A critique of some common assumptions in German work on language and education

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Abstract

This paper was inspired by earlier research amongst teachers in parts of central Germany, which established that the informants had a relatively low level of sociolinguistic awareness. It has also been influenced by the work of British linguists like Romy Clark, Norman Fairclough, Roz Ivanic and Marilyn Martin-Jones, who have contributed a great deal to the debate about language awareness in language education, and have developed the concept of „critical language awareness‟ (CLA). Having investigated the sociolinguistic awareness of the practitioners, I decided to turn my attention to the theorists and policy-makers and examine to what extent their pronouncements and prescriptions are based upon what advocates of CLA would regard as contentious theoretical assumptions about language, or have been influenced by „critical‟ theories of language and language education. The material which will be examined comes from writings by academics and from school curricula in Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz. I shall discuss a selection of what I consider to be contentious assumptions about language and linguistic variation, explaining why I think they are so.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 62nd Conference of University Teachers of German 1999
EditorsChristopher Hall, David Rock
PublisherPeter Lang
Pages207-22
Number of pages16
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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