Researchers in the field of language policy have disagreed as to the effectiveness of language policy; some experts would claim that language simply cannot be managed. Drawing on international case studies, this paper will explore how effective language policy might work in multilingual societies. Interestingly, the dominance of English as a world language is quoted as an example of both language management success and failure. On the one hand, English is perceived as being a threat to indigenous languages which are portrayed as endangered species; on the other, the hegemony of English as a world language is perceived as a sociolinguistic reality which cannot be controlled. Where English is seen as the powerful dominant language, non-native speakers are perceived as having a linguistic handicap, unless of course they learn to speak the language of power. This view is sometimes called the ‘conspiracy theory’, i.e. the powers- that-be orchestrate the spread of English. The other school of thought rejects the ‘linguistic sentimentalism’ of the conspiracy theory and argues that, in spite of all our best efforts to manage language use and prevent the spread of English, quite the opposite has happened. In both cases, diametrically opposed views of multilingualism and diaspora are presented. A third school of thought puts forward a more positive case for language policy which could operate effectively in multilingual environments. Drawing on empirical data from various classroom experiences, these studies advocate an additive bilingual environment which recognises the sociolinguistic reality of the spread of English, on the one hand, and the valuable cultural capital of indigenous languages, on the other. In line with this vision, a plausible case in favour of effective language management is presented.
"Can Language Policy Make Multiculturalism Work?,"
CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language:
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/priamls/vol1/iss1/8