Saturday, December 3, 2011

Arabic in Israel and Denmark

A September 2011 report in Aljazeera details Israel's plans to downgrade Arabic from an "Official language" to a "Language with special status". But as the report goes on to say:

"Because Israel has long neglected Arabic and its speakers, Zaher doesn't feel that downgrading the language's status will result in practical changes."

The news report gives several instances of discrimination against Arabic speakers. Do have a look.

Meanwhile, the last chapter of Multilingual education works: from the Periphery to the Centre (more November-2011-reading) asks, "But does this research knowledge translate into educational action? There seem to be three main trends..." (320), say the authors Kathleen Heugh and Tove Skutnabb-Kangas. The most negative of these is:

"Research results are completely ignored. Denmark is an example of this: despite authorities having had massive information, there are not even early-exit transitional programmes for immigrant minority children; most mother tongue as a subject teaching has been cut out, and the Minister of Education allows schools to forbid even the speaking of a minority language during breaks (in the latest case, in November 2009, Arabic, see (320)"

Israel's discrimination against Arabic seems very much a part of this pattern.