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Mlanie Dulong De Rosnay DIGITAL MULTI LINGUALISM :
BUILDING INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES PART Nearly two billion people use the internet worldwide. However, can we say that cyberspace is accessible to all, regardless of language, culture or abilities How can diasporas, children, disabled people rebuild their world with the help of cyberspace How can acceptance of diversity of cultures progress the internet, and how can this network in turn contribute to enhanced social and global inclusion VIOLA KREBS & ViCENT CLiMENT-FErraNDO LANGUAGES, CYBERSPACE, MIGRATIONS How have migrants taken possession of cyberspace Do they speak in their mother language(s) or do they use a lingua franca such as French, English or Castilian How does their participation contribute to linguistic diversity in cyberspace and what are the needs that may be partially or completely covered to help migrants in their new environment What languages are then used in this context VIOLA KREBS is a sociolinguistic and communication specialist. She is the Founder and Executive Director of ICVolunteers (http://www.icvolunteers.org), a non-profit organization focusing on communications (communication technologies, culture & languages and conference support).
ICVolunteers works with a network of 13,000 volunteers worldwide.
In the area of research, Viola’s expertise is in communications, volunteerism, language and migration and education bilingual. She has written a number of scientific articles and reports and has contributed to several books.
VICENT CLIMENT-FERRANDO [College of Europe, Bruges and Phd candidate at UPF Barcelona] is associate professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) of Barcelona and policy advisor on language, immigration and international relations at the Language Policy Directorate of the Government of Catalonia. He is also the Executive Secretary of the European Network for Linguistic Diversity (NPLD's Think Tank) and a research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Immigration (GRITIM) at UPF.
YOANNA RACCIMOLO contribute this article during her time in ICVolunteers. She was a researcher in sociology a University of Lausanne, where she participate an interdisciplinary study on the interpretation of migrants stories. She also conduct research in Lebanon and Russia about human rights and internal or transborder migrations.
igration is not a new phenomenon, and statistics show that population mobility worldwide is on the rise. The latest edition Mof the Atlas of Migration 1 reported that there are an estimated 200 million migrants and displaced people around the world, representing about 3 % of the world’s population. People may move within their own country from rural contexts to cities or leave the place where they were born to become international migrants, often seeking a better livelihood and conditions that correspond better to their daily needs. Many migrants are able to leave their country because they have the necessary psychological and educational resources to do it. Leaving one’s land is never an easy decision and during recent months, migration waves linked to insurrections in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have shown again that large-scale migration can initiate irrational fears and extremist reactions in European countries 2. The human factor then becomes entrenched in political and economic debates, which often forget the origins of the population living in modern western countries.
“In the 1600s and 1700s, by forced exile, by lures, promises, and lies, by kidnapping, by their urgent need to escape the living conditions of the home country, poor people wanting to go to America became commodities of profit for merchants, traders, ship captains and eventually their masters in America” 3 This description could fit what happened to the people of Africa turned into slaves and thrown in boats to build the riches of 1 Wihtol de Wenden, Catherine. Atlas des migrations dans le monde, Rfugis ou migrants volontaires, Alternatives Economiques, d. Autrement, Paris, 2009.
2 Virginie Guiraudon, directrice de recherche au CNRS et au centre d’tude europen de Sciences-po Paris.
http://www.humanite.fr/01_03_2011-linvasion-de-leurope-par-bateaux-est-un-fantasme-3 Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, Harper Perennial Modern Classic – Persons of Mean and Vile Condition – P. 43.
Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando a nation. But the “rogues and vagabonds” precisely described above are those the Elizabethan society was trying to expel from its cities in England. Hundred of thousands of them, English, Irish or Welsh, came to America during that period, becoming servants and slaves to other rich European immigrants.
Though Howard Zinn, in his People’s History of the United States, studies the origins of the United States population, his example can be extended to many nations nowadays.
LANGUAGES IN MOVEMENT It is estimated that close to one half of the world’s population is bilingual 4.
Many factors contribute to these high statistics, including political, economic and religious migration, as well as language policies in individual countries.
Many migrants may find themselves in a country of residence where the official language or languages (L2) are different from their mother tongue (L1) and the language(s) they spoke back home. Typically, the children of migrant families adapt very quickly to the new context and assimilate Leasily. However, this is a much slower process for the parents who may have great difficulties learning and mastering the host country’s language(s).
Beyond the exchange of information, languages are closely related to individual, collective and national identity. In this sense, they represent power, often a struggle for control, beyond questions of merely functional communication. This is nothing new and looking back in history, it has existed for many centuries.
Immigration is undoubtedly one of the main factors leading to social, economic and political transformation. And the issue of migration management has been included in a much broader debate, that of multiculturalism and the rights of minorities. By reinforcing fundamental rights already granted to all individuals in a democratic state, multiculturalism tends to extend public recognition, and encourage support for 4 Comrie Bernard et al., The Atlas of Languages, Facts On File, Inc., New York, USA, 1996.
Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando ethnocultural minorities to maintain and express their distinct identities and cultural practices 5.
This does not happen without creating questions of language acquisition, linguistic presence and influence, and legal restrictions established around languages, as well as a debate on linguistic diversity. Thus, in this increasingly interconnected world, where people are more and more mobile, the acquisition and mastering of multiple languages is of growing importance 6.
This complex context is paired with the fact that globalisation and the introduction of new information and communication technologies represent both an opportunity and a threat for the approximately 7,languages spoken in the world today 7. Indeed, they have made the world a much more interconnected place, where information from any part of the world is relayed on screens within minutes, and where people can create, display and exchange content through the internet.
SCALE OF MIGRATION Migration has gone from 75 million in 1965 to over 200 million people in 2008 following growth of the world’s population, which has more than doubled during the same period, from 3.2 billion to close to 7 billion people. One third of them are family-related migrants, one third are refugees and one third move for work reasons. In addition to the publications by the International Organization for Migration (iom) 9, the cia World Factbook provides regular updates by country on net migration rates 10.
For the last twenty years, South-South migration has been on the rise.
Indeed, Asia accounts for the largest number of migrants with 40 to million Chinese and 20 million Indian migrants.
5 Banting, K. & Kymlicka, W (eds.). Multiculturalism and the welfare state : recognition and redistribution in contemporary democracies Oxford University Press, 2006 : 1.
6 Anna Lietti, Pour une ducation bilingue, Payot, 1994.
7 Malherbe Michel, Les langues de l’humanit, Robert Laffont, coll. Bouquins, 1993.
http://portal.unesco.org/es/ev.php-URL_ID=1864&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_ SECTION=201.html 8 World migration 2003 : managing migration challenges and responses for people on the Move, IOM International Organization for Migration, Geneva, 2002.
9 http://www.iom.int 10 https ://http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2112.html Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando In addition, migration movements have reached a complexity and a scale unprecedented in history. To traditional immigrant-receiving countries such as the United States and Canada, we must now add countries which, until very recently, were emigrant countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, among others. There are therefore immigrant groups in practically all western democracies today In the European Union, the countries that received more than half of all immigrants in 2008 are Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom 11.
A very representative example is given by the Catalonia migrant phenomenon. Out of the 6,147,610 inhabitants living in Catalonia in 1998, only 1.97 % were foreign immigrants. In 2009, the population had increased by more than one million people, with almost 17 % of all citizens being immigrants, hence Catalonia represents the highest receiving territory in Spain. In addition, the arrival of people of foreign origin represents 77 % of the average growth of the population in this territory during this period In Geneva, Switzerland, 38.3 % of all citizens are foreigners, with nationalities represented, who speak some 150 languages 12. For 25 % of the population residing in Geneva, French is not the primary language and some of them are not able to understand it and/or speak it 13. In London alone, three hundred different languages have been inventoried.
The latest census in Canada listed 6,293,110 allophones, which means that 20,1 % of the global population of the country speak a language other than English or French. The United States also faces the same phenomenon : the census of the year 2000 reports that more than three hundred languages were spoken in the country.
While cities like Barcelona, London, New York or Geneva are particularly international, the trend of multiculturalism is very broadly applicable. If one assumes that every citizen has the right to health care and education, we should examine which languages are used to communicate in these 11 Source : Eurostat, European Statistics available online at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.
eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Migration_statistics, figures from 7 November 2010.
12 Portrait statistique des trangers vivant Genve. Rsultats du recensement fdral de la population et autres sources, Office cantonal de la Statistique, tudes et documents n° 37, Genve, septembre 2005.
13 La politique cantonale de prformation des non-francophones risque d’exclusion :
valuation des mesures de soutien, Commission externe d’valuation des politiques publiques, Genve, Septembre 2005, page 15.
Viola Krebs & Vicent Climent-Ferrando contexts. There is a risk of exclusion of the allophone population both socially and professionally.
IMMIGRATION POLICIES AND APPROACHES For a long time, the most important immigrant receiving countries – Australia, Canada, and the United States – adopted assimilationist approaches to immigrant groups where immigrants were expected to fully assimilate into mainstream society, as it was hoped that over time they would become indistinguishable in their way of life from native born citizens.
The late 1960s and beginning of the 1970s saw two major changes. First, the adoption of race-neutral admissions criteria, so that immigrants to these countries from non-European (and often non-Christian) societies were not excluded ; and second, the adoption of a more “multicultural” conception of integration, one which expects that migrants will express their ethnic identity, and which accepts an obligation on the part of public institutions to accommodate these ethnic identities 14. It must be stated, however, that this trend has not taken place in all western societies and the degree of public recognition varies from country to country.
Along with new traditions, religions and cultures, immigrants have brought a whole array of languages. As an example, Tamazigh –a language spoken in scattered areas of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Mali– is the third most widely spoken language in Catalonia, after Catalan and Spanish, the two official languages.
This unprecedented change in the linguistic kaleidoscope of all western societies does not seem to have led to a profound scholarly debate on how to apply multicultural policies to the languages of migrants and only scattered references on this issue are found in literature.
When dealing with the languages of migrants within the framework of multiculturalism, one of the most commonly referenced issues is mother-tongue education for migrants 15, that is, the establishment of the language of specific migrant groups as the vehicular language in some 14 Banting, K. & Kymlicka, W (eds.). Multiculturalism and the welfare state : recognition and redistribution in contemporary democracies. Oxford University Press, 2006 : 54.
15 See in this book : Marcel Diki-Kidiri, Cyberspace and Mother Tongue Education.
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