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ERIC Number: EJ825574
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 127
ISSN: ISSN-1466-4208
Rearticulating the Case for Minority Language Rights
May, Stephen
Current Issues in Language Planning, v4 n2 p95-125 Apr 2003
While advocacy of minority language rights (MLR) has become well established in sociolinguistics, language policy and planning and the wider human rights literature, it has also come under increased criticism in recent times for a number of key limitations. In this paper, I address directly three current key criticisms of the MLR movement. The first is a perceived tendency towards "essentialism" in articulations of language rights. The second is the apparent "utopianism" and "artificiality" of "reversing language shift" in the face of wider social and political "realities". And the third is that the individual "mobility" of minority-language speakers is far better served by shifting to a majority language. While acknowledging the perspicacity of some of these arguments, I aim to rearticulate a defence of minority language rights that effectively addresses these key concerns. This requires, however, a sociohistorical/sociopolitical rather than a biological/ecological analysis of MLR. In addition, I will argue that a sociohistorical/sociopolitical defence of MLR can problematise the positions often adopted by minority language rights' critics themselves, particularly those who defend majoritarian forms of linguistic essentialism and those who sever the instrumental/identity aspects of language. Implications for language policy and planning will also be discussed. (Contains 15 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A