Language policy and practice a challenge for Tibet's future
Languages encode human knowledge and experience. In its transmission of Tibetan systems of thought, cognition and understanding, the Tibetan language has been recognized as a resource for humanity. But while the value of the Tibetan language as a repository of human culture is becoming broadly appreciated, the dynamics of the struggle to make the modern Tibetan language a vital living language have been less clear. Circumscribed by assimilationist pressures within the education system, the marketplace and the institutional practices of state-led development in the Tibetan region, Tibetans now face the possibility of an accelerated rate of language loss in the coming generation.
The TGAP Forum on Language Policy and Practice launches a new conversation to explore the conditions for the flourishing of the Tibetan language within the context of bilingualism in the Tibetan region. Drawing on a broad-based comparative research agenda to investigate the effects of the relationship between language use and regulation, the TGAP Forum examines the socio-economic and institutional forces that lead to language loss while identifying the legal and regulatory factors that can serve to strengthen effective bilingualism. In tracking the development of specific language policies and practices in educational institutions, the marketplace and in the administration of public life, the TGAP Forum seeks to formulate and advance solutions-oriented strategies and approaches toward the project of Tibetan language protection and linguistic pluralism in contemporary Tibet.