Posted: March 15th, 2023
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Language Policy Essay
For this assignment, you are being asked to write a short research paper about some form of language policy – looking at issues learned about in class that have had some impact on you or your ancestors, your language (learning/use) goals, and your current beliefs about issues around some language policy. For example: Should English be the de facto lingua franca of international commerce? What language should be used in education and taught in schools?, How does language planning and policy affect the use of or attitude towards “minority” languages in a given nation/state or other contexts?, How can language policy and planning promote bi- or multilingualism or the maintenance/conservation of heritage languages?, How can language policy and planning cause some languages to be “abandoned” and not be passed down to the next generation? etc….
Connect your experience as a user of one or more languages to concepts covered throughout this course. Think about how your experience as a speaker of a language (or languages) has been formed and about who or what has been part of this formation. You should contextualize your experiences in the larger social setting and explore how these experiences have shaped your own attitudes about language and language policy. To do this, apart from your academic research, I encourage you to interview family members and friends with whom you have grown up. Final draft is due Wednesday of week 10 by 11:59pm via TurnItIn.
A thesis statement which may connect your personal language experiences to at least one topic as it relates to policy that we have discussed in class.
Develop the body of the paper connecting it to your topic and thesis statement – develop your thesis and how that relates to at least three concepts covered in class.
A well-integrated reference to at least three sources (These should include concepts from the class readings, discussions, and lectures (do not cite lectures as they are not academic sources)).
Correct use of terms from class when appropriate (e.g., Speech community, classic language planning, corpus planning, prestige planning, linguistic discrimination, linguicide, mutual intelligibility, overt/covert prestige, diglossia, examples of bottom-up or top-down policies, etc.…)
The paper should be clearly written, proofread, and no longer than 750 words (references, title page and abstract do not count towards the overall word limit).
The thesis statement is the point (topic) of your paper; it should summarize how your personal experience relates to course concepts. It should be one sentence, clear, concise, and the body of your paper should support and connect to it. You do not need to include your three concepts in the thesis – these can be outlined in the body of your draft and may be introduced in the intro paragraph.
Some generic examples:
Language policies in my home country growing up affected attitudes about the status of my regional variety motivated me to switch to the standard form after leaving home.
My positive attitudes towards my heritage language allowed me to maintain it throughout my adolescence and additive bilingual education has played an important role in this process.
My family’s language use has been affected by the top-down language policies enacted in my home country, as we have shifted from our heritage language, spoken by my grandparents, to only speaking (insert language).
Being part of the Tagalog speech community helped my family to maintain the language despite subtractive bilingual education programs I experience growing up.
My school had a subtractive bilingual program, so we switched from Chinese to English medium instruction by the 8th grade.
Much like other heritage speakers, I have limited literacy in my heritage language, but I can be mistaken for a monolingual Hindi speaker under the right circumstances.
Going to Saturday School helped me become literate in my heritage language despite being schooled in an English-Only environment.
References & Use of Terms from Class
The references should be to academic sources i.e.: material we read or watch in class. You do not need to cite or define the terms we learned in class unless you are referencing a particular reading.
By “well-integrated” I mean that the source should be relevant, and it should demonstrate or add information which helps to contextualize or better understand your own experience. The source should support your main and/or sub- points of your paper’s thesis. Please meet with us during office hours for clarifications about your final draft.
Tips for Interviewing family members/friends:
Interviews should help to add context to your paper’s thesis. If you decide to use interviews, please come up with some questions ahead of time and use the same set with each person. You should submit your questions (not the actual interview) as an appendix in your final paper (the appendix goes at the very end of the paper after the reference list). Please meet with us if you have any queries about the interview or paper format (interview questions and references do not count towards the overall word limit)
Style and clarity
Use of APA style is required for paper, title page, and references. Although you should include a title page, an abstract is optional. All papers are to be word-processed, proofread, and solely the work of the author (references, title page and abstract do not count towards the overall word limit).
Though the paper need not be written in a very formal register, please conform to Standard Academic English. The writing should be clear and proofread.
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