Underprivileged linguistic minorities
Nature: Linguistic minorities are segregated from the rest of the community by their language, which limits their opportunities in terms of education, employment and in general economic and political life. They have access only to a very limited proportion of the information generated in society, as media and governments are not able or willing to provide more than the minimum in minority languages. Their only recourse may be to give up their language and become assimilated into the culture of the dominant language, thereby losing the unifying basis of their culture.
Incidence: In the case of pluralistic societies more than one language may be official, but one language may predominate over the others, giving greater opportunities to one group. In societies where only one language is official other language groups may consist of immigrants or colonized indigenous people. If immigrants learn the official language imperfectly or simply prefer their own, a ghetto situation arises, creating a very closed-in community, perpetuating its own education and community life apart from the community at large and often at a lower level, leaving the way open for social conflict. Indigenous people may be officially deprived of their language in order to 'nationalize' them; and poor linguistic communication may make it difficult for national authorities to render adequate social services.
Problem Type: D: Detailed problems
Date of last update 07.02.1997 – 00:00 CET