Monolingualism and Bilingualism: Lessons from Canada and by Sue Wright (Editor)

By Sue Wright (Editor)

There's a want on the middle of linguistic theorizing to take account of bi- and multilingual views. within the box of language making plans, problems with bilingualism are usually perceived via monolingual filters and resolved via monolingual responses. during this quantity, problems with monolingualism, multilingualism and id are addressed at once in reports of Canada and Spain.

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John Edwards: I don't think so much that it's simplistic, although of course some handlings of it may well be. I do think that it's a different level of organisation of the subject. For example, there's a great deal more complexity about French-English relations at the moment in Canada than what I've said. Nonetheless, I think it's quite justifiable when you're working at some sort of macro-political level to say that this is the package we have to make sense ofwhile not being unaware that there are all sorts of details at work.

Globe & Mail, 15 July. (1994e) Sovereignty support slipping while PQ in front, poll says. Globe & Mail, 16 July. (1994f) Johnson steps up attack on separatists. Globe & Mail, 30 July. Makin, K. (1994) How Canadians' roots become ethnic walls. Globe & Mail, 27 June. McKenna, B. (1993) Power shifts at Quebec Inc. Globe & Mail, 3 November. McRoberts, K. (1990) Federalism and political community. Globe & Mail, 19 March to 2 April. McRoberts, K. and Monahan, P. (eds) (1993) The Charlottetown Accord, the Referendum, and the Future of Canada.

However, before turning to this broadest of issues, I also want to comment on the influence and power of a 'monolingual model' in Canada. Perhaps this seems odd. After all, we have noted increased French-English bilingualism (although of a slight order) in the country. And, consider all the 'non-official' languages: the 1991 Census revealed that 430,000 people speak Chinese (at home, at least), 290,000 Italian, 150,000 Portuguese, 134,000 German and 50,000 Ukrainian. We can also, however, recall (on the one hand) the increasing polarisation of the French and English 'solitudes', the continuing shift to English among francophones outside Quebec, and the great non-use of French learned at school, and (on the other) the long-term instability of bilingualism involving the 'other' languages and the power of 'anglo-conformity'.

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