This module explores language issues in human rights and linguistic approaches to them, using sociolinguistics as an empirical, comparative core discipline. Students will learn:
* Which human rights are linguistic in nature (whole or part)
* Whether and how language rights qualify as basic HR
* What sorts of conflicts occur around language, and why
* How scholars from different disciplines approach conflicts over language
* How language rights are negotiated in institutional contexts such as the courts, government policy, legislation, schools, healthcare organisations, also language planning through national and international bodies and organisations.
Language is often viewed as manifesting a close relationship with social categories like race, nationality, ethnicity, class, regional origin, & gender. These associations are problematic, both practically for speakers asserting or negotiating their social identity, access to services & human rights; and theoretically for scholars investigating areas such as citizenship & political participation, (im)migration, indigenous peoples/cultures, language extinction, globalization, maintenance/crossing of ethnic boundaries, mass media discourse, the construction of gender ideologies, literacy & development, equal opportunity in the workplace, etc.
We introduce a broad human rights framework, and a sociolinguistic approach to language use and speaker identity. We survey important topics in language rights, focus on the types of conflicts which occur around language, consider the principles upon which they can be understood and investigated, and examine efforts at solutions, as well as locating attempts to identify and make language rights manifest within a broad context of national and international agreements.
16 Course intro. Foundations of sociolinguistics: Principles & perspectives. Human Rights: Basic approaches.
17 Linguistic Human Rights: The liberal paradigm & critical responses.
18 Language minorities I: Ethnic & National minorities. Language policies in multilingual states. Conflicts over multilingualism.
19 Extinction and revitalization of Indigenous languages. Loss of linguistic diversity.
20 Dialect vs Standard in monolingual context: Language minorities II: 'Race' & regional minorities.
22 Language Planning and Policy: Principles & trends in LP/LP.
23 National standards abroad: When majorities become minorities.
24 Vulnerable groups: Witnesses & minorities in court; Language testing of refugees.
25 From language rights to language survival. Student presentations.
* Introduce Linguistic & other students to basuc concepts and resources in studying Human Rights, as far as they interact with language issues;
* Give Human Rights & other students a basic understanding of socio-linguistic perspectives and principles, as far as they interact with language rights;
*Identify, document and explore common types of language conflicts that potentially involve human rights violations;
* Investigate language policy, planning and attempts at resolving language issues which impinge on individual and group human rights; and
* Familiarise students with basic documents and resources concerning the nature of language rights vis-à-vis other human rights.
Learning & Teaching Methods
One 2-hr lecture per week x 10 weeks; one 2-hr revision class in term 3.
50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark
2-hour Exam (50%), plus coursework assignments totalling 3000-words (50%).
1 oral presentation (unassessed).
Rules of assessment: one item:
ITEM / WEIGHT/ DEADLINE, DATE & TIME -
Assignment 1 / 100% / Thursday 25th Apr 2013 (wk 30).
Exam Duration and Period
2:00 hour exam during Summer Examination period.
Assessment: 2-hour exam (50%) plus coursework totalling 3000-words (50%). One oral presentation (unassessed)
Assignment Deadline - Thursday 24th April 2014
Module webpage for previous years contains much more detailed information about module, including calendar, assignments, reading lists, online notes and weblinks. Some information will change for the coming year. A recent previous module page is available online at: http://courses.essex.ac.uk/lg/lg474/index.htm
- F Coulmas, ed. 1997. Handbook of Sociolinguistics. (Blackwell).
J Freeland & D Patrick, eds. 2004. Language Rights and Language Survival. Manchester: St Jerome Pub.
T. Ricento, ed. 2005. An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory & Method. Blackwell.
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove & Robert Phillipson (eds). 1995. Linguistic Human Rights: Overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.