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Vanishing Languages in Context

Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives


Edited By Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt

This volume grew out of the 36 th International LAUD Symposium, which was held in March 2014 at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Landau, Germany. There is general consensus among language experts that slightly more than half of today’s 7,000 languages are under severe threat of extinction even within fifty to one hundred years. The 13 papers contained in this volume explore the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why this matters, and what can be done and achieved to document and support endangered languages especially in the context of an ever increasing globalized world. The issue of vanishing languages is discussed from a variety of methodologies and perspectives: sociolinguistics, language ecology, language contact, language policy/planning, attitudes and linguistic inequalities.
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Modupe M. Alimi - Micro language planning, minority languages and advocacy groups in Botswana


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Modupe M. Alimi

University of Botswana, Botswana

Micro language planning, minority languages and advocacy groups in Botswana

Abstract Botswana’s indigenous languages, other than Setswana, are disfavoured by the ‘two language only’ policy which accords English and Setswana recognition as official and national languages, respectively. Speakers of the other 26 indigenous languages, which have only minor status, and concerned groups who consider these languages threatened by the government’s macro language policy, have initiated ways of preserving them. This chapter examines the role of advocacy coalitions in Botswana in promoting the minority indigenous languages of the country. It focuses specifically on three organizations and their language-related initiatives: RETENG: The Multicultural Coalition of Botswana, which comprises thirteen organizations and informal groupings, the Kuru Family of Organizations (KFO) and the Christian Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (CRCN).

Keywords: advocacy coalition; advocacy groups; Botswana; indigenous languages; micro language planning; minority languages; RETENG; Setswana

1. Introduction

Wiley (1996) argues that the study of language planning and policy is directly influenced by general assumptions about the study of language itself. He further notes that language could be analysed as a code or as a social behaviour. Considering language as a social behaviour often engenders the notion of ‘standard’, and consequently arrogates a higher status to either one variety of a language or even a specific language in a community. It is almost always the case that this inequality in the status of...

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