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Indigenous Languages in Colombia's National Plan of Bilingualism

Minority Languages, Language Policy and Planning
by

Marlon Valencia

on 24 June 2011

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Transcript of Indigenous Languages in Colombia's National Plan of Bilingualism

Linguistic Context
Political Context
Language Education Policy in Colombia
Proposed Models: Trilingual/Multilingual Education
Lenguas Indígenas en el Programa Nacional de Bilingüismo de Colombia

Marlon Valencia
Andrés Pastrana
(1998-2002)
Alvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010)
Juan Manuel Santos
(2010-2014)
Guambiana Girl
Wayuu woman
Taita Cofán
Palenqueros
San Andrés Islander
1991 Constitution acknowledged Colombia as a multi-ethnic and “pluricultural” nation through the constitution’s Article 7 (de Mejía, 2005, p. 50).
Colombia has two types of communities with L1 minority languages, the Amerindians and the Afro-Colombians.
In the case of the Amerindian communities, their education was in the hands of Catholic missionaries, starting in the 16th century and continuing into the 19th century as shown by a treaty signed between the missionaries and the Government in 1888.
El Palenque de San Basilio está localizado en el depalocated in the northern State of Bolivar. It is a community that started from a group of runaway African slaves who spoke different L1 languages, but had Spanish as the only common linguistic background.
San Andrés is an island in the Colombian Caribbean colonised by English Puritan settlers in 1631, which was then conquered by the Spanish in 1786 (de Mejía, 2005, p. 52). English-speaking native inhabitants were allowed to remain in the island as long as “they swore allegiance to the Spanish Crown, converted to Catholicism and communicated in Spanish” (de Mejía, 2005, p. 53).
Uribe Government

2006 Re-election.
Democratic Security: False positives.
Spying the opposition and NGOs.
Legislation in favour of national and transnational companies.
"Other legal changes included tariff rebates, preferential agreements---which are not applied reciprocally to products produced in our country---tax exemptions, tax parity between national and foreign industries, facilitation of profit repatriation, compensation for nationalization, and special guarantees in the case of lawsuits against transnationals" (Ramírez Cuellar, 2004, p. 35).
Bilingualism in Colombia

Elite bilingualism
Ethnoeducation
Theoretical Framework
language “is not a stand-alone system” (Holborow, 2006b, p. 1) that can be fully understood “as an independent structure whose origins and constituent parts are not socially derived (Holborow, 2006b, p.1); on the contrary, language is a social construct built through human thought and interaction of “speakers in unpredictable ways” (Holborow, 2006b, p. 25).
Critical Language Policy
Tollefson (2006) situates Critical language-policy (CLP) within the “growing field of critical applied linguistics” (p. 42), a field that includes critical discourse analysis, literacy studies, and critical pedagogy.
a critical position with regards to traditional main-stream approaches to LP analysis
CLP includes research that attempts to produce social change and
CLP research is influenced by the use of critical theory (2006, p. 42).
Tollefson's Historical-Structural Approach to LP

takes into consideration the historical, sociopolitical and economic contexts in which language policies are created and applied and.
and highlights the active participation of researchers in discussions that should lead to the creation of policies (Tollefson, 2006, p.49).
Language as Symbolic Capital

Linguistic skills, such as language proficiency, cultural knowledge, or any type of specialised skills, are all forms of symbolic capital than can be exchanged in a “ ‘marketplace’ of social interaction” (de Mejía, 2002, p. 36).
“The constitution of a linguistic market creates conditions for an objective competition in and through which the legitimate competence can function as linguistic capital, producing a profit of distinction on the occasion of each social exchange” (Bourdieu, 1991, p. 55).
National Plan of Bilingualism
In 2004 Colombia designed a language policy called Programa Nacional de Bilingüismo 2004-2019 (PNB = National Plan of Bilingualism) promotes English/Spanish bilingualism in majority language contexts, as well as indigenous languages/Spanish bilingualism in minority language contexts (MEN, 2006, p. 5).
Literacy: Reading the Word and the World (Freire, 1987; 2000).
"[T]ransformative approaches to pedagogy broaden the focus
still further by emphasizing the relevance not only of transmitting the curriculum and constructing knowledge but also of enabling students to gain insight into how knowledge intersects with power " (Cummins, 2010).
"Restricting the notion of 'bilingualism'to Spanish/Englsih bilingualism leads to a disorted view of the complex interrelationships between langauges, cultures and identities in the Colombian context" (de Mejía, 2006, p. 165).
"A 2001 report documented the depressingly predictable long-term effect of the mine on the indigenous Wayuu communities: the proliferation of alcoholism and prostitution, the loss of sacred spaces, a rise in death rates due to poisoning and contamination form the mine and its wastes, loss of cultural integrity and identity, and increasing poverty" (Ramírez Cuellar, 2005, p.17).
"the defining criterion of transformative pedagogy is that teacher-student classroom interactions challenge the operation of coercive relations of power" (Cummins, 2010).
Ethnolinguistic Diversity protection programme
Institutional: Coordination of efforts, legislation and institutional practices.
Social: Sensibilization of speakers, and ethnic groups, as well as the whole Colombian population on the value of using vernacular languages.
Informative: To find out the actual vitality of languages and identify the multiple factors that threaten them as well as the actions than may facilitate their revitalization in schools, media, ect.
Thank you!
Some Stats

Total area: 1,138,910 sq km
Population: 42.888.592 as of June 30th, 2005
(DANE, 2005 Census).
Estimated population today: 45.863.447
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.4%
male: 90.1%
female: 90.7% (2005 census)
References for information about Colombia

CIA. (Frebruary, 2011). South America: Colombia. In The World Factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/co.html

Colombia. Ministerio de Educación Nacional [MEN]. (2006b). Estándares Básicos de Competencias en Lenguas Extranjeras: Inglés. Retrieved March 7, 2009, from http://www.mineducacion.gov.co/cvn/1665/article-115174.html

Colombia. Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística [DANE]. (2005). Censo General 2005. Retrieved from http://www.dane.gov.co/daneweb_V09/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=307&Itemid=124

Colombia. Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística [DANE]. (2009). Resultados 2009: Presentación. En Empalme de las series de Empleo, Pobreza y Desigualdad. Retrieved from http://www.dane.gov.co/daneweb_V09/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=430&Itemid=66

Colombia. Departamento Nacional de Planeación [DNP]. (2009). Educación Básica y Media. Retrieved from http://www.dnp.gov.co/PortalWeb/Programas/Educaci%C3%B3nyculturasaludempleoypobreza/Subdirecci%C3%B3ndeEducaci%C3%B3n/Educaci%C3%B3nB%C3%A1sicayMedia.aspx

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2008). Education in Colombia. Retrieved from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/document.aspx?ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng&BR_Country=1700&BR_Region=40520

UNESCO. (2009). Interactive Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. Retrieved June 8th, 2009, from http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?pg=00206
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