SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Language Planning and Policy

Module Code:
15PLIH032
Credits:
15
Taught in:
Term 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module examines the theory and implementation of language policy and language policy in various polities and jurisdictions. Throughout the module, consideration is given to the application of knowledge gained to real world situations. We will examine various notions of what language policy consists of, how it operates, its historical roots, and ways it can be studied empirically.

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the main issues in language policy and planning, and an understanding of the complex factors that go into language planning decisions at local, national and international levels.

Students will be guided towards in-depth reading on the topics and given the opportunity to develop their the skills of analysis and synthesis of theoretical and methodological issues. Students will also be equipped with the core analytical skills necessary to engage in research on language planning and policy, including data collection, analysis and presentation.

Workload

Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a lecture.

Scope and syllabus

This module complements existing modules on Issues in Language Documentation and Language, Society and Communication, and Language Support and Revitalisation. It will help students to gain an understanding of factors in public policy contributing to, and possible solutions to, language endangerment. It will be useful for students on the MA in Language Documentation and Description, especially those in the Support and Revitalisation strand.

The module starts with an overview of language policy and planning at all levels from nation-state governments to the individual (including the most widely accepted frameworks), then look at areas where policy and planning overlap. The module will cover areas such as:

  • the legal status of languages and language rights
  • the relationship between linguistic culture, language attitudes and ideologies and language policy
  • the interrelations between globalisation, nationalism, ethnicity, identity and language policy
  • linguistic ecology
  • language and political economy
  • historical frameworks of language policy
  • social power
  • language in education
  • cross-cultural and international communication
  • languages of wider communication, including international languages
  • multilingualism as a problem or resource
  • language minoritisation and endangerment.

Method of assessment

  • One project or essay (3500 words) (80%)
  • One presentation (20%)

Suggested reading

General background reading

  • Johnson, D. C. (2013). Language Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (main module text).
  • Hult, F. M., Johnson, D. C. (Eds.) (2015). Research Methods in Language Policy and Planning: A Practical Guide. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Kaplan, Robert B., and Baldauf, Richard B. 1997. Language Planning: From Practice to Theory. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  • May, Stephen. 2001. Language and Minority Rights. Harlow: Longman.
  • Ricento, Thomas, ed. 2005. An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Spolsky, Bernard. 2004. Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wright, Sue. 2004. Language Policy and Language Planning: Nationalism and Globalisation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules