Rethinking language policy (Bernard Spolsky)

Seminar/Forum

Rethinking language policy (Bernard Spolsky)

In Spolsky (2004), I proposed a model of language policy that consisted of three related but independent components, language practice, language beliefs and language management. I later suggested that the problem in the implementation of state policies was to be explained by the existence of language management at various levels and domains starting with the individual and the family (Spolsky, 2009). In recent studies of language policy in Portuguese (Spolsky, 2018b) and French colonies (Spolsky, 2018a) and in their successor independent states, I have learned that this model omits the non-linguistic conditions (like wars, ethnic strife and cleansing, corruption and natural disasters) that lead to changes in language repertoire or that interfere with the formation or implementation of state policies. Further, I have been persuaded of the relevance of self-management, when individuals choose to improve their own proficiency by learning a new language or modifying their own, called simple language management by Nekvapil (2006) and accommodation by Giles, Taylor, & Bourhis (1973). The expanded model permits a better understanding of the complexity of language policy and management, and difficulties of developing and implementing language policy at the state level.

Presenter

  • Professor Emeritus Bernard Spolsky