Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

The Ecology of Language: Insight and Illusion

  • John Edwards
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_218

Introduction

As a term and a focus of study, ecology is a mid‐nineteenth‐century coinage of Ernst Haeckel and, as its Greek root ( οίκος = home) implies, the emphasis is upon the holistic study of environments within which lives are lived and intertwined. Ecology is about adaptations whose necessity arises from inevitable linkages.

In both the ‘natural’ world and the constructed one, ecology is pivotal, and any ecological model deserves our notice. That is why it is important to understand the framework, the assumptions and the scope of the ‘new’ ecology of language. Although it is, I believe, a deeply flawed model, a broader ecological sensitivity is important; perhaps, in fact, the real value of current approaches is that their very inadequacies focus attention in salutary ways. In some ways, then, the ‘new’ ecolinguistics suggests a welcome extension to the breadth and depth of the larger ecological enterprise—and current ecological discussion does indeed touch upon the most central...

Keywords

Language Policy Linguistic Diversity Language Planning English Language Teaching Heritage Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.St Francis Xavier UniversityNova ScotiaCanada