Open-access E-journal for 
International Scholars, Practitioners, and Students of Multicultural Education

ISSN: 1559-5005
Copyright © 1999-2006 by 
Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education

(SPRING 2002: vol. 4, no. 1)

Language, Identity, and Politics

 Coombs Golafshani Shaw 


Art Books



Call for Papers
Call for Reviewers
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About EMME
About the Editors

Heewon Chang, Ph. D.
Copy Editor

Hwa Young Caruso,  Ed. D. &  John Caruso, Jr. , Ph. D.
Art Review Editors 

Assistant Editor

Eastern University
Education Department
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St. Davids, PA,



(provided by the editorial staff of EMME unless indicated otherwise)

Films and Videos

Becoming Bilingual: Ambos A Dos (Part 1) (1989).  35 minutes, color. Produced by Lauren Goodsmith.  Distributed by University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning.  

Becoming Bilingual: Newtown High (Part 2) (1989).  50 minutes, color. Produced by Lauren Goodsmith.  Distributed by University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning. 

The two films, produced for the same series, feature bilingual education programs implemented in New York city public schools: P. S. 155 Elementary School for Part I and Newtown High School for Part II.  Salient bilingual issues are clearly illustrated in these informative, albeit outdated, productions.  In Part I, a Puerto Rican girl, who came to the United States recently and spoke little English, was followed throughout an academic year.  Documentation of her dream and determination of becoming bilingual is interwoven with numerous informative clips from ESL classes, where English was taught as a subject to non-English speakers, and bilingual classes, where bilingual teachers code-switched Spanish and English to help students develop language skills in the new language building upon their mother tongue.  Part II, featuring the high school, illustrates how bilingual classrooms, utilizing Chinese, Spanish, and Korean respectively, help ESL students grasp content materials such as science and history in both languages--English and their native language.  Both programs favor the theoretical framework that the development of native languages support English language learning.  However, it becomes clear that the elementary school makes more deliberate efforts to help children develop literacy skills in their native languages than the high school that utilizes native languages as means to help them transit out of bilingual classrooms to English-dominant classes as soon as possible.  The films are based on theoretically sound approaches of bilingual education and advocate providing bilingual supports to ESL students for academic success.  Students' voices from both films shed insightful light on the academic, cultural and social adjustment that they were making as they learned a new language in a new land.

Politics: Will English Rule the World? (2002). 53 minutes, color. Produced by Sally Westbury.  Produced by Ron Blythe and Mike Fiddler.  Distributed by Films for the Humanities and Sciences.  

The spread of English is a worldwide phenomenon.  The film illustrates the increasing dominance of English in international politics.  For example, CNN brings world news to the world in English.  In South Africa where eleven languages are designated as official languages, English, the language of the former colonizer and oppressor, is ironically advocated as the language of national unity.  The European Union, facing a challenge of having to embrace multiple languages for official businesses, seriously questions the viability and practicality of the multilingual operation.  The film argues that dominance of English for the sake of convenience is not always kindly accepted in the United States and the world.  For example, the animated debate in the United States continues between the English-Only position, which promotes the notion that non-English speaking immigrants should abandon their language and adopt English as soon as possible to become American, and the English-Plus position, which critiques the narrow definition of cultural and language heritage for American-ness.  Linguists and advocates of the world's endangered minority languages also acknowledge the pressure of dominant languages on minority languages and warn the world that the culture, concept and identity of minority groups will be lost with disappearing languages and, once lost, will not be recovered in the future.  

So, will English rule the world?   The film does not give a clear answer to the question.  Yet, it provides a balanced view of the reality of increasing English dominance in international politics and the potential consequences it may have on the fate of minority languages of the world.  The Hupa (Hoopa) Indian's case in the United States provides a compelling illustration of  a minority language group's struggle to revive its almost lost native language.  


Bilingual Research Journal--Online
Published four times a year, the Bilingual Research Journal covers a wide range of topics regarding bilingual education, bilingualism, and language policy in education.  Each issue consists of three sections: "Research and Essays" publishes scholarly discourses; "Research in Practice" documens the experiences of teachers and other practitioners; and "Book Reviews" covers recent publications.  This journal accepts writings from a variety of perspectives although it “believe(s) in the intrinsic and inherent value of bilingualism, biliteracy and linguistic democracy.”  Articles are accepted in both English and Spanish.  Full text is available without subscription.  This site provides useful resources to pro-bilingual teachers and scholars. 

Center for Applied Linguistics
The Center for Applied Linguistics’ mission of improving communication through better understanding of language and culture is aptly fulfilled through the work they put forth on this site.  This "mega" site contains a wide range of information and activities regarding research articles, teacher education, analysis & dissemination of information, design and development of instructional materials and much more.  From this site users have access to six other “centers” that CAL is involved with, including the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC), the National K-12 Foreign Language Resource Center, the National Network for Early Language Learning (NELL) and others.  The site is also easily searchable with a topic guide that includes links to topics such as bilingual education, dialects/Ebonics, foreign languages, public policy issues, two-way immersion, etc.  This site is an excellent resource for anyone (K-12 teachers, academic scholars, and researchers) who is interested in language issues in the United States.

Language Futures in Europe
This site is a collection of links (over 130) to various articles, other websites and book reviews that are dedicated to discussing the issues of language, identity and politics.  Some of the links include sites regarding the linguicide of the Kurdish Language by the Turkish government and the effects of linguicide on the deaf community worldwide.  This site provides different perspectives and rich resources regarding worldly issues outside the United States.

Language Policy Website
Founded by the former editor of Education Week, James Crawford's Language Policy Website & Emporium is a great resource for anyone interested in language rights in the United States.  Crawford designed this site primarily to "encourage discussion of language policy issues, follow current developments, [and] report on pending language legislation."  Researchers and administrators dealing with issues of bilingual education will appreciate the exhaustive amount of resources available throughout this site.  The articles and information presented try to show both the pros and cons of the bilingual education argument but a pro-bilingual opinion pervades many of the articles. Also provided are links to over fifty other websites focusing on the themes of minority language education, language policy, official English (pros and cons sites), endangered languages, language rights, and Ebonics. 

Teaching Indigenous Languages
An outgrowth of a series of conferences, this site was founded in 1994, “focusing on the linguistic, educational, social and political issues related to the survival of the endangered indigenous languages of the world.”  For those who are interested in indigenous language preservation, especially in the United States, this site contains the full text of over 80 papers covering topics such as, but not limited to, indigenous language policy, dropout prevention, revitalizing indigenous languages, and teacher training.  This site also contains many helpful links to conference information, current events, and suggestions for teaching methods and books.

Teaching English as a Second Language-Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ)
Founded in 1996, TESL-EJ is committed to bringing information to the international audience regarding issues surrounding teaching English as a second or foreign language.  This free online journal publishes original articles in the research and practice of English as a second or foreign language with focus on, but not limited to, studies in ESL/EFL pedagogy, second language acquisition, language assessment, applied socio- and psycholinguistics, and other related areas.  Published quarterly, this site is an ideal resource for ESL teachers and practitioners, linguistic researchers, and other academics.