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Language Education in ChinaPolicy and Experience from 1949$
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Agnes S.L. Lam

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9789622097506

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622097506.001.0001

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Developing Minority Languages and Bilingualism

Developing Minority Languages and Bilingualism

Chapter:
(p.123) 4 Developing Minority Languages and Bilingualism
Source:
Language Education in China
Author(s):

Agnes S. L. Lam

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622097506.003.0004

In this chapter, the policy periods were first identified. Linguistic work on describing minority languages was then described in greater detail. To date, there are still twenty-four ethnic groups without their own officially recognized scripts. In the light of this development work on minority language scripts, and hence the possibility or impossibility of education in minority languages, some preliminary results from a survey of sixty minority learners were analyzed. Against this general picture, seven case histories of learners from different ethnic groups - the Zhuangs, the Mans, the Yaos, the Mulaos, the Huis, the Miaos and the Dongs - were presented. They represent the educationally more successful minority learners. Their very success underscores the linguistic and cultural dilemma faced by minority learners in China which is elucidated further in this chapter. While the government wishes to protect minority languages and to provide education in minority languages as a matter of policy and ideology, resourcing issues aside, it also has the duty to offer minority learners opportunities in the mainstream national life, opportunities which are largely available mostly in Chinese as a matter of everyday reality.

Keywords:   Minority languages, Minority learners, Bilingualism, Education, Chinese

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