Language as an instrument of exclusion and of integration
Mexico City, Mexico
+ 52 55 52070487
The power of language is closely intertwined with the Mexican context, as a post-colonial context. Mexican society is characterised by multiculturalism and multilingualism. However, it is estimated that about half of the 60 or so remaining indigenous Mexican languages will disappear over the next few years. The causes for this are to be found on the one hand in language policy: often these languages are given no official function.
On the other hand, non-Spanish mother-tongue teaching in the villages and suburbs inhabited by the country’s various minorities is poorly developed. Moreover, Mexican society is strongly characterised by different socioeconomic strata which frequently coincide with or are identified by ethno-cultural and linguistic differences. In this context social exclusion always involves the use of certain linguistic tools and forms to identify and represent one’s own social group and to delineate it from others.
In the summer of 2006 the Goethe-Institut in Mexico City will be taking a look at these issues. As part of the regular classes different projects will be organised to provide a platform for reflections on language, dialects and sociolects with a view to creating language awareness and heightening the sense of the value and effect of language. The Mexican students will draw up a topographical map of Mexican languages and conduct interviews with speakers of the various Mexican sociolects. A photographic project will document the living conditions of various population groups in Mexico City. It is also planned to establish a network with classes in other countries and therefore also other linguistic contexts.