Archive for the ‘domains’ Category

1986 paper on language planning

17 April 2011

The Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania maintains working papers (papers in progress). Volume 2, Number 1 published in 1986 has a paper by Nancy Hornberger titled “Should Quechua Be Used in Puno’s Rural Schools?” (See also Quechua (que))

From the initial paragraph: “[This paper] considers the pros and cons of using Quechua in schools serving Quechua-speaking communities in highland Puno, Peru, from the point of view of its bearing on Quechua language maintenance.”

Three questions asked are:

  1. “Can language maintenance be planned?”
  2. “Can schools be agents for language maintenance?”
  3. “What would be required for the balance to be tipped in favor of Quechua language maintenance?”
Factors given that contribute to language decline are:
  • “the decreasing isolation of Quechua speakers”
  • “the low status and powerlessness of Quechua speakers”
  • “the low prestige and restricted use of the Quechua language”

One of the issues Hornberger discusses is domain usage. A domain is a setting in which language is used. Examples include the classroom, the telephone, television, and community meetings. One of the signs of a decline of a language is that the language is being used in fewer domains.

In conclusion, Hornberger states,

The situation in Puno…is not then so very different from other world contexts. In every case, what is needed for successful language maintenance planning and the effective use of schools as agents for language maintenance is: autonomy of the speech community in deciding about the use of languages in their schools and a societal context in which primary incentives exist for the use of one, two, or multiple languages in that and every other domain.