Problematising ASEAN language policy
Is the ASEAN Way the only way?
In a world where linguistic and cultural diversity is increasingly celebrated, opting for English as the sole working language, as stipulated in the ASEAN Charter, on pragmatic grounds, has made ASEAN an interesting case study from the language policy and planning (LPP) perspective. ASEAN’s LPP can be understood as the manifestation of the principles of the ‘ASEAN Way’, i.e., quiet diplomacy, non-interference, and flexible consensus. Drawing on an analysis of the three overarching principles of the ASEAN Way and with reference to the ASEAN Charter, this paper problematises the ASEAN Way of LPP, arguing that a monolingual and essentialist approach to LPP might be both insufficient and inappropriate, and calls for an ecology-of-languages paradigm for ASEAN LPP. It invites readers to reimagine language policy that is more inclusive, democratic and socially equitable – one that reflects the sociolinguistic diversity of Southeast Asia and the Association.
Keywords: language policy and planning in international organisations, ASEAN, (socio)linguistic diversity, language ideology, critical language policy, dominance of English
- Sociolinguistic context of Southeast Asia and the choice of English for ASEAN
- Problematising the ASEAN Way of LPP
- What is the ‘ASEAN Way’?
- Quiet diplomacy
- Non-interference and soft regionalism
- Flexible consensus
- From the ASEAN Way to an Alternative Way in regional LPP
Published online: 28 March 2022
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