Linguistic genocide:

linguistic genocide is "prohibiting the use of the language of the group in daily intercourse or in schools, or the printing and circulation of publications in the language of the group". This was how linguistic genocide was defined in Article III(1) of the final draft of what became The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (E 794, 1948) of the United Nations. Article III was voted down in the U.N. General Assembly when the Convention was finally accepted, and is NOT part of the final Convention. But those states then members of the U.N. were in agreement that this was how the phenomenon could be defined. Therefore, we can still use the definition.

The "prohibition" in the definition can consist of direct physical punishment, for instance when indigenous or minority children were hit or left without food or had their mouth washed when they spoke their own language. It can also be indirect, structural or psychological. If there are no minority teachers in the pre-school or school and if the minority language is not used as the main medium of education and childcare, the use of the child is indirectly prohibited from using the minority language in daily intercourse or in school. If the child is being made to feel ashamed of her language so that she stops using it in daily intercourse, its use has also been prohibited. If libraries or publishers discriminate against literature in indigenous or minority languages, publication and distribution of publications in these languages is indirectly prohibited. All this can be a question of linguistic genocide.

The definition articles II(e) and II(b) in the present convention about what is genocide also fit indigenous and minority education. They define genocide as follows:

Article II(e), "forcibly transferring children of the group to another group"; and
Article II(b), "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group"; [emphasis added].

If an indigenous or minority child does not get the main part of her basic education through the medium of her own language and is forced to be in a SUBMERSION PROGRAMME (see this entry) , with a subtractive learning environment, and if this continues for several generations, minorities are forcibly assimilated. They are, at least linguistically, often also culturally, transferred to the majority group. Children who are not educated in their own language are not likely to speak this language to their own children. Education through the medium of a (foreign or second) dominant language which leads to first displacement and then replacement (see definition entry LINGUICISM CONTINUUM) of the mother tongue, can cause serious mental harm which may continue throughout the rest of the person's life. It can prevent the child's development potential from enfolding, psychologically, in terms of identity, in school achievement. It can prevent optimal participation in further education, in the labour market and in democratic participation in decision-making in society. Much of yesterday's and today's indigenous and minority education represents linguistic genocide. (TSK)