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Title: Comment on Jan Blommaert's 'Language, Asylum, and the National Order'
Contributor(s): Eades, Diana  (author)
Publication Date: 2009
DOI: 10.1086/600131
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Abstract: Blommaert's article tells a shocking story of two of the worst injustices that an individual can experience. The Rwandan asylum seeker Joseph suffered prolonged abuse and torture in his own country as a child, only to be refused in the United Kingdom the protection from persecution that is supposed to be provided according to international human rights law. Blommaert gives us much more than a shocking story; his analysis of "modernist reactions to postmodern realities" is both strikingly simple and powerfully rich and reaches far wider than this individual's story. As Blommaert says, it would be "far too easy to rave about the ignorance or absurdity" displayed by the British government in their assessment of Joseph's story. What Blommaert provides is an understanding of problematic language ideologies that facilitate such denials of human rights, with his analysis of how "anomalous frames for interpreting human behavior ... are used as instruments of power and control in a world in which more and more people no longer correspond to the categories of such frames." The United Kingdom is among a large group of industrialized nations who take this modernist approach, using asylum seekers' speech as some kind of diagnostic for assessing the truth of their claims of origin. In the linguistics literature, this approach is called LADO, for language analysis in the determination of origin. LADO is currently being practiced by some linguists, as well as many "native speakers" without linguistic training. And it is being described, critiqued, debated, and defended within linguistic circles, particularly at conferences and workshops of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics and in several linguistics publications.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Current Anthropology, 50(4), p. 427-428
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1537-5382
Field of Research (FOR): 180102 Access to Justice
200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 940406 Legal Processes
950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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