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The Sociolinguistics of Language Education in International Contexts

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Edith Esch and Martin Solly

In many parts of the world the language education scenario is increasingly dynamic, as demographic, economic and social changes powerfully influence socio-political agendas in the sphere of language education. These in turn impact on complex issues such as linguistic pluralism, multiculturalism, and marginalization. This is especially so in the sphere of second language education where local, national and regional concerns often dominate the objectives underpinning policy choice and prioritisation.
This volume brings together scholars and researchers from a wide range of different educational contexts and turns a sociolinguistic lens on some of the key areas of concern for researchers in language education: critical awareness of power and identity issues; competence in dealing with new sociolinguistic repertoires, modalities and literacies; ethical concerns for all who are involved. The ‘case study’ approach enables the reader to reflect on and critically engage with these issues in a rich variety of contextual situations, and the volume as a whole provides a useful overview of (second) language education in the world today.

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EDITH ESCH / MARTIN SOLLY Introduction 7

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EDITH ESCH / MARTIN SOLLY Introduction 1. Rationale In many parts of the world the language education scenario is increas- ingly dynamic, as the globalizing process gathers momentum. Indeed, demographic, economic and social changes powerfully influence so- cio-political agendas in the sphere of language education. These in turn impact on complex issues such as linguistic pluralism, multicultu- ralism, and marginalization. This is especially so in the sphere of sec- ond language education where local, national and regional concerns often dominate the objectives underpinning policy choice and prioriti- sation. This volume brings together scholars and researchers from a wide range of different educational contexts, with the aim of turning a sociolinguistic lens on some of the key issues in contemporary lan- guage education. The chapters highlight the problems of the reproduc- tion and segmentation of language markets which may disadvantage learners lacking the resources to access education, both in former colonies, as well as in emerging economies. They draw attention to key areas of concern for sociolinguistic researchers: critical awareness of power and identity issues; competence in dealing with new socio- linguistic repertoires, modalities and literacies; ethical concerns for all who are involved. The ‘case study’ approach of sections two and three enables the reader to reflect on and critically engage with these issues in a variety of contextual situations, with each chapter providing mi- cro level insights. As a whole, however, the volume also provides the 8 Edith Esch / Martin Solly reader with what can be considered a macro...

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