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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 30, Issue 2


Language policy and language ideologies in Szekler Land (Rumania): A promotion of bilingualism?

Zsuzsanna Éva Kiss
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  • Secondary education English and Rumanian teacher at János Karácsonyi Grammar School, Gyula (Hungary).
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Published Online: 2011-06-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2011.010


This article discusses the problems related to the teaching of the state language, Rumanian, in the context of the Hungarian minority population in Szekler Land, Rumania, and the language ideologies connected to Rumanian on the basis of empirical research. On the one hand, it is argued that at present the methodology of state language teaching in Hungarian minority schools in Szekler Land disregards the linguistic needs of the minority Hungarian population and functions as an obstacle to developing Hungarian–Rumanian bilingualism for the Hungarian population due to the absence of context specific school curricula, textbooks and examination criteria that disadvantage students in learning the state language, Rumanian, in a Hungarian majority linguistic environment. On the other hand, the present article briefly presents the language ideologies of the Hungarian minority population in Szekler Land related to the state language. Data collection included the analysis of official documents on Rumania's minority language policy, the exploitation of the language policy view of academics and the empirical research conducted through the means of semi-structured interviews. The research presented in this article is part of the international LINEE (Languages in a Network of European Excellence) Project, work package number 9, called (Inter) regional Case Studies of Multilingual Education, which set out to survey and analyze educational practices in multilingual settings in four regions: Bolzano/Bozen (Italy), Vojvodina (Serbia), Transylvania (Romania) and ‘Felvidék’ (Slovakia). Data sources included 95 digitally recorded semi-structured interviews with NGO representatives, school principals, language teachers and students from the Hungarianpopulated regions of Transylvania and analysis of official documents on minority education. The minority secondary schools investigated are located in two bilingual counties of Szekler Land and have the minority language as the language of instruction either partly or entirely. Based on the findings, my assessment is that bilingual education in Szekler Land does not contribute to the achievement of Hungarian–Rumanian bilingual competence of minority individuals due to unsuccessfully designed and badly implemented state language teaching methodologies.

Keywords:: language policy; language ideologies; critical discourse analysis; the Hungarian minority in Szekler Land (Rumania)

About the article

Address for correspondence: 5 Kurucz Street, Gyula 5700, Hungary.

Published Online: 2011-06-03

Published in Print: 2011-06-01

Citation Information: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 221–264, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2011.010.

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