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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Approaches to the Development and Implementation of a Bilingual Educational Programme in Liberia
Author:Brown, Robert H.
Periodical:Liberian Studies Journal
Geographic term:Liberia
English language
African languages
languages of instruction
Education and Oral Traditions
Development and Technology
Abstract:This article describes the language situation in Liberia from the founding of the nation in the 19th century up to the present. It notes two factors which were instrumental in producing a complex network of multiethnic and multilingual speech communities: 1) the migration of various ethnolinguistic groups from the Sudanic region of Africa, and 2) the repatriation of the settlers as freed slaves from the US. Indigenous Liberian languages were perceived by the settlers to be inferior to the English language. However, no language is intrinsically inferior to any other language. As language reflects culture, the indigenous languages as vehicles of Liberian culture should be taught alongside the English language. The article suggests approaches to the development and implementation of a bilingual educational programme in Liberia, such as the formation of a language committee consisting of linguists who are also researchers, writers, teachers, teacher-trainers, language specialists, monolinguals, bilinguals, representatives from the ethnic groups whose languages are to be selected, representatives from all religious denominations, etc. Amongst others, this committee should map out linguistic zones in which community languages are to be selected and taught in the schools in that community. Ref.