Language Policy

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 227–242 | Cite as

Convergence and divergence in Basque, Irish and Sámi media language policing

  • Helen Kelly-Holmes
  • Máiréad Moriarty
  • Sari Pietikäinen
Original Paper


The language policies adopted, imposed, or rejected in minority language media highlight the complexities of multilingualism and its regulation or ordering in contemporary contexts. In this article, we discuss convergence and divergence in the language policing of three minority language media contexts, namely Basque, Irish and Sámi. All of the cases illustrate a shift from a clear-cut dichotomy of top-down versus bottom-up language policies to more fluid and situated notions of normativity. Furthermore, we can observe in these cases a shift from the idea that speakers of a particular language form a homogenous speech community, which can be served by one medium, to a polycentric concept of audience. However, despite these observable shifts, top-down policing, and monoglot-driven concepts of multilingualism and of speech communities still persist in all of the case studies, and many of the tensions highlighted arise from this co-existence, but so too do many opportunities.


Minority language media Heteroglossia Multilingualism Language policing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Kelly-Holmes
    • 1
  • Máiréad Moriarty
    • 1
  • Sari Pietikäinen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.Department of LanguagesUniversity of JyväskyläJyvaskylaFinland

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