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Eliminating social inequality by reinforcing standard language ideology? Language policy for Dutch in Flemish schools

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Flanders, the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, is facing a growing intra- and interlingual diversity. On the intralingual level, Tussentaal ('in-between-language') emerged as a cluster of intermediate varieties between the Flemish dialects and Standard Dutch, gradually becoming the colloquial language. At the same time, Flanders counts a growing number of immigrants and languages. This paper analyses the way Flemish language-in-education policy deals with these (perceived) problems of substandardisation and multilingualism, in order to create equal opportunities for all pupils, regardless of their native language or social background. Both the policy and the measures it proposes are strongly influenced by different, yet intertwined ideologies of standardisation and monolingualism. By propagating Standard Dutch as the only acceptable language (variety) and denying all forms of language diversity, Flemish language-in-education policy not only fails to create equal opportunities, but reinforces ideologies that maintain inequality. Instead, language policy should be open towards language diversity, taking the role of teachers in forming and implementing policies into consideration.
Journal: Current Issues in Language Planning
ISSN: 1466-4208
Issue: 1-2
Volume: 16
Pages: 8 - 25
Publication year:2015