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Introducing the Folk Linguistics of Language Policy

Journal: International Journal of Language Studies (Vol.8, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 85-106

Keywords : Folk Linguistics; Language Policy; Local Language Dilemmas;

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Even without professional linguistic training, individuals of a speech community engage in language policy. They interpret and apply folk knowledge and beliefs about language to give life to language policies, or even create policy to solve local language dilemmas. These individuals are, by default, folk linguists. Folk linguistics examines the many ways folk without linguistic training perform linguistics as a science, but in the case of language policy folk linguistics has been confined to investigating the sociocultural dynamics of polities. While this remains valuable, I propose positioning language policy more holistically within the folk linguistics research agenda. This offers an exciting paradigm to examine not only what the folk believe about language policy matters, but also what folk knowledge exists about language policies and how knowledge and beliefs are applied by folk linguists to perform language policy. To explore the salience of this repositioning, I reflect on instances where I observed folk linguists of language policy in the civil service and consider the contributions a folk linguistic approach may have made.

Last modified: 2014-06-21 12:28:24