Volume 30, Number 2, Fall 2015
Editors in Chief: Andrea R. Leone-Pizzighella and Mark C. Lewis
Editor's Note (PDF)
The Social Life of Orthography Development (PDF)
From a linguistic perspective the development of orthography for a language is often taken as a scientific endeavor involving the adoption of a set of graphic conventions for mapping the phonemic system of a language. In this paper I unpack how orthography development and use is necessarily wrapped up in socio-political debates. Approaching orthography graphically, I demonstrate how spelling itself frequently carries implicit metacommentary connected to these debates. Next, looking at orthography’s link with speech I argue that ideologies of language in departmentalized linguistics ignore and obscure the way orthography interacts with register phenomena within a language.
Evaluations in Mexico: Institutionalizing the Silence of Indigenous Populations (PDF)
This paper frames the role of national assessments in Mexico from the sociology of absences perspective, where the marginalized are actively produced as non-existent. The ENLACE (now PLANEA), as the most publicized Mexican assessment, is analyzed in order to understand how education mechanisms systematically omit the voices and languages of minoritized populations. Using governmental policies and documents, this paper argues that Indigenous children in basic education are intentionally caught in a cycle of assessment inequalities by the institutionalization of one-language, one-culture assessment tools. Overall, the paper advocates for the design of just assessment tools that have clear pedagogical intentions and that can allow the voices of Indigenous children to be heard. A deeper understanding of how the ENLACE is one small yet important fragment of the unequal education system in Mexico could help other institutions in Latin America to revise and revisit their own national assessment tools and consider innovative ways to help Indigenous populations’ voices to be heard.
Ethnic Multilingual Education in China: A Critical Observation (PDF)
This paper reviews the ethnic multilingual policies and practices in China in general and Yunnan in particular. It first introduces the demographic features and multilingual policies in Yunnan and then discusses the challenges of ethnic minority education in China from a critical perspective in terms of policy and curriculum. It is argued that it is necessary to re-conceptualize ethnic minority learners in an ever dynamic sociocultural discourse in contemporary China. The author proposes to deepen the research in ethnic multilingual education so as to develop a curriculum to meet the needs of ethnic multicultural learners in the 21st century and to contribute to the design of more relevant language policies, teaching practices, and learning resources, and to pave the way for further in-depth research.