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Integrating local languages and cultures into the education system of French Guiana: A discussion of current programs and initiatives

2010-05-17, Migge, Bettina, Léglise, Isabelle

In this paper we present and critically assess three programs that are currently running in French Guiana. They aim to integrate local languages and cultures into the local education system that is otherwise identical to that of Metropolitan France. We discuss and compare their emergence, development and the premises, assumptions and approaches on which they are based. The paper argues that while all three initiatives make an important contribution towards questioning the educational monopoly of French and towards adapting the education system to the local context, their impact current ly remains limited. This is in large part due to a lack of a concerted will on the part of the education system to undertake far-reaching change and program-inherent problems.

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Language and colonialism: Applied linguistics in the context of creole communities

2008-09, Migge, Bettina, Léglise, Isabelle

The literature on colonialism tends to focus on Europe’s economic exploitation of many regions and peoples around the world and Europeans’ use of excessive force towards the latter. While these issues are undoubtedly of great importance, it is equally important to understand the cultural and specifically the linguistic and discursive practices that came to be associated with European colonial rule. These practices played an instrumental role in assigning low prestige to non-European languages and cultures, including cultural and linguistic forms that emerged due to Europe’s colonial expansion, and in establishing the superiority of the coloniser’s language and culture .

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Language naming practices, ideologies and linguistic practices: Toward a comprehensive description of language varieties

2006-07, Léglise, Isabelle, Migge, Bettina

Although it is well accepted that linguistic naming conventions provide valuable insights into the social and linguistic perceptions of people, this topic has not received much attention in sociolinguistics. Studies focus on the etymology of names, details about the social and historical circumstances of their emergence, and their users, and sometimes make recommendations about the appropriateness of terms. This article departs from this tradition. Focusing on the term 'Takitaki' in French Guiana, it shows that an analysis of the discursive uses of language names by all local actors provides significant insights into the social and linguistic makeup of a complex sociolinguistic situation. Descriptions of languages in such settings should be based on the varieties identified by such an analysis and on practices in a range of naturalistic interactions. Based on these analytical steps, the authors propose a multi-perspective approach to language documentation.

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Creoles in education: A discussion of pertinent issues

2010-05, Migge, Bettina, Léglise, Isabelle, Bartens, Angela

The last three decades have seen a steady increase in the use of Pidgin and Creole (P/C) languages in public life. In many P/C-speaking communities, P/C are now widely used in health education, vocational training, political campaigning and in the media. These developments demonstrate – if it has to be demonstrated at all – that P/Cs are viable means of communication and are well able to express as wide a range of issues as the European languages with which they coexist.