Multilingualism and the education of minority children

  • Tove Skutnabb-Kangas


Linguicism, the domination of one language at the expense of others, is a reflection of an ideology, associated with racismo. The majority of almost 200 states of the world are officially monolingual, yet, these states contain speakers of sorne 4,000 to 5,000 languages. A comparative analysis of the success of educational programs in different countries in reaching the goals of bilingualism, shows that most European and europeanized countries do not organize the education of minory children so that they will succeed in becoming bilingual. Instead, the ohildrem themselves, their parents, their group and their culture are blamed for the failure. In the author's opinion, it should be the duty of the educational systems globally to help these children to become bilingual. To counteract linguicism, a dec:laration of children' s linguistic human rights is proposed. The autor concludes that it is not a question of information but one of power structure. Thus, it is the job of linguists to produce information, but unless the right questions are asked in their research and why, their arguments might be supporting linguicism and racismoA linguistic science wich is aware of these political involvements can only be militant. And it is the tudy of linguists in their respective countries and regions to assume responsability for this task, this struggle for the defense and development of their own language and cultures. (posúace to L-J. Calvet, Linguistique et Colonialisme).
Tove Skutnabb-Kangas
Dr. Skutnabb-Kangas obtained two doctorates from the University of Helsinki Her research focuses on linguistic imperialism. Dr. Skutnabb-Kangas has conducted research in Lund, Sweden, Harvard, U. S. A. and Roskilde, Denmark where she has lived since 1979.