waelisc (waelisc) wrote in linguaphiles,

Language harmonisation and standardisation?

Hi folks. I'm in the middle of reading Rehabilitating African Languages: Language Use, Language Policy and Literacy in Africa, Selected Case Studies, edited by Kwesi Kwah Prah (Capetown, South Africa : The Center for Advanced Studies of African Society, 2002).

Several of the chapters are about the linguistic work that would need to be done to more effectively use African languages in all facets of public life (education, media, book publishing) rather than the languages of the colonial period (primarily French and English.)

In this context, the authors keep referring to "language harmonisation and standardization" but don't define it. I have a vague idea that at least one task covered by that phrase is choosing a single spelling for words that are actually pronounced similarly in local variants of a given language, so that printing of textbooks, etc. can be done with more economy of scale.

Is there more? Are harmonisation and standardisation different issues, or are the two terms being used together for emphasis? I'd welcome some clarification. I did check the Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics which my library has on line, but there was nothing. I'm not a linguist (anthropology undergrad, though); this is just personal interest.


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