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Introduction Understanding the Topic

Discuss about the Language Policy and Planning for Personal Development.

Language is one of the most significant forms of communication among humans, which manifests itself in various forms such as written, oral and non verbal forms. It is one of the most sophisticated and integral part of communication among humans (Scott-Phillips, 2014). However, languages also served many other purposes which are important to the individual and social lives of people. Almost all endeavors of humans have its root in language, which allowed people to create meaning and to explain and transmit that knowledge and experience to others. Language also plays a central role in the intellectual development and the process of socialization in children (Henell et al., 2016). It can help in personal development, cultural and personal enrichment and recreation. It can also become a part of the identity of a person. Study of human cultures has shown the central role language plays. It helps in the interpretation of experiences and reality, and therefore becomes a part of the culture itself, which explained the different experiences of different cultural group, through variations in their used languages (Shennan, 2015). The language, thus also serves as a form of cultural identity. Language also differentiates humans from most other living beings on earth, and it shows both the diversity as well as similarities between human groups. Language has been a product of the interactions of cultural, artistic, intellectual and economic endeavors of humans (Tsui & Tollefson, 2017).

In the modern world, the rapid growth of technology has significantly affected the social relations as well as cultural interactions in humans as well as the frameworks of imparting knowledge and social participation of humans. With an increasing importance and dependence on language, proficiency in the use of language is a significant factor in social and economic context (McCarty, 2015). Therefore, it is the responsibilities of democratic societies to ensure that their citizens are able to access and attain the best levels skill development in linguistic abilities, which can help to protect and promote rights of people and also increase the opportunities of individuals and groups. Language thus impinges various aspects of private and public lives of individuals and societies, and it becomes boundd to the individual, ethnic, racial and national identities of people. Over time, such identities shifts, and due to it, the language itself can experience changes, in the form of modification through usage (Wright, 2016).

LPP Concepts

The work of developing explicit language policies is therefore a complicated task, and at the same time, one of the most vital work in linguistic studies.

The language planning and policy is regarded as a sub-domain of the applied linguistics that aims to contribute in the respective language teaching process. As per mentioned by Luke (2018), the education is one of the basic fields that can have significant contribution in the field of applied linguistics. The respective policies of the language planning can have significant contribution by making proper usages of the language resources in the policy related to the one that are directly related to the language education.

Lam (2015), has mentioned about the case of United States, where a significant portion of the child enter the public with little or no idea about the dominant language of the nation. They are subject to higher levels of discrimination in the public education sector. The UNESCO has implemented a resolution to deal with the same, which contributes to the educational right of every student to use their official mother language. This is also included as a part of the basic human right of the children.  On the other hand Luke (2018) has argued with the fact that restricting the child to learn their mother tongue as part of the language policy can limit their career growth in dominant and official language of a nation.

The decisions related to the language planning and policies are mostly implemented in collaboration with the linguistics scholars and the community leaders. These decisions can have major impact on the language learning capability. The policy of language and learning is implemented according to the literacy program of the United Nations Development Program. The aim of the policies does not have direct benefit on the growing economy of a nation as it mainly focuses on the individual needs. According to Liddicoat (2004), the definition of LPP can be implicated to gain advanced form information that are related to the access the process the technological elements. There are also the policies related to the language planning theories that can be implicated as a part of the print based conceptualization theory.  

In order to better understand the implications of language planning theories, it is important to consider the context associated with the literacy provision of the nation. The idea of print based conceptualization model can be used for the same to understand the future of LPP. This will ensure better levels of understanding of the nation.

Implications of LPP

The measures tasked by the Public Authorities of Australia to address the issues of language constitute the language policies of Australia. Unique responses were made to the address the requirements and demands of particular social groups through the history of the development of public policies in Australia, however such policies were not guided by an overall framework of policies. This was made even more significant due the continuation of old practices in many areas. Thus the neglect of Australia’s language source soon became an issue of national importance (Serrao-Neumann et al., 2015).

The term “language plans” thus refers to the decisions taken explicitly and consciously on issues of language. This can include specialized areas like the standardization of language as well as the development and reform of orthographies and the sociopolitical aspects like the allocation of a status to specific languages and policies related to education of linguistic minorities (Xiaojuan, 2015). These aspects also include the values and interests of different linguistic and non-linguistic groups as well as different social, cultural and economic identities of the groups. The aim of language policies in Australia is to ensure a balanced, rational, justified and comprehensive method of making the choice of the nation related to language issues. This requires the elaboration and declaration of principles which can inform the decision making process and helps in the allocation of resources. It is also accompanied by various processes of consultation to allow acceptance of the principles. Moreover, the explicit nature of the choice also allows subsequent modifications and improvisations through the process of reviews, if found necessary. This highlights the necessity of explicit policies in language planning process (Tsui & Tollefson, 2017).

In the absence of explicit policies, decisions affecting language, implicit and undirected action often results, giving rise to un coordinated and ad-hoc measures which can lead to distortions in the development of language in the society and its institutions (Johnson & Johnson, 2015). Based on such considerations, the Senate referred to the Standing Committee on Education and Arts on May 25th, 1982, outlining the: Development and Implementation of a Coordinated Language Policy in Australia”. The decision of the Senate was followed by an increased activity from groups advocating the development as incorporation of policy of language (Bianco, 1990). The Committee formulated the four guiding principles of the polity such as:

  • Improving competency in English
  • Maintenance and development of other languages
  • Provision of services in languages apart from English
  • Providing opportunities for learning a second language

( Lo Bianco, 2018)

Such framework also highlighted the utilization of the rich linguistic resources of Australia, and incorporates the linguistic diversity of the country. It also addressed the national unity and the needs of the nation at external, political and economic levels (LoBianco, 2018). The planning of language therefore requires a level of coordination between different levels in the authorities which can allow:

  • The nations to plan the aspects of international trade, diplomatic and economic relation which address language in an objective and rational way.
  • Helps to devise an action to reduce and overcome challenges, inequalities and discrimination due to language
  • Helps to enrich the artistic, intellectual and cultural lives of the citizens of Australia
  • Providing an instrument of communication as well as cultural possession, recognition and support to different groups of population in Australia from whom language is a defining characteristic
  • Improving communication both in spoken or written forms specifically in the process of schooling children
  • Providing vital reference point to educators and clarifying the public expectations to the community, particularly the school students, their families, teachers as well as the authorities.
  • Integrating the technological advancements with the use of language and the acts of learning. This is exhibited through an explicit and comprehensive policy of development in Australia.

Position and Argument: Formulation of Language Policy in the context of Australia

(Lo Bianco, 2018). 

Since Australia is a federation, the national policies thus require the participation of the governments which makes up the constituency of Australia. Also, the non-partisan nature of the principles which underlie the policies is another significant characteristic of the national policies of Australia. This shows that language as a fundamental aspect to all public and private lives, and therefore all decisions related to language requires a national consensus. The consensus is moreover a product of consultative processes done extensively and accompanied with proposals, elaboration, development as well as preparation for the different phases of the policy (Phillipson, 2004). The principles of the language policy of Australia also allow a coordinated approach to address the questions in the context of language. This also identifies the important roles of the government and other authorities who play a part in the framing of the policy, and also fosters coordination to develop between the various responsible bodies in the implementation of the different aspects of the policies in the public domain. As such, reconciliation of the diverse interests, language policies aims to bring about a social change and orientation as well as expression of specific values in the context of learning and maintenance of language and bilingualism which can not only help in the benefit of the individuals but also for the nation at large (Tollefson, 1991). Thus, language policies should not be neutral statements but instead exhibit specific goals and values. To sum up, national policies should involve the coordinated activity between the Territories and States as well as the Commonwealth of Australia, working towards a broad shared objective (Bianco, 1990).

The principles form the philosophical framework that underpins the language policies of Australia. The policies are meant to be practical and therefore it is important to clearly outline them:

  1. Language is a dynamic and constantly evolving subject which needs to be acknowledged, and also the need for a form of standardization of written and spoken forms of language should also be addressed, in order to improve communication. Additionally, promoting the proper use of and developing competency in a greater language is also an important aspect of the principle.
  2. Language is an instrument of communication which evolves socially and through social interactions. It serves as a varied range of artistic, cultural; personal and intellectual, social, religious, socio-political as well as group identity of people, and language is thus an arbitrary as well as a conventional approach of expressing the reality.
  3. Emphasize of policies on language to foster cohesion at the national level, while respecting and acknowledging the rich cultural diversity of the country. Adopting a multicultural policy can also ensure equality among members of the communities, respect cultural diversity and ensure national cohesion and unity.
  4. Pluralism in language in Australia should be considered as a valuable resource in international trade
  5. Due to the centrality of language in the lives of Australians, it is also important to improve the competencies of Australians in English, and also bring about improvement in the teaching process of English both as the first and second language to Australian children and adults. This can help to develop the capacity of Australia to assist other nations in the Asia/Pacific region to learn English. It is also vital that the internal diversities in the Language be recognized, while also enabling standardized Australian English to be implemented for formal and public usage.
  6. Recognizing the ancient Aboriginal history of Australia, as a product of a unique cultural, historical and environment, this is a part of the identity of the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal languages have long been used to interpret the environment and landscape of the country, and these languages still remain a viable mode of communication. These languages are important repositories of cultural information.
  7. A wide variety of languages is spoken by Australians, and is usually labeled as community languages, which is also retained in the language policies. The community languages are daily used to address a variety of educational, social, cultural, familial and economic proposes. Thus community languages are supported and recognized in the language policies of Australia.
  8. The language policies also identifies and supports the use of languages specifically used to meet the communication needs of the disabled and individuals with impairments, which helps them to use and comprehend oral and written languages.
  9. The geographic proximity of Australia to Asian, Pacific and Indian Ocean nations which majorly speak languages other than English also have important implications for the national policies of Australia, as does the involvement of Australia in the world affairs. Languages of geo-political importance to Australia can help Australia’s trade, economic, intellectual, diplomatic, political and cultural as well as security interests of the nation.
  10. Developing linguistic reserves serves a national interest and helps to integrate the skills with other national goals.

(Bianco, 1990; Schiffman, 2012; Lo Bianco, 2018) 

  1. Clarity and explicitness which will allow appropriate action by all relevant bodies and also foster evaluation and review in time
  2. Ensure a comprehensive approach allowing all the affected groups to participate
  3. Balancing the economy and allowing competing interests and claims to be analyzed in comparison to the national interests.
  4. Using a coordinated and national level approach
  5. Ensuring the allocation of due weight to the enhancement and maintenance of high standards in language education

(Bianco, 1990; Tollefson, 2002; Lo Bianco, 2018)

Even though English is the default language of the country, such was never explicitly declared. It is the language spoken by 83% of the Australian population and also used in most of the major organizations. Also, English is a major international language, and is vital mode of communication in commerce, science and technology. English spoken in Australia also have experienced significant modifications to adapt to the new needs and demands of the environment, which led to unique varieties in the language (Cox & Palethorpe, 2007).

Aboriginal languages in Australia are in a steady state of decline. Over the years the number of spoken aboriginal languages also reduced, with only 50 aboriginal languages now considered as viable. About one distinct aboriginal language is lost every year. These languages form a unique branch of world languages and exhibits aspects of grammar which are considered rare. Some languages spoken in the Torres Strait islands originate from Aboriginal dialects while others from Papuan languages (Arthur 1996; Schmidt & Schmidt, 199).

Non aboriginal languages other than English of European, Asian, Pacific and other regions also forms a part of the multilingualistic culture of Australia. Some of these languages are restricted to a large number of people, restricted to a specific geographic location, in urban areas, and has long history of being spoken in Australia. Other languages are spoken by small communities who might have arrived recently or in communities established in Australia for a long time. As per estimates, about 15 to 20% of Australians speak languages apart from English, and individuals speaking these languages often have a cultural, social, emotional and historic attachment to the languages (Pauwels, 2005).

The language policies are further divided into specific components such as English for All, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and a language other than English for all. The English for all strategy incorporates the following aspects in the policy:

  1. English language Learning projects (ELLP)
  2. Establishing centre for applied English
  3. Establishing standing committee on English
  4. ESL children to be considered as an important part in the development of English language
  5. Developing an index of the needs of funding allocation, evaluation and accountability reasons.
  6. Developing triennial plans of ESL programs for children
  7. Facilitating adult learning
  8. Improving teacher education
  9. Incorporating an independent panel of experts for the process of reviewing

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, the following aspects are highlighted:

  1. Support program for Aboriginal languages  through National Aboriginal Language Project (NALP)
  2. Advisory council on Australian languages Policy (ACALP) to constitute the standing committee serviced by Aboriginal Educational Unit
  3. Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission for appropriate funding to the establishment.
  4. Developing language awareness program in junior secondary schools, and include Aboriginal language issues

For Language other than English for all, the language policies include:

  1. Establishing Australian Second Language Learning Program (ASLLP)
  2. To convene a language other than English for the standing committee
  3. Establishing centers of teaching and research of language

(Lo Bianco, 2018)

Conclusion:

Language is an important form of communication in hall human beings. Apart from its importance in personal lives of individuals, language also forms an integral part in the social lives. It allows people to share knowledge and experiences with others and hence is part of the cultural and social identities of people. Language also helps in personal and intellectual growth, and in the interpretation of reality. This emphasizes the importance of facilitating the education in language and communication, and help to maintain cohesion through the implementation of policies and planning on language. This can also help in protect and promote rights of individuals and protect linguistic minorities. In Australia, the Language Planning and Policy implicates explicit protocols which aim to strengthen the regional language as well as the language spoken by the majority (Engligh). The explicit policies are aimed to improve competency in English and also develop languages other than English, and give opportunity to Australian students to learn a second language. On the national level, the policy aims towards standardization of language, while also focusing on regional dialects at state levels. The policies are further strengthened through general and specific principles. I believe that the policy framework is very effective in upholding the national cohesion, while also supporting the ethnic diversity of the country. The linguistic resources of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands also deserve protection to prevent the loss of those languages and thus the culture. In context of Australia, therefore, the LPP should be able to foster further cultural development, and protect the rich diversity of the indigenous cultural groups. 

References:

Arthur, J. (1996). Aboriginal English. A Cultural Study.

Bianco, J. L. (1990). Making language policy: Australia’s experience. Language planning and education in Australia and the South Pacific, 47-79.

Cox, F., & Palethorpe, S. (2007). Australian English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37(3), 341-350.

Henell, D., Stupar, A., Oehler, C., & Pamula, J. (2016). LANGUAGE IMPORTANCE SCORE.

Johnson, D. C., & Johnson, E. J. (2015). Power and agency in language policy appropriation. Language Policy, 14(3), 221-243.

Lam, R. (2015). Language assessment training in Hong Kong: Implications for language assessment literacy. Language Testing, 32(2), 169-197.

Liddicoat, A. J. (2004). Language planning for literacy: Issues and implications. Current Issues in Language Planning, 5(1), 1-17.

Lo Bianco, J. (2018). National Policy on Languages. Multiculturalaustralia.edu.au. Retrieved 19 April 2018, from https://www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au/doc/lobianco_2.pdf

Luke, A. (2018). Literacy and the other: A sociological approach to literacy research and policy in multilingual societies. In Critical Literacy, Schooling, and Social Justice (pp. 243-261). Routledge.

McCarty, T. L. (2015). Ethnography in language planning and policy research. Research methods in language policy and planning: A practical guide, 81-93.

Pauwels, A. (2005). Maintaining the community language in Australia: Challenges and roles for families. International journal of bilingual education and bilingualism, 8(2-3), 124-131.

Phillipson, R. (2004). English-only Europe?: Challenging language policy. Routledge.

Schiffman, H. (2012). Linguistic culture and language policy. Routledge.

Schmidt, A., & Schmidt, A. (1990). The loss of Australia's Aboriginal language heritage. Aboriginal Studies Press.

Scott-Phillips, T. (2014). Speaking Our Minds: Why human communication is different, and how language evolved to make it special. Palgrave MacMillan.

Serrao-Neumann, S., Harman, B., Leitch, A., & Low Choy, D. (2015). Public engagement and climate adaptation: insights from three local governments in Australia. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 58(7), 1196-1216.

Shennan, S. (2015). Language, Genes, and Cultural Interaction. The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe, 139.

Tollefson, J. W. (1991). Planning language, planning inequality

Tollefson, J. W. (Ed.). (2002). Language policies in education: Critical issues. Psychology Press.

Tsui, A. B., & Tollefson, J. W. (Eds.). (2017). Language policy, culture, and identity in Asian contexts. Routledge.

Wright, S. (2016). Language policy and language planning: From nationalism to globalisation. Springer.

Xiaojuan, K. A. N. G. (2015). A Survey on the Language Use of Overseas Chinese Children and the Family Language Plan: A Case Study ofthe overseas Chinese Children aged 3~ 6 in Malaysia. Applied Linguistics, 2, 002

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