Introduction: Ecological Metaphors, Minority Voices, and Language Education in the Kumaun

  • Cynthia Groff
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)


This chapter introduces the ethnographic study presented in the book, including its conceptual foundations and goals. The ecology of language metaphor is situated in its developing literature base, highlighting the importance of human agency and the connection between language policy and language ideology. A thorough description of the relationships among languages and their social environment in a given context, reflecting an ecological perspective, involves attention to the agency of local actors and the policies, discourse, and ideologies that surround them. Conceptual influences from educational anthropology, sociolinguistics, and development studies are presented, including the continua of biliteracy, language ideology, language planning and policy, the disinvention of language, the valuing of minority voices, as well as the language and education situation relevant to linguistic minorities in India.


  1. Ager, D. (2001). Motivation in language planning and language policy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  2. Agnihotri, R. K. (2007). Identity and multilinguality: The case of India. In A. B. M. Tsui & J. W. Tollefson (Eds.), Language policy, culture and identity in Asian contexts (pp. 185–204). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Annamalai, E. (2001). Managing multilingualism in India: Political and linguistic manifestation (Vol. 8). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Blackledge, A. (2008). Language ecology and language ideology. In A. Creese, P. Martin, & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education (2nd ed.), Volume 9: Ecology of language (pp. 27–40). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Canagarajah, A. S. (Ed.). (2005). Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Creese, A., & Martin, P. (Eds.). (2003). Multilingual classroom ecologies: Inter-relationships, interactions and ideologies. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  7. Creese, A., & Martin, P. (2008). Introduction to Volume 9: Ecology of language. In Encyclopedia of language and education (Vol. 9, pp. i–vi). New York: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  8. Cummins, J. (2001). Cultural and linguistic diversity in education: A mainstream issue? In J. Cummins, C. Baker, & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), An introductory reader to the writings of Jim Cummins. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  9. Daswani, C. J. (Ed.). (2001). Language education in multilingual India. New Delhi: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  10. Dua, H. R. (1985). Language planning in India. New Delhi: Harnam.Google Scholar
  11. Dua, H. R. (1986). Language planning and linguistic minorities. In E. Annamalai, B. Jernudd, & J. Rubin (Eds.), Language planning: Proceedings of an institute (pp. 43–72). Mysore: CIIL.Google Scholar
  12. Fill, A. (1998). Ecolinguistics—State of the art 1998. AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 23, 3–16.Google Scholar
  13. Fill, A. (2001). Language and ecology: Ecolinguistic perspectives for 2000 and beyond. AILA Review, 14, 60–75.Google Scholar
  14. Fill, A., & Muhlhausler, P. (Eds.). (2001). Ecolinguistics reader: Language, ecology and environment. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  15. Goodman, B. A. (2013). Towards a multilingual future: The ecology of language at a University in Eastern Ukraine. Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. Paper 756.
  16. Gordon, R. G., Jr. (Ed.). (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the world (15th ed.). Dallas: SIL International. Online version:
  17. Halliday, M. A. K. (1992). New ways of meaning: The challenge to applied linguistics. In M. Pütz (Ed.), Thirty years of linguistic evolution. Studies in Honour of René Dirven (pp. 59–95). Philadelphia/Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Halliday, M. (2006). New ways of meaning. In A. Fill & P. Muhlhausler (Eds.), The ecolinguistics reader: Language, ecology and environment (pp. 175–193). London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  19. Haugen, E. (1972). The ecology of language. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Heller, M., & Martin-Jones, M. (2001). Voices of authority: Education and linguistic difference. Westport: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Hornberger, N. H. (1989). Continua of biliteracy. Review of Educational Research, 59(3), 271–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hornberger, N. H. (2002). Multilingual language policies and the continua of biliteracy: An ecological approach. Language Policy, 1(1), 27–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hornberger, N. H. (2003). Continua of biliteracy: An ecological framework for educational policy, research, and practice in multilingual settings. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  24. Hornberger, N. H. (2006). Negotiating methodological rich points in applied linguistics research: An ethnographer’s view. In M. Chalhoub-Deville, C. A. Chapelle, & P. Duff (Eds.), Inference and generalizability in applied linguistics: Multiple perspectives (pp. 221–240). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hornberger, N. H., & Skilton-Sylvester, E. (2000). Revisiting the continua of biliteracy: International and critical perspectives. Language and Education: An International Journal, 14(2), 96–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hornberger, N. H., & Vaish, V. (2009). Multilingual language policy and school linguistic practice: Globalization and English-language teaching in India, Singapore and South Africa. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Educational Researcher, 39(3), 305–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Irvine, J. T., & Gal, S. (2000). Language ideology and linguistic differentiation. In P. V. Kroskrity (Ed.), Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities, and identities. Santa Fe: School of American Research.Google Scholar
  28. Jhingran, D. (2005). Language disadvantage: The learning challenge in primary education. New Delhi: A.P.H. Publishing.Google Scholar
  29. Jørgensen, J. N. (2008). Polylingual languaging around and among children and adolescents. International Journal of Multilingualism, 5(3), 161–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaplan, R. B. (1989). Language planning vs. planning language. In C. H. Candlin & T. F. McNamara (Eds.), Language, learning and community (pp. 193–203). Sydney: NCELTR.Google Scholar
  31. Khubchandani, L. M. (1981). Multilingual education in India. Pune: Center for Communication Studies.Google Scholar
  32. Khubchandani, L. M. (1992). Tribal identity: A language and communication perspective. New Delhi: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Indus Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Khubchandani, L. M. (2001). Language demography and language education. In C. J. Daswani (Ed.), Language education in multilingual India. New Delhi: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  34. Khubchandani, L. M. (2003). Defining mother tongue education in plurilingual contexts. Language Policy, 2, 239–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Khubchandani, L. M. (2005, October 7). Mother-tongue education in plurilingual contexts. Paper presented at the Educational Linguistics Forum Brown Bag, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  36. Leather, J., & Dam, J. (Eds.). (2003). Ecology of language acquisition (Vol. 1). Dordrecht, NL: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  37. Mackey, W. F. (2001). The ecology of language shift. In A. Fill & P. Muhlhausler (Eds.), The ecolinguistics reader: Language, ecology and environment (pp. 67–74). London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  38. Makoni, S., & Pennycook, A. (Eds.). (2007). Disinventing and reconstituting languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  39. May, S. (2001). Language and minority rights: Ethnicity, nationalism and the politics of language. Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  40. May, S. (2004). Rethinking linguistic human rights. Answering questions of identity, essentialism and mobility. In J. Freel & D. Patrick (Eds.), Language rights and language survival (pp. 35–54). Manchester: St. Jerome.Google Scholar
  41. Mitchell, L. (2005). Parallel languages, parallel cultures: Language as a new foundation for the reorganization of knowledge and practice in Southern India. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 42(4), 445–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mohanty, A. (2005, October). Perpetuating inequality: Language disadvantage and capability deprivation of tribal mother tongue speakers in India. Paper presented at the Cornell Conference on Language and Poverty, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  43. Mohanty, K. (2006). Multilingualism of the unequals and predicaments of education in India: Mother tongue or other tongue? In O. Garcia, T. Skutnabb-Kangas, & M. E. Torres-Guzman (Eds.), Imagining multilingual schools (pp. 262–279). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  44. Mufwene, S. S. (2001). The ecology of language evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pennycook, A. (2004). Language policy and the ecological turn. Language Policy, 3(3), 213–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phillipson, R., & Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1996a). English only worldwide or language ecology? TESOL Quarterly, 30(3), 429–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Phillipson, R., & Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1996b). Is India throwing away its language resources? English Today, 12(1), 23–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ricento, T. (2000). Historical and theoretical perspectives in language policy and planning. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 4(2), 196–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ricento, T., & Hornberger, N. H. (1996). Unpeeling the onion: Language planning and policy and the ELT professional. TESOL Quarterly, 30(3), 401–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shohamy, E. (2009). Language policy as experiences. Language Problems & Language Planning, 33(2), 185–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Phillipson, R. (2008). A human rights perspective on language ecology. In A. Creese, P. Martin, & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language and education (2 ed.), Volume 9: Ecology of language (pp. 3–13). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  52. Vaish, V. (2004). Vidyashakti: Biliteracy and empowerment in India. The continua of biliteracy in action. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  53. Vaish, V. (2008). Biliteracy and globalization: English language education in India. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Van Lier, L. (2006). The ecology and semiotics of language learning: A sociocultural perspective (Vol. 3). New York: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  55. Woolard, K. A. (1998). Introduction: Language ideology as a field of inquiry. In B. B. Schieffelin, K. A. Woolard, & P. V. Kroskrity (Eds.), Language ideologies: Practice and theory (pp. 3–49). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia Groff
    • 1
  1. 1.Leiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations