[This talk is available in Moniviestin: click here.]
Here are some points I picked up for my first blog entry:
Lo Bianco started off with a critical question: What do teachers (and others) who are dealing with multilingualism in everyday context actually do compared to what they are said to do? Do language policy makers recognize those practices?
Taking that account he is working towards a new conceptualization of language planning.
1. A textual legal-political element, policy makers, conducted with the instruments of law and administration.
2. A discursive argumentative-rhetorical element, citizen-centred, conducted in debate, argument and persuasion;
3. A performance dimension, in the hands (or mouths) of teachers, >> linguistic choices, shaping the communicative fortunes of learners. (What actually is going on?)
He showed very interestingly how language planning and language policy making has been around already very early in the history, in various forms: Verbal policing, i.e. stating what language(s) can be talked and where for verbally cleansed space, or wanting to break the hold of traditional culture by doing language politics on genre (by Plato).
One effective tradition of European language planning is to name the language after the ethnic national group, “Create a nation by inventing a new language first and name it after the collectivity”. This tradition is also related to how many times multilingualism is seen as a threat for creating a sovereign state. Multiple languages create mayhem and war. It is thought that one language creates peace on earth.
When talking looking at language planning texts it is important to pay attention on what is named as a key problem. When key problems are named there are some interesting points that affect how the problem is formulated:
What is counted as literacy. Documents of ‘black on white’ or are graphs and other multimodal texts included at all when people talk about literacy? When talking about literacy skills and 100% rates of literacy it would be interesting to ask who is actually fully literate when reading, for example, a phone bill or patterns for making clothes?
What about different groups and their literacy skills? For example all Australians have variable literacy, so the question is: Can there be a comprehensive policy for general literacy improvement?
Lo Bianco wrapped up his talk by stating that language policy in the future should be more public:
public texts, public discourse (debate, argument, persuasion) and performative action (e.g. parenting, teaching, identity formation)
A comment from the audience used an interesting phrasing for this: Open source language planning. Would this kind of an approach guarantee for more people to get involved in language planning, especially those whose language practices are controlled by policy making?
He will continue this discussion in his workshop on Tuesday.