the parliament, and the only part of it that
was passed was allowing Kurdish to be spoken at home and perhaps in songs. I'm
saying 'perhaps' because the news I got was garbled.

As for the information that the ban in Turkey was against all languages which
are not official languages of some state, this was news to me, and I'm not sure
how many peole in Turkey are aware of it. Unquestionably, Kurdish was targeted.
 You can bet that noone is going to get prosecuted for speaking Welsh or Basque.

[End Linguist List, Vol. 2, No. 145]
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