Hangovers of globalization
A case study of laissez-faire language policy in Denmark
Denmark is known for its rather “liberal” and implicit language policy. Many of the decisions concerning the use, acquisition and status of languages are influenced by political decisions made on other topics and by the changing governments’ hidden political agenda. Language policy is therefore not so much non-existent as it is hidden. The aim of the present article is to uncover the covert mechanisms of language policymaking and its relationship to the prevailing linguistic culture. The roots of the laissez-faire language policy in Denmark are planted deeply in the prevailing linguistic culture in the country, according to which sanctioning and controlling the use of language is conceived as discriminatory, as it is in conflict with the right to freedom of speech. However, recent sociolinguistic research carried out in Denmark bears witness to the fact that the laissez-faire or liberal language policy does not necessarily contribute to linguistic diversity, but quite to the contrary speeds up the opposite processes of standardization and dedialectalization.
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