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Title of Journal: Lang Policy

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Abbravation: Language Policy

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Springer Netherlands

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The discourse of Arabic language policies in Israel: insights from focus groups

Authors: Dafna Yitzhaki,

Publish Date: 2010/11/16
Volume: 9, Issue:4, Pages: 335-356
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This paper reports on findings of a study examining attitudes and perspectives toward the public use of Arabic in Israel as reflected by minority and majority group members. Analysis of data from 32 Israeli students—Jewish and Arabs—who participated in a series of focus group sessions yielded two main theoretical constructs that characterize the current discourse about Arabic in Israel: (1) Indigenousness—the linguistic rights and privileges that may be derived from a group’s indigenous status, that is, from the fact that it existed as a unique group prior to the establishment of the state and (2) Functionality—the tension between language policy goals directed toward concrete and immediate benefits, such as having access to services and information, and between symbolic policy goals directed toward the symbolic and collective identity interests of the linguistic group. These two constructs were found to be powerful for revealing a complex, underlying mechanism that legitimizes and delegitimizes policies in the current Israeli language policy context.



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