What is language policy?

  • David Cassels Johnson
Part of the Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics book series (RPAL)


The natural first question is: What is language policy? The question is commonly asked in books on the topic but concrete definitions are less common than discussions of language policy in terms of types, goals, or examples. This chapter will take both approaches by first examining and synthesizing definitions already in circulation and then looking at some example language policies to see how these definitions hold up. Complicating the question is the relationship between language policy and the term that preceded it, language planning. Most would agree that language policy and language planning are closely related but different activities. Some argue that language planning subsumes language policy (Kaplan and Baldauf 1997) while others argue that language policy subsumes language planning (Schiffman 1996). For the title of this book, the term language policy is adopted for two reasons: (1) terminological simplicity, and (2) within accepted definitions of language planning, there is an assumption that some agent(s) makes a plan intended to influence language forms or functions, yet, there are many examples of language policy that are not intentional and/or not planned. However, throughout much of the book I will use language planning and policy, often referred to as LPP, both out of respect for the tradition of research that gave rise to the field (language planning) and The historical trajectory because the two fields have, for all intents and purposes, coalesced into one (Hornberger2006a).


Language Policy Double Negative Indigenous Language Language Planning Language Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© David Cassels Johnson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cassels Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations