Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Identity and instruction : issues of choice between the Maltese language and its others
Other Titles: A sea for encounters : essays towards a postcolonial commonwealth
Authors: Vassallo, Clare
Keywords: Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Malta -- History -- Language question, 1880-1934
Language policy -- Malta -- History
Maltese language -- History
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Rodopi
Citation: Vassallo, C. (2009). Identity and instruction : issues of choice between the Maltese language and its others. In S. Borg Barther (Ed.), A sea for encounters : essays towards a postcolonial commonwealth (pp.349-363). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Abstract: In an age of globalized language, minority languages are under threat of annihilation. Almost one-third of the global population is competent in English to varying degrees. Historically, the movement of the language can be traced through the voyages of exploration to the Americas, Asia, and the Antipodes, followed by the nineteenth-century British colonial expansion in Africa and the South Pacific. This was followed by mass European emigration to the 'melting-pot' nations which hosted multilingual, multicultural and multiracial populations brought together by the use of the English language as official or semi-official language. The use of English in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada has further contributed to the global spread of English which is represented in every continent. The fact that the USA and Britain are, politically, two highly influential nations, and that the media and technology industries, as well as the entertainment industry, all function in English have effectively made English, in its many varieties, the most used medium of communication on a global level. One of the implications of the power exerted by the English language is that it poses a threat to the survival of minority languages that live side by side with English. The fear of language-loss is a very real one; David Crystal estimates that "at least 50 per cent of the world's 6,000 or so having languages will die out within the next century." Among the concrete moves to counter this trend is the European Union's stance in using its members' national languages and in actively protecting minority languages spoken in the Union, recognizing them as the unique cultural artifacts and means of cultural expressions that they indeed are. It is against this background that we are to consider the particular case of Malta's national language. A national language is clearly a depository of a particular nation's memory and experience of the world through time. It bears traces of the attitudes of its inhabitants, of its history, as well as of its particular climatic and social environment, which are reflected in its vocabulary, its expressions, and even its verb-structure. It is easy, therefore, to revere a nation's language as a prized possession, and to regard the use of the language as the epitome of what it means to belong to a particular culture. A frequently recurring notion in postcolonial writing is the desire, more often seen as a right, to be allowed to speak one's own native language. Yet this feeling is neither universal nor historically consistent. In fact, the specific historical case of language-choice and language-use in Malta in the nineteenth century, described in this essay, seems to fly in the face of this norm.
ISBN: 9789042027640
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtTTI

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Identity and Instruction Issues od Choice between the Maltese Language and Its Others.pdf4.64 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.