Target audience: Language, mother - language and bilingual scholars, teachers, parents and students and others interested in diversity, language and culture. As of today, morsmal.org is the only web-based migration-education resource in Norway, which follows the curriculum for mother tongue teaching for both L97 and the latest Knowledge Lift". During the year 2009, the website had 595,338 unique visits from 96 countries from all continents. 62% of the users of the website are Norwegians, 15% are Swedish and 9% are Americans. We have also had 2 unique visits from the International Space Station (most likely from the bilingual NASA astronauts who were on space travel in July 2009).
Migration Educational Resources: - The portal is without any doubt, the largest collection of migration-education resources, news, articles, links, files and documents in Scandinavia. There are over 50,000 such resources in the portal. According to Alexa ranking list of most visited sites morsmal.org is the most visited migration educational resource in Scandinavia. - The website is the only multilingual news and resource portal in Norway that is indexed either as a news source or educational resource on dmoz.org, news.google.com and unesco.org. - The portal is described and linked from on several important national and international organizations. Several colleges in Norway use the portal as part of the curriculum in various courses related to multicultural education, while several researchers and universities in Norway, Sweden, the United States and other countries recommend the portal's resources to their students. - The news articles on morsmal.org are often quoted by important news sources in Norway and internationally. The website was mentioned/quoted by CNN iReport, National Geographic, NRK and several local and national newspapers in Norway. - As of today we have over 4000 registered users from 73 countries, over 7,000 users on the newsletter and approx. 1000 Twitter users ( http://www.twitter.com/morsmal ). - The website has collaborated with several agencies in Norway, Scandinavia and internationally and as stated above, it is an NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO. - All content on the website are the property of their respective owners and are protected by the open source GPL license from 2002 until 2010.
History: - Morsmal portal was established in 2002 under the name: regnbue.com as a campaign for the preservation of international languages and culture in Norway ( http://www.morsmal.org/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=viewnews&id=082 ) . - Later in 2003 the rainbow portal moved to morsmal.org and the portal was developed since in an international open-source collaboration with WebAPP (http://www.web-app.net), IT Group of Bergen Municipality (http://www.gs.bergen.hl.no/~admi-morsm) admin. For mother language teaching/AFM (closed from year 2004) and other partners. - The name of the site was chosen and registered by the current editor who has had the economic, legal and technical responsibility for the domain name all these years. The website was made voluntarily summer holiday in 2003 by current editor, and in cooperation with the inspector who was head of the IT group at the AFM. In August 2003 this responsibility was taken over by the principle of the AFM who asked to place his name on the portals footer as "publisher". No changes made to the website GPL (attached to all the thousands of data files in the Web page), or license status as a result of this change. It was also requested the current editor in chief would remove his name from published articles as author. - Despite the good cooperation and policy provisions (http://www3.bergen.kommune.no/BKSAK_filer/bksak% 5C2006% 5CKKIO% 5C2006047373-1.Doc), it is important to note that both the Bergen Municipality and AFM have never accepted the morsmal.org as their official website. Thus neither Bergen Municipality or AFM has decided to register, develop or maintain the website. - As a result of the cooperation with the AFM, there were developed hundreds of Perl scripts, these scripts were developed under open source GPL license in close cooperation with WebAPP. - In 2009 morsmal.org was chosen to participate in UNESCO's commemoration of UN International Year for the rapprochement between cultures.
What is mother language? - According to the "folk definition" mother language is the language one thinks, dreams, counting at, etc. - Mother language can be defined as the language the child learns first. - If one chooses to emphasize the skills or expertise, we could say that mother language is the language one masters best. - From a function point of view one could say that language is the language one uses most, and - From an attitude point of view one may argue that mother language is the language one identifies with.
For the majority of pupils, all these definitions coincide and refine the same language, majority language: mother language is both the language one learns first, masters best, uses it most often and identifies with. For most bilingual minority pupils, the same could be true. This means that they master best the minority language that they also use most and identify with.
However, it is not always that a bilingual minority pupil learns their mother language/minority language first. The pupil may be born in a bilingual family where one parent speaks the majority language as their first, or it can be adopted by parents who only speak the majority language. Thus, it is not certain that the child identifies itself unilaterally with some of the languages. Therefore none of the criteria for mother language listed above is absolute. It is also suggested therewith that one may have several mother languages. It implies therefore that it is possible to identify equally with several languages, and from a pluralistic viewpoint one can argue that this is even desirable, it is a goal.
If one uses the mother language / minority language or other language / majority language mostly, will thereby be dependent on the total life situation of the child or person, both the family situation, housing situation, school situation and working situation of parents. To have best skills in mother language / minority language, will also depend on the total life situation of the child. For most minority children in preschool and early school age, this will still be the case. But whether the child should continue to develop skills on the mother language, will depend on whether the parents and the community gives active support and stimulation, whether the child has the same age playmates who mainly use the minority language, not least if the kindergarten and the school provide systematic training in their mother tongue. Both the steady aging factor and learning factor can in turn work back on the degree of identification with the minority language. If the assimilation pressure in the community is strong, the willingness to identify with the majority language may also be strong, even if ones skills at the majority language are not as good as with mother language.
Source: Ministry of Education, NOU 1995: 12, What is mother tongue? Proposed definition .
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