Language policy and practices in the Global North and South: Challenges, opportunities and future directions
A thorough description of the relationships among languages and their social environment in a given context, reflecting an ecological perspective, involves attention to the agency of local actors, and the policies, discourse, and ideologies that surround them.
- Cynthia Groff
- 19 May 2021
- Language policy and practices in the Global North and South: Challenges, opportunities and future directions
With this focus on valuing the minoritized voices of Kumauni young women, Groffs ethnographic research in North India highlights fluidity in linguistic categories and in the implementation of top-down policies, as influenced by local language ideologies. Known to be a diverse country of multiple languages, India has faced the challenge of dealing with this resource called diversity. In response to national policies, local Kumauni concepts of language and dialect, comparable to mountains and hills, highlight Kumaunis’ ability to claim both Hindi and Kumauni as their own and to refer to either as mother tongue. Meanwhile, de facto fluidity in the implementation of medium of instruction creates spaces for the unofficial use of minority language resources in the classroom. The value of multilingualism is expressed nationally and locally, yet power relations remain. Is unity in diversity really possible? Discourses vary depending on the lens, from micro to macro. Groff explores practical implications of these discourses and policies for young Kumauni women as they experience and negotiate them in their communities.