Discrimination based on language is the unequal treatment of individuals on the basis of their proficiency or their way of using the language. This may include the use of the mother tongue or of a second language, as well as the way of speaking, the accent, the precision of the vocabulary and the grammar. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas highlighted the phenomena of and designated it with the term “linguicism.” Linguicism refers to the ideologies, structures, and practices that are used to legitimate, create, regulate, and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources (both material and non-material) between groups that are defined on the basis of language (Skutnabb-Kangas & Phillipson, 1989, p.455). In contrast to linguistic prejudice, linguistic discrimination involves the actual treatment of individuals based on use of language that continues to reproduce the status quo.
Research is needed to verify the link between certain Language Education Policies and systemic linguicism in the school curricula and policies of various countries, and find ways to prevent unfair treatment of minority populations. People are ‘schooled in such a way that their own language is devalued (and) tend to reject their mother tongue that is related to prejudice and discrimination’ (Tochon, 2009). There is intense indoctrination, and young people participate in their own linguistic genocide (Bear Nicholas, 2009) (See Language Ideology)
This applies to both oral and written language alike. For example individuals who don’t speak ‘properly” or communities can be divided by who knows and who doesn’t know the heritage language and use it as a cultural basis. These oral practices are nevertheless still tied to schooling.
See Language Deficit; National Frameworks; Education, High Stakes Exams, and Inequalities.