Over the last 50 years, language policy has developed into a major discipline, drawing on research and practice in many nations and at many levels. This is the first Handbook to deal with language policy as a whole and is a complete 'state-of-the-field' survey, covering language practices, beliefs about language varieties, and methods and agencies for language management. It provides a historical background which traces the development of classical language planning, describes activities associated with indigenous and endangered languages, and contains chapters on imperialism, colonialism, effects of migration and globalization, and educational policy. It also evaluates language management agencies, analyzes language activism and looks at language cultivation (including reform of writing systems, orthography and modernized terminology). The definitive guide to the subject, it will be welcomed by students, researchers and language professionals in linguistics, education and politics.
Language policy is an issue of critical importance in the world today. In this 2003 introduction, Bernard Spolsky explores many debates at the forefront of language policy: ideas of correctness and bad language; bilingualism and multilingualism; language death and efforts to preserve endangered languages; language choice as a human and civil right; and language education policy. Through looking at the language practices, beliefs and management of social groups from families to supra-national organizations, he develops a theory of modern national language policy and the major forces controlling it, such as the demands for efficient communication, the pressure for national identity, the attractions of (and resistance to) English as a global language, and the growing concern for human and civil rights as they impinge on language. Two central questions asked in this wide-ranging survey are of how to recognize language policies, and whether or not language can be managed at all.
Historical sociolinguistics is a comparatively new area of research, investigating difficult questions about language varieties and choices in speech and writing. Jewish historical sociolinguistics is rich in unanswered questions: when does a language become 'Jewish'? What was the origin of Yiddish? How much Hebrew did the average Jew know over the centuries? How was Hebrew re-established as a vernacular and a dominant language? This book explores these and other questions, and shows the extent of scholarly disagreement over the answers. It shows the value of adding a sociolinguistic perspective to issues commonly ignored in standard histories. A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.
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