Linguistic theory and language policy
My purpose in this chapter is to describe and critique some of the common sense beliefs about language that are often implicitly incorporated in the theories of political philosophers who engage in discussions on language policies and language rights in liberal democracies. I then consider the limitations of these views, based on research in sociolinguistics that problematizes at least some of the more common beliefs about the nature of language, that is, views on discreteness, competence, function, complexities in diagnosing linguistic inequalities and discrimination, the complexities of the language-culture nexus, and language and identity. It is these complexities that political theorists need to pay more attention to when, for example, they argue that linguistic and cultural assimilation into civil society is relatively easy, since language and culture are mutable. I then focus on the ways in which these common sense views about language and culture, and language and national identity, have played out in the Canadian context, especially over the past half century, referring to testimony in the hearings that preceded passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969. I consider the ways in which national census data obscure the actual complex linguistic diversity that exists in Canada today, and I provide an example of political speech that reinforces the deeply held ideology of French-English dualism in a country in which 200+ languages are spoken on a daily basis, in which French-English bilingualism is actually declining, and in which other types of bi- and multilingualism are flourishing.
- Structuralism in linguistic theory
- The Canadian context
Has official bilingualism worked in Canada?
The Ethics of Identity
. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
2000 The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism, and Gender
. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
1969 Aspects of the Theory of Syntax
. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.
2008 Second and foreign language education in Canada
. In Encyclopedia of Language and Education
1, N. van Scholl Deusen
& N. Hornberger
(eds), 331–341. Dordrecht: Springer.
Finegan, E. & Besnier, N.
1989 Language: Its Structure and Use
. San Diego CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
2012 Multiculturalism within a Bilingual Framework: Language, Race, and Belonging in Canada
. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
1981 The Language Myth
. London: Duckworth.
Hauser, M., Chomsky, N. & Fitch, W.T.
2002 The faculty of language: What it is, who has it, and how did it evolve
. Science 22
, 298(5598): 1569–1579.
1998 Emergent grammar
. In M. Tomasello
(ed.), The New Psychology of Language
, 155–175. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
1996 Ethnography, Linguistics, Narrative Inequality: Toward an Understanding of Voice
. London: Taylor & Francis.
2007 Canada’s changing language realities and the challenge of bilingualism, Part I
1998 Language rights theory in Canadian perspective
. In Language and Politics in the United States and Canada: Myths and Realities
, T. Ricento
& B. Burnaby
(eds), 185–205. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Makoni, S. & Pennycook, A.
2007 Disinventing and reconstituting languages
. In Disinventing and Reconstituting Languages
, S. Makoni
& A. Pennycook
(eds), 1–41. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
1861 Considerations on representative governement
. In J. Gray
(Ed.), On Liberty and Other Essays
, 203–467. Oxford: OUP.
1982 Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word
. New York NY: Routledge.
2014 Thinking about language: What political theorists need to know about language in the real world
. Language Policy
2003 The discursive construction of Americanism
. Discourse & Society
1996 Monoglot “standard” in America: Standardization and metaphors of linguistic hegemony
. In The Matrix of Language: Contemporary Linguistic Anthropology
, D. Brenneis
& R. Macaulay
, 284–306. Boulder CO: Westview Press.
1997 Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York
. New York NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
Cited by 1 other publications
. The Researcher and the Researched
. In Refugees in Canada
pp. 17 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 6 may 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.