Language Ecology, Assessment Example
Define the concept of language ecology.
In a general definition, the study of languages and social factors is language ecology. The other terms used to define it includes linguistic ecology and ecolinguistics. Ideally, language ecology is a branch of linguistics that Einar Haugen pioneered. According to his definition, ecolinguistics refers to the study of the interactions taking place in any language together with its environs (Haugen, 1972). The term acts as a primary metaphor that was derived from the necessary investigations done in living beings. ‘Languages were born and died, like living organisms. They had a life span, they grew and changed like men and animals, they had little ills which could be cured by appropriate remedies prescribed by good grammarians’ (Haugen, 1972,p. 326). Individuals can study the interrelationships that exist among organism within their environment creates various assumptions that can be tied to how one can understand languages. The study of professor Einar’s work gives on the required insight that needs to be understood about the ecology of language from a broader perspective. His approaches are unique and easy to conceptualize.
Einar applies ecology as a primary metaphor from the field of biology in linguistics to provide a broader definition to the concept to facilitate easy understanding. According to him, ‘The true environment of a language is the society that uses it as one of its codes’ (Haugen, 1972, p.325). He creates ten questions that address critical issues that involve the effective positioning of languages within their environmental setting. Every item that he created addresses a subcategory of linguistics that is important to conceptualize. The subcategories include linguistic demography, historical linguistics, contact, philology language politics, typology, sociolinguistics, planning, and ethnolinguistics (J., 2016). Answering the questions in uniformity creates a broader understanding of the ecology of language. As time progress by, the concept has taken a turning point as it begins to address other important factors that are developmental, social, educational and historical. The notion of language ecology has broadened to address other issues such as human rights and societal changes in the current world.
The existence of linguistic diversity is an essential step towards providing a broader understanding of the topic. Languages cannot be defined as an object to be considered in complete isolation. The same way communication does not take place through the sound sequences only. Ideally, language is part of the social practice that exists within the normal social life of a person. One needs to practice it within its environment to gain a proper command to it (Haugen, 1972). The basic notion about the formation of an ecolinguistic system in which one expects that languages will multiply, vary, interbreed and have a positive influence on each other is right (J., 2016). The method of interrelation with the surrounding environment broadly illustrates the point in this case as it explains language as a stimulus that quickly adapts to its settings.
The use of the biological analogy played an active part in making linguistic ecology and important study field today. The professor explains that ‘In this paper, I propose to treat the “life” of language in the spirit which I take to be that part of the science of ecology’ (Haugen, 1972, p.327). Based on his explanations, it is not approached as a speech rather than a vital study field that has several conceptions that a learner needs to understand and implement correctly. The incorporation of the area in linguistics facilitates further understanding of important language issues such as diversity and integration of several languages to create a one (Kaplan & Baldauf, 2017). The relation with ecological diversity establishes an interest in the study field as it corresponds to the megadiversity that comes with the basic understanding of how we need to incorporate languages with other environmental factors. Language ecology validates the reason to study biodiversity and linguistic diversity to promote a better understanding of the existing concepts. Therefore, the knowledge of a language is an important concept that needs to be perfectly conceptualized.
Describe the emergence of official language in Europe.
The origin of the standard languages in Europe has been a subject of study for many decades. It is a primary concern of the sociolinguistic pasts of dialects. Haugen approaches the survey from a different perspective that facilitates an acute understanding of how a dialect needs to be perceived and studied. Haugen placed the study in four distinctive groups that make it easy to conceptualize in how the official language originated in Europe (Haugen, 1972). The four groups of language development that the professor outlines are crucial because they outline vital aspects. Features such as dialect to language and a shift from vernacular to the standard are carefully explained in the categories. A reader gains a broader understanding of the origin by following the theoretical approach that the professor applies in his attempt to explain the history of the standardization of languages within Europe.
The categories are keenly described as Norm Selection, Form Codification, Function Elaboration, and Community Acceptance. Various scholars widely accepted the stages based on their applicability. According to the professor, choice involves the assortment of a variety of other native languages that would be later developed to be part of the standard language (Haugen, 1972). Norm selection occurs for the language that already existed at the time. The action takes place through language that was used frequently for political, trading and social purposes in Europe. Various dialects such as Dutch and Flemish were applied in the formation of the main German dialect. Ideally, it leads to the adoption of a specific style that is used to create a standard language. Therefore, norm selection was an essential part of the creation of a standard language in Europe.
Haugen is keen at explaining Form codification process as part of the development of a standardized language in the region. It refers to the increasing level of uniformity of the custom of its basic linguistic features (Haugen, 1972). Codification is an integral part of the linguistic process that was widely applied in Europe based on fundamental aspects. The structural elements involve terminology, grammar, pronunciation, and orthography (J., 2016). A look at standard European languages leads to the identification of the feature. Languages such as German have profound influences on Dutch, Flemish, Czech, and English. It clearly explains the origin of the standard language based on its primary application and the regions in which the dialects are being spoken. Aspects such as pronunciation play a profound part in the development of the languages in the area. The identification of the similarities based on pronunciation is a common feature that can be observed easily.
Haugen gives a detailed description of elaboration as he tries to explain the history of the standard languages within Europe. Ideally, amplification refers to the different styles that have already been codified and needs to be given a proper elaboration. In most cases, the government or authority plays an essential role in promoting the aspect (Haugen, 1972). The element can be related to the familiar empires and kingdoms that were built in ancient Europe during the period. The creation of current literature in which people could associate in the effort of understanding the language further and integrate it into their system is providing elaboration. The action applies to common standard language such as English. The creation of the British Empire foresaw the expansion of the dialect to various parts of Europe.
What is language standardization?
The convention of various language forms that are established and created is language standardization. Standardization of a language can take place through the natural development of any language like a community speech. It can also take place as the communal effort by society to create a single dialect. Ideally, standardization emerges when a unique dialect starts to be used in a written form in a broader area of study that is larger than the language itself. The issue reflects on how the language is used in the societal setting. The usage applies in economic life, literature and administrative matters (J., 2016). The social prestige that comes with the activity is the single matter of concern in this particular case as it transforms the position of the language in society. The existence of grammars and dictionaries also stabilizes the location of the language.
In a national perspective, the standard language is always the original dialect of the country. In most cases, it is the standard dialect that is used in the capitals of the country. The issue relates to common languages such as French in Paris, English in London and Russian in Moscow. The economic and cultural centers also play a useful role in the development of the standard language in a particular country (Deumert, 2014). Ideally, the issue can be identified in almost all the countries across the globe as they have common perceptions that one can relate without any form of complications that comes with the practice. The identification of the languages with their origin is a definite factor that gives a broader spectrum to the matter. Therefore, the original language in a country often becomes the standard language.
It is common to observe the infiltration of the standard language by other dialects. The elements of another language slowly penetrate due to changes within the society and other dominant issues that need to be placed under consideration in this perspective. The historical developments affect the actual construction of any language. The distribution of the language that is standard might not jeopardize the dialect of a region (Kaplan & Baldauf, 2017). Flemish and Dutch dialects are part of the existing Low German dialectal region. It is an area that influences the north German area of dialect and the regions such as Belgium and Netherlands. However, the standard dialect of the place has its basis on High German, and the dialect that is standard in the other parts includes Flemish and Dutch. The matter provides a clear description of the relevance of influence in the development of a standard language.
The standardization of languages is a necessary activity that takes place in society. The development of the language is significant because it aids in the improvement of communication. It creates the possibility of the development of orthography and facilitates the provision of proper formal learning (Gordin & Tampakis, 2015). Through the development of common standard languages such as English, French, German and Spanish the establishment of a common understanding and conceptualization of concepts have been a possibility in the country leading to the creation of order in terms of communication (Haugen, 1972). In a global basis, the use of the languages has beneficially facilitated the trade to the community. Ideally, standardization functions to create a proper social structure that forms easy integration of people from different social backgrounds within the same setup.
What are the purposes of acquisition planning?
The form of language planning that the national, local or state government system focuses on influencing the language aspects is referred to as acquisition planning. It gives a representation of the effort made by organizations, groups, and individuals to control the use of a particular language within society (Haugen, 1972). Language planning often arises based on the socio-political needs that occur in the community. It is essential to understand that Language Planning choices may be a necessity in some specific situations (Deumert, 2014). In a case where linguistic groups create a competition to access the mechanism of daily life or in a situation where a linguistic minority is explicitly denied access to the mentioned mechanism a decision would have to be drafted concerning the particular position. The examples give the explicit purpose of language planning within the societal setup.
The critical purpose of language planning is to establish control, utilize and expand the use of a particular language in society. Haugen uses Aasen’s policy to explain how Acquisition Planning aids in the creation of a national language (Haugen, 1972)/. It plays a fundamental role in the establishment of unity in the country in a positive way. Ideally, the establishment of a language to be used in the system of administration and schools creates a proper understanding in terms of communication. Important aspects such as cultural differences would be unified through speaking a single language (Gordin & Tampakis, 2015). Ideally, it can be defined as a standard measure by the authorities to ensure that unity is enhanced through a unified communication pattern that relies on a single language only. Ideally, it creates a sense of identity of a particular region or country based on the language that they place it as the primary language. The issue can only be achieved through effective language planning in society.
Acquisition planning avoids the death of a particular language due to assimilation by other major dialects. It is a common way that the authorities utilize to standardize a language within society. The bodies use their power to modernize a language and avoid their extinction through the appropriate means (Deumert, 2014). Ideally, it reflects that the primary purpose of the language is to ensure that it spreads into other parts of the society through the existing formal systems. It tackles advantage of the influence and powers that the authorities have over the people to ensure that its initiatives are fulfilled. Ideally, Acquisition Planning is beneficial in the end berceuse it facilitates essential factors such as the preservation of critical cultural practices by ensuring that the language being spoken does not become extinct through the proper channels that are justified.
The promotion of political initiatives can take place through acquisition planning in the correct way. The creation of the action by the government may be focussed in fulfilling the political goals that it may have towards the people. Ideally, the effect is directed towards the creation of political stability and creating economic benefits for the countries that take the initiative to positively practice the effort (Gordin & Tampakis, 2015). It is also a measure that is received by the authorities to revive languages that are deemed to be dead through the application of the exact mechanism about the matter that is being addressed in the country. Ideally, acquisition planning is typically created for the benefit of the people rather than the government or authority itself. The promotions of the agenda are generally based on public interests.
Haugen, E. (1972). The ecology of language. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Gordin, M. D., & Tampakis, K. (2015). Introduction: The languages of scientists. History of Science, 53(4), 365–377.
J., J. (2016). National Policy on Languages: A Community Language Perspective. Australian Journal of Education, 30(1), 45–65.
Deumert, A. (2014). Language standardization and language change: The dynamics of Cape Dutch. Philadelphia: J. Benjamins.
Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B. (2017). Language planning from practice to theory. Clevedon, Great Britain: Multilingual Matters.
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