Language Planning and Policy

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Linguistics

Module overview

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.


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

Scope and syllabus

This module complements modules on Language, Society and Communication, and Language Support and Revitalisation. It will help students to gain an understanding of factors in public policy regarding languages, e.g. multilingualism, language education, language shift. LPP is an interdisciplinary field so this open module will be of interest to students of other disciplines such Politics, Migration Studies, Gender Studies as well as those doing MA Linguistics and MA Language Documentation and Description.

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

  • 60% - Essay 2,500 words
  • 40% - Digital/oral assignment (talk, poster, podcast, video, narrated PowerPoint, blog, vlog), 5 minutes
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

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.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules