Thursday, August 12, 2010

Conference on Language Policy in the Caribbean

Linguists have generally complained that policy makers do not listen to them on matters of language which require the expertise of linguists. This is particularly true in the area of Language Education. The goal of the International Conference on Language Rights and Language Policy in the Creole-speaking Caribbean is to bring together a group of Caribbean policy makers from across the Caribbean and members of the ICCLR network. The point would be to develop a programme of activities and applied research which would both draw on the experiences across the Caribbean and the range of linguistic research available.

The special feature of this conference would be the attempt to be very high profile, and to put linguists and linguistics at the centre of public awareness. Among the proposed invitees would be the two linguists who have served or are still serving as Governors-General, i.e. Sir Colville Young and Dame Pearlette Louisy. Policy makers would be constrained, in such an environment, to pay some attention to the linguistic advice being made available.

The three areas of focus will be (i) Language in Education, (ii) Language and the Law, and (iii) Endangered languages. The period between August and November, 2010, would involve the drafting and circulation for discussion of the various clauses in a draft Convention on Language Rights and Language Policies in the Creole-speaking Caribbean. At the actual conference, the various stakeholders across the Caribbean, representing Ministries of Education, Ministries of Justice and particular interest groups involved with language policy and practice, would discuss the draft convention and arrive at a final wording. In addition, they would identify programmes of implementation for each of the Creole speaking countries represented and methods by which the ICCLR and other bodies can facilitate this implementation.

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