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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.
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