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MultiLing Winter School 2018: Language policy in multilingual contexts – methodological approaches/Norway

Last Updated: 30 Nov 2017

University of Oslo, 5-9 February 2018

Registration from November 15th to December 15th

Language policy and planning (LPP) as a discipline was initially developed as a part of sociolinguistics and language-in-society studies and emerged as a field of study in the 1960s (Kaplan, Baldauf, Liddicoat, Bryant, Barbaux, and Pütz 2000). Wright (2004) outlines how LPP after WWII, as a result of decolonisation, moved from being primarily an integral part of nation building to a subject of academic enquiry. The structuralist era after WWII laid the foundations of what was to characterise LPP until the critical turn in the social sciences and humanities in the 1970s. Language was seen as a static and delimited entity, an object which could be captured, codified and thus standardised. Key concepts in linguistics such as mother tongue, speech community, native speaker, linguistic competence and even the term language itself was questioned compelling researchers to take on a critical approach to language policy, underscoring issues of power, identity and highlighting that language policies, though influencing practice, are also deeply embedded in practice (Lane 2014, Hult 2017).

Language policy may be implicit in the language practices of a community, or compelled by the ideology of a society, or specifically mandated in the activities of an authorized language management agency King and Shohamy 2002; Spolsky 2009; Barakos, E., & Unger 2016) . Language policy may take place on many different levels - both formally through policy making and informally, though language socialisation and practices. Language policy may be seen as an evolving phenomenon shaped and reshaped by discursive practices, which in turn are embedded in the multiple contextual and semiotic resources available in specific social activities and environments (Blommaert et al. 2010). Thus, there is interplay between formal and informal aspects of language policy; social actors are influenced by language policies, which in turn are shaped and challenged by social actors.

In recent research on language policy, an increasing number of researchers use ethnographic and discourse-analytic methods to examine language policy processes as practices, with a focus on how policy texts, ideologies and discourses relate to language practices in schools, families, communities and private businesses (McCarty 2011; Smith-Christmas 2016; Gonçalves and Schluter 2016; King and Lanza 2017). In order to do this, researchers draw on methods from a range of fields (Hult and Johnson 2015), and therefore, the goal of the Winter School is to introduce and evaluate key qualitative methods and introduce and discuss central concepts in the field of language policy, with a particular emphasis on studies in multilingual settings. Go to website...>>>