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Language Policy

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 323–341 | Cite as

Language policy and language governance: a case-study of Irish language legislation

  • John WalshEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

In this paper, it is argued that the existing conceptual framework of ‘language policy’ should be expanded to include perspectives from the emerging field of ‘language governance’, as the latter pays attention to the multi-faceted internal and external contexts in which institutions and organisations seek to develop language policy. The paper begins by reviewing contributions from the field of governance and assesses how these can expand the scope of language policy, particularly when conducting case-studies of individual organisations. It then sketches the current demographic and macro-policy context of the Irish language. The paper concludes with a case-study of statutory language schemes ratified under the Official Languages Act 2003, legislation which promotes the use of the Irish language for official purposes. The discussion reveals conflicting language beliefs between the legislation itself and the language schemes of individual organisations, in this case public bodies. Therefore, the expansion of the conceptual framework to include governance facilitates a broader analysis of tensions around language policy both within and between different levels of public administration.

Keywords

Irish language Language legislation Language ideology Language governance Language policy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages, Literatures and CulturesNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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