ISBN : 9780190947477
In The Struggle for a Multilingual Future, Christina Davis examines the tension between ethnic conflict and multilingual education policy in the linguistic and social practices of Sri Lankan minority youth. Facing a legacy of post-independence language and education policies that were among the complex causes of the Sri Lankan civil war (1983-2009), the government has recently sought to promote interethnic integration through trilingual language policies in Sinhala, Tamil, and English in state schools.
Integrating ethnographic and linguistic research in and around two schools during the last phase of the war, Davis's research shows how, despite the intention of the reforms, practices on the ground reinforce language-based models of ethnicity and sustain ethnic divisions and power inequalities. By engaging with the actual experiences of Tamil and Muslim youth, Davis demonstrates the difficulties of using language policy to ameliorate ethnic conflict if it does not also address how that conflict is produced and reproduced in everyday talk.
List of Figures
List of Tables
Notes on Transcription and Transliteration
School Segregation and Language-Based Ethnic Divisions
Teachers and Legitimate Tamil in a Multilingual School
English and the Imagining of a Cosmopolitan City
Peer Groups and Tamil Identity in and outside Schools
Tamil Speech and Ethnic Conflict in Public Spaces