ERIC Number: ED326062
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Language Policy: An International Perspective. NFLC Occasional Papers.
Lambert, Richard D.
A discussion of government language policies involving more than one language looks at two policy issues: the teaching of ethnic languages and the teaching of foreign languages. A primary issue in ethnic language policy is the reconciling of competing claims of different language communities, which often represent extralingual competition and conflict among ethnic groups. Such ethnolinguistic relationships may be characterized by the degree of polarity, the status, and the territoriality of the groups. These characteristics in a number of societies around the world, including the United States, are briefly surveyed. While linguistic policy is seen as hostage to ethnic politics, foreign language policy is viewed as involving a different and complex set of decisions by the state. Steps in formulating a national foreign language policy include charting the ways in which the many different activities and organizations engaged in foreign language instruction add up to a de facto national system, determining the extent to which that system serves national needs, resolving discontinuities in the system, determining national goals, and deciding which languages to teach. It is concluded that ethnic and foreign language policies are both separate and interrelated in their effects, and that comparative language policy analysis merits further development. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Washington, DC. National Foreign Language Center.
Note: Keynote address of the Language Policy Group at the International Symposium on Language Learning of the Etats Generaux des Langues (Paris, France, April 1989).