Language and the institutional diversity canon




Wolfram, Walt

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Most institutions in North America now acknowledge the importance of diversity in the workplace and in education, and have established dedicated, organizational programs dedicated to promoting and implementing diversity. Institutional programs on diversity typically support a range of cultural and individual lifestyles and behaviors—from race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, nationality, gender, etc.—but they rarely address language variation which can index all of those characteristics. In fact, institutions of higher learning continue to reproduce linguistic subordination while supporting other kinds of diversity. As recently observed, “Academics tend to the centre-left nearly everywhere, and talk endlessly about class and Multiculturalism. (...) And yet accent and dialect are still barely on many people’s minds as deserving respect” (The Economist January 29, 2015). This presentation considers the rationale for incorporating language into university diversity programs, and illustrates practically how a current program can be implemented on a university-wide level.



Multicultural education, Language and culture, Language and education