The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities

This Handbook is an in-depth appraisal of the field of minority languages and communities today. It presents a wide-ranging, coherent picture of the main topics, with key contributions from international specialists in sociolinguistics, policy studies, sociology, anthropology and law. Individual chapters are grouped together in themes, covering regional, non-territorial and migratory language settings across the world. It is the essential reference work for specialist researchers, scholars in ancillary disciplines, research and coursework students, public agencies and anyone interested in language diversity, multilingualism and migration.

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The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities Edited by Gabrielle Hogan-Brun Bernadette O’Rourke

The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities “This Handbook is, quite simply, a tour de force. Offering far greater breadth, depth and analytical heft than ever before, the handbook extends the fields of minority language studies and multilingualism conceptually, disciplinarily, geographically, and pragmatically. It is sure to be a key reference for years to come.” —Stephen May, University of Auckland, New Zealand “This truly informative and expert Handbook offers detailed accounts of the history and contemporary context of minority language communities on every continent. The overall effect is a stunning testament to the resilience of minority language policy actors and community identities in the face of migration, mobility and globalizing forces in every corner of our world.” —Nancy H. Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania, USA “This is an outstanding collection of perspectives, analyses and views of the dynamic role of minority languages in the public life of communities all across the world. The Handbook makes a signal contribution to practical understanding and intervention in legal, educational and policy fields. Expertly edited to produce coherence of focus and consistency of treatment, the Handbook as a whole and its individual chapters provide excellent coverage of a diverse range of settings across the world. It is clear from reading the volume that our ‘science’ of multilingual studies has been premised on too few cases, too few histories, and too narrow a range of experience. The Handbook is a consolidated resource that rewards regular reading and deep study.” —Joseph Lo Bianco, University of Melbourne, Australia

Gabrielle Hogan-Brun Bernadette O’Rourke Editors

The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities

Editors Gabrielle Hogan-Brun School of Education University of Bristol Bristol, UK

Bernadette O’Rourke Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

ISBN 978-1-137-54065-2    ISBN 978-1-137-54066-9 (eBook) Library of Congress Control Number: 2018953783 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019 The author(s) has/have asserted their right(s) to be identified as the author(s) of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: © Christopher Corr / Ikon Images / Alamy Stock Photo This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Limited The registered company address is: The Campus, 4 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW, United Kingdom


This Handbook could not have been written without the efforts and dedication of a considerable number of people. First and foremost, our thanks go to each of the contributors. From our initial invitation to the production of their final chapter, their responses have been marked by courtesy, timeliness, and commitment. With their deep knowledge of international law, policy studies, sociology, anthropology, education, and sociolinguistics, they have contributed to a rich volume in this diffuse field of study. The reviewers of each chapter are the unsung heroes. Here at least we are able to publicly thank them for their detailed comments on the initial drafts. We would also like to acknowledge the speakers of minority languages and the challenges they face around the planet. The themes explored in this Handbook reflect their lived realities. The Handbook has grown from the book series Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities. Many thanks go to the people at Palgrave Macmillan for their long-standing support: Cathy Scott, Beth Farrow, Judith Allan, Chloe Fitzsimmons, Libby Forrest, Olivia Middleton, Rebecca Brennan, Esme Chapman, and Jill Lake who took on the series well over a decade ago. Finally, we are indebted to Bill Dale and Terry Jones for their careful proofreading of parts of the script and to John Hogan for his generous support throughout. Gabrielle Hogan-Brun Bernadette O’Rourke



1 Introduction: Minority Languages and Communities in a Changing World  1 Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Bernadette O’Rourke

Part I Minority Language Rights, Protection, Governance


2 Minority Language Rights and Standards: Definitions and Applications at the Supranational Level 21 Fernand de Varennes and Elżbieta Kuzborska 3 Minority Language Rights in the Russian Federation: The End of a Long Tradition? 73 Bill Bowring 4 Minority Language Governance and Regulation101 Colin H. Williams and John Walsh

Part II Recognition, Self-Determination, Autonomy


5 The Recognition of Ethnic and Language Diversity in Nation-­ States and Consociations133 Christian Giordano vii

viii Contents

6 Linguistic Recognition in Deeply Divided Societies: Antagonism or Reconciliation?159 Philip McDermott and Máiréad Nic Craith 7 National Cultural Autonomy and Linguistic Rights in Central and Eastern Europe181 Federica Prina, David J. Smith, and Judit Molnar Sansum 8 Sign Language Communities207 Maartje De Meulder, Verena Krausneker, Graham Turner, and John Bosco Conama

Part III Migration, Settlement, Mobility


9 Changing Perspectives on Language Maintenance and Shift in Transnational Settings: From Settlement to Mobility235 Anne Pauwels 10 Arctic Languages in Canada in the Age of Globalization257 Donna Patrick

Part IV Economics, Markets, Commodification


11 Minority Languages and Markets287 Sari Pietikäinen, Helen Kelly-Holmes, and Maria Rieder 12 Language Economics and Issues of Planning for Minority Languages in Africa311 Nkonko M. Kamwangamalu 13 Language Minorities in a Globalized Economy: The Case of Professional Translation in Canada333 Matthieu LeBlanc


Part V Education, Literacy, Access



14 Indigenous Children’s Language Practices in Australia357 Samantha Disbray and Gillian Wigglesworth 15 Minorities, Languages, Education, and Assimilation in Southeast Asia383 Peter Sercombe 16 Literacy in My Language? Principles, Practices, Prospects405 Clinton Robinson

Part VI Media, Public Usage, Visibility


17 Minority Language Media: Issues of Power, Finance and Organization433 Tom Moring 18 Minority Languages and Social Media451 Daniel Cunliffe 19 Linguistic Landscapes and Minority Languages481 Durk Gorter, Heiko F. Marten, and Luk Van Mensel

Part VII Endangerment, Ecosystems, Resilience


20 Resilience for Minority Languages509 David Bradley 21 Minority Contact Languages, Small Islands, and Linguistic Ecology531 Joshua Nash

x Contents

22 The Yiddish Conundrum: A Cautionary Tale for Language Revivalism553 Dovid Katz Index589

Notes on Contributors

Bill Bowring  is Professor at Birkbeck College, London, where he has been teaching International Law and Human Rights since 2006. He is also a practising barrister. He has represented applicants at the European Court of Human Rights since 1992, against Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. He has more than 100 publications including two monographs, the most recent of which is Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia: Landmarks in the Destiny of a Great Power (2013). David Bradley  is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at La Trobe University, Australia, and President of the UNESCO Comité International Permanent des Linguistes. His articles have appeared widely on sociolinguistics and historical linguistics within the Tibeto-Burman group, notably two dictionaries, three books of texts, and a forthcoming grammar of Lisu. His new book Language Endangerment summarizes many years of theoretical and practical research on language endangerment and language reclamation. John Bosco Conama  is Director of the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. His doctorate focused on equality issues affecting Deaf communities. His research interests focus on how equality and social policy issues affect Irish and international Deaf communities. He teaches Deaf studies-related modules. He is also on the World Federation of the Deaf ’s Expert Group on Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Daniel Cunliffe  is Reader in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales. He is a member of the Welsh Government’s Welsh-­ Language Technology Board. Since 2001, his research has applied insights and methods from fields such as computer-mediated communication, human-computer interaction, and user experience design to the study of minority language use in information and communications technology.



Notes on Contributors

Maartje De Meulder  is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the research group on multilingualism of the University of Namur, Belgium. Her research interests are in sign language planning and policy and multilingualism. Her articles have appeared in Language Policy, Human Rights Quarterly, and Language Problems and Language Planning, and she has co-edited a volume on Innovations in Deaf Studies. Her most recent research has focused on ‘new signers’ and the vitality of sign languages. Fernand  de Varennes  is United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, and Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong. Renowned as one of the world’s leading experts on the human and language rights of minorities, de Varennes has some 200 publications in 30 languages on these issues, as well as on the prevention of ethnic conflicts and the rights of Indigenous peoples. Samantha  Disbray is a Research Fellow at the Australian National University, Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages in Canberra. She has extensively researched Australian Indigenous languages, child language development, and Indigenous languages in education, including the Northern Territory Bilingual Education Program. Christian  Giordano  is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Doctor Honoris Causa University of Timisoara (Romania), and Ilia University Tbilisi (Georgia). Guest professorships include the University of Bucharest, Murcia, Bydgoszcz, University Sains Malaysia at Penang, Kuala Lumpur, University of Malaya, Asia-Europe Institute. Research cooperation has been with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and University College London. His main fields of expertise include political anthropology, ethnocultural diversity, network analysis, and informality. Durk  Gorter  is Ikerbasque Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU in Donostia-San Sebastian. He is leader of the Donostia Research Group on Education and Multilingualism (DREAM) and editor of Language, Culture and Curriculum. His research focuses on multilingual education, linguistic landscapes, and comparative studies of European minority languages. Gabrielle Hogan-Brun  is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, the UK.  Her main research interests are language policy and practices in multilingual settings and the economics of multilingualism. Among her publications are Minority Languages in Europe: Frameworks – Status – Prospects (ed. with S. Wolff, 2003) and Linguanomics: What is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? (2017). A Salzburg Global Fellow, she has worked with various European organizations on aspects of language policy. She is Founding Editor of the book series Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities. Nkonko  M.  Kamwangamalu  is Professor of Linguistics at Howard University, Washington, DC. He is Co-Editor of Current Issues in Language Planning; author of The Language Planning Situation in South Africa (2004); author of Language Policy

  Notes on Contributors 


and Economics: The Language Question in Africa (Palgrave, 2016); and author of numerous articles on language planning and policy, multilingualism, code switching, World Englishes, and African linguistics. His articles have appeared in Chicago Linguistic Society, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Multilingua, World Englishes, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Language Problems and Language Planning, and Applied Linguistics. Dovid  Katz  is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Creative Industries, at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU), Vilnius, Lithuania. His articles have appeared extensively in the fields of Yiddish linguistics and literature, Lithuanian Jewish culture, and East European Holocaust studies (and current debates). He is editor of and is preparing his Yiddish Cultural Dictionary. Helen Kelly-Holmes  is Professor of Applied Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and also Director of the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Her research concerns sociolinguistics, and she focuses on the interrelationship between media and language and on the economic aspects of multilingualism with a particular interest in minority languages and the global political economy of English. Kelly-Holmes is Co-Editor of Language Policy and of Palgrave’s Language and Globalization series. Kelly-Holmes is also Adjunct Professor in Discourse Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Verena Krausneker  is a Sociolinguist at the University of Vienna, Austria, where she has been a lecturer and researcher since 2002. Her main research focus is on language policies and sign language rights, especially in Deaf education. From 2001 to 2007 she served as board member of the Austrian Deaf Association. From 2009 to 2015 she served the World Federation of the Deaf as an expert. Her latest research project produced an overview of bimodal bilingual education in Europe: map-designbilingual. Elżbieta  Kuzborska is a Human Rights Expert on minorities. She was senior minorities fellow at the Office of UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva in 2014 and has collaborated as a legal advisor and trainer on human and minority rights issues with various NGOs, including the European Foundation of Human Rights. She has also been a Law Lecturer at the University of Białystok in Vilnius, the sole foreign university in Lithuania teaching in Polish. She is a board member of the Association of Polish Academics in Lithuania, as well as a member of the Association of Polish Lawyers in Lithuania. Matthieu LeBlanc  is Full Professor in the Department of Translation and Modern Languages and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada. A former professional translator, he holds a PhD in sociolinguistics. His research focuses on the translator’s status and translation practices in an increasingly automated working environment, as well as on language policies and the role of translation in bilingual settings.


Notes on Contributors

Heiko F. Marten  is Director of the DAAD Information Centre for the Baltic States in Riga. He holds a PhD from FU Berlin and has worked as Lecturer and Researcher in German Studies and Applied Linguistics at Tallinn University, Rēzekne Academy of Technologies, and University of Latvia. His research fields include language policy, linguistic landscapes, multilingualism in the Baltic states, and motivation and practices in language learning. Philip McDermott  is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Ulster University, Northern Ireland. His research focuses on cultural and linguistic diversity and its implications for policy. McDermott has received research funding from sources such as the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Department for International Development. From 2015 to 2016, he held a prestigious Charlemont Scholarship from the Royal Irish Academy. He has conducted work relating to cultural diversity and minorities for external bodies such as the European Commission and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural heritage in Washington, DC. Tom Moring  (Dr Pol. Sc.) is Professor Emeritus in Communication and Journalism at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has worked as a journalist, radio director, and Chair of the Board of a Swedish newspaper publisher in Finland. Moring has also served as part-time Professor at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences and as an expert for the OSCE and the Council of Europe. His articles have appeared widely on linguistic minorities and the media. Joshua  Nash  is Associate Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research intersects ethnography, the anthropology of religion, architecture, pilgrimage studies, and language documentation. He has conducted linguistic fieldwork on Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island, South Pacific, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and New Zealand; environmental and ethnographic fieldwork in Vrindavan, India; and architectural research in outback Australia. He is concerned with philosophical and ontological foundations of language and place. Máiréad Nic Craith  is Professor of European Culture and Heritage and Director of Research, School of Social Sciences (SoSS), in Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh, Malaysia, Dubai). Language, power, and cultural policy have been a sustained focus of interest throughout Máiréad’s academic career and she has acted as a consultant for the UN on heritage and human rights. A member of the Royal Irish Academy, she has held visiting positions in several universities in Ireland, the UK, Germany, and the US.  Her current research focuses on an Irish-language memoir from the west of Ireland. Bernadette  O’Rourke is Professor of Sociolinguistics in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies in Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. She is Chair of the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) Action IS1306 entitled New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges (2013–2018). Her research focuses on the dynamics of multilingual

  Notes on Contributors 


societies, language policy, and minority language communities. She holds a Fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She is conducting an ethnographic case study of grass-roots revitalization efforts in Galicia as part of its interdisciplinary research programme on Sustaining Minoritized Languages in Europe (SMiLE). She is editor of the Small Languages and Small Language Communities section of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Donna Patrick  is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. Her research in linguistic anthropology focuses on Indigenous and minority language politics, rights, and practices and has included work on language endangerment, language socialization, language education policy and practice, critical literacies, and social semiotics. Her Arctic-focused research includes, most recently, work that involves participatory action research with Inuit in Ottawa and Montreal; this explores Inuit identities, life histories, literacies, and the construction of place in transnational contexts through objects, food, stories, and community radio. Anne Pauwels  is Professor of Sociolinguistics at SOAS, University of London. Her research areas of interest include transnational multilingualism, language policy in higher education, and language and gender. Her publications cover these fields with the most recent book being Language Maintenance and Shift (2016). Sari Pietikäinen  is Professor of Discourse Studies at the Department of Language and Communication, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research focuses on discourse, identity and social inequalities, multilingualism in transforming peripheries, and language in expanding Arctic economies of tourism, nature resource extraction, and sports. Her recent co-authored publications include Critical Sociolinguistic Research Methods: Studying Language Issues that Matter (2018) and Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances (2016). She is the Principal Investigator of an Academy of Finland (SA) research project called Cold Rush: Language and Identity in Expanding Arctic Economies (2016–2020). Federica  Prina  is  a Research Associate at the Department of Central and East European Studies (CEES), University of Glasgow, Scotland, and former researcher at the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg. Her work focuses on national cultural autonomy in the Russian Federation and cultural and linguistic rights of national minorities. She cooperates with various human rights organizations. Maria Rieder  is Lecturer in Sociolinguistics at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Her research focuses on social and economic inequality, minority communities and languages, language in the media, social movements, and intercultural ­communication, with a specific focus on the role of language in the production of power and social conflict. Her articles have appeared in books and journals, and she is preparing manuscripts on the Irish Traveller Cant, Economic Inequality in the Press, and the Irish Water Charges Movement.


Notes on Contributors

Clinton Robinson  is an Independent Consultant in education and development, undertaking strategy development, programme evaluations, and research across Asia and Africa and at a global level. He previously spent six years with UNESCO and ten years in Africa in NGO work. With a focus on the role of education in local and national development, he has a particular interest in sociocultural dimensions, as well as in basic education, language in education, literacy, and adult learning. Judit Molnar Sansum  is Research Associate at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Her work focuses on national cultural autonomy in Hungary, Romania, and Serbia. She has also researched processes of immigrant integration and was involved in various projects on borderland studies (University of Miskolc, Queen’s University Belfast, and University of Washington). Peter Sercombe  is Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, the UK. He has taught mainly in Brunei, Malaysia, Turkey, and the UK. An applied linguist, his research interests include cultural maintenance and adaptation, multilingualism, and the sociolinguistics of language use and language change, with particular reference to minority groups. David  J. Smith  is Professor and Alec Nove Chair in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. His main research interests are ethnic politics and the governance of diversity in Central and Eastern Europe, in both contemporary and historical perspectives. He is Co-Editor of Europe-Asia Studies. Graham Turner  is Director of the Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has worked as an academic on applied and social aspects of sign linguistics since 1988. Luk Van Mensel  is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Namur, Belgium, and a visiting lecturer at the University of Leuven, Belgium. His articles on a variety of subjects in SLA and sociolinguistics, including the economic aspects of multilingualism, language education policy, multilingualism in the family, and linguistic landscapes, have been published. John Walsh  is Senior Lecturer in Irish at the School of Languages, Literature and Cultures, National University of Ireland, Galway. He teaches sociolinguistics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is the Co-Director of MSc in Multilingualism. Previously he has served as Vice Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies (2012–2015) and as Head of the Discipline of Irish (2014–2015). His articles have appeared extensively on the sociolinguistics of the Irish language, language policy, language ideology, minority language media, and language and socioeconomic development. From 2013 to 2017, he was a leading member of the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) Action—‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Challenges and Opportunities’ (IS1306).

  Notes on Contributors 


Gillian  Wigglesworth  is Professor of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at the University of Melbourne and chief investigator in the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Languages. Her research focuses on the languages Indigenous children living in remote communities are learning as their first language and how these interact with English once they attend school. Colin  H.  Williams is Honorary Professor, Cardiff University, Wales, a Senior Research Associate of the Von Hűgel Institute, and Visiting Fellow, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge University. He is also an Honorary Professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands, the UK.  His prime research interests focus on multilingual jurisdictions and minority rights, official language strategies and policy, while he has secondary interests in the field of peace and reconstruction in post-conflict societies.

List of Figures

Fig. 2.1

Fig. 10.1 Fig. 14.1 Fig. 15.1 Fig. 18.1 Fig. 18.2

Fig. 18.3 Fig. 18.4 Fig. 22.1 Fig. 22.2

Number of armed conflicts by type of conflict, 1946–2016. (Dupuy, K., Gates, S., Nygård, H., Rudolfsen, I., Siri, A., Strand, H. and Urdal, H. (2017). Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2016. Conflict Trends, 2. Available at: DownloadFile.ashx?id=1373&type=publicationfile [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018]) 58 Map of the four Inuit land-claim regions in Canada. (Source: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) 262 Places named in the chapter. Map created by Brenda Thornley 360 Southeast Asian nations (except for East Timor). (DMaps: Map of Southeast Asia. &lang=en Accessed 18 June 2018) 385 Schematic Language Choice Model for Frisian and Dutch on social media. (Jongbloed-Faber [2015], translation provided by Lysbeth Jongbloed-Faber)462 Point density maps of geo-tagged tweets in English and Welsh by users who tweet in Welsh. (Unpublished analysis by G.  Higgs, University of South Wales, on data provided by K. Scannell, Saint Louis University, 2014) 472 Irish language Twitter conversations, among top 500 tweeters (Scannell 2013) 472 Welsh language Twitter conversations, among top 500 tweeters (Scannell 2013) 473 150 years in the life of Yiddish 576 The two kinds of contemporary Yiddish 577


List of Tables

Table 9.1 Stages of reversing language shift Table 15.1 Patterns of language use in Sukang Primary School

241 396


1 Introduction: Minority Languages and Communities in a Changing World Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Bernadette O’Rourke

According to recent accounts ‘one half of our planet’s population speaks one or more of the 23 “top” languages, the other half speak the remaining 7,074’.1 In other words, most of the world’s languages are to some degree threatened. Under the effect of globalization, the pressure of dominant languages on minority languages is relentless, partly because many users of smaller languages can see more opportunities if they switch to a dominant one. Such homogenizing trends are also at play in countries, where cross-border migrants are expected to become proficient in their host language. However, from the Arctic to Latin America, through Europe to New Zealand, there is also considerable resilience among minority language speakers, who wish to reclaim their own language in spite of prevailing global pressures. Given these conflicting and overlapping forces, the time is ripe to assemble the latest research from a wide range of different relevant disciplines, in order to explain and understand the challenges to both minority policy actors and community identities in the face of migration, mobility, and globalizing influences. It is an immense privilege to have been able to assemble in this Handbook’s perspectives by renowned scholars in international law, social anthropology, G. Hogan-Brun (*) School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK e-mail: [email protected] B. O’Rourke Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK e-mail: B.M.A.O’[email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



G. Hogan-Brun and B. O’Rourke

history, linguistics, education, and economics. Among the topics covered are the politics of recognition and autonomy, the role of economic and linguistic markets, the potential of social media and new speakers, language revitalization and shift, and the continuing debate over the use of minority languages in education. These chapters offer a compelling treatment of the complexity of issues in the legal, educational, and policy fields that affect minority language communities around the world today. One of the problems facing those interested in this field of study is that a plethora of definitions is used to shape approaches to minority language speakers and their rights, as applied in instruments and standards at regional and international levels. Such differences are rooted in diverging attitudes towards minority language speakers. Varying concepts of justice and law have resulted from changing power dynamics. Unpeeling such different understandings on what constitutes a minority, by whom, where, and under what circumstances is the red thread that runs throughout this collection. For the most part, the concept of ‘minority language communities’ is used to describe numerically inferior groups of people who speak a language different from that of the majority in a given country, who are in a non-dominant position, and, to some extent, who seek to preserve their distinct linguistic identity. The term is based chiefly on factual criteria, which means a minority language community in a particular country (e.g. speakers of German in Hungary or Denmark) may constitute a majority in a kin state (i.e. Austria or Germany). This collection is divided into seven parts, as follows: Minority language rights, protection, governance (Part I); recognition, self-determination, autonomy (Part II); migration, settlement, mobility (Part III); economics, markets, commodification (Part IV); education, literacy, access (Part V); media, public usage, visibility (Part VI); endangerment, ecosystems,  resilience (Part VII). The Handbook’s 22 chapters that are summarized below present richly detailed accounts on the history and the current state of particular minority language contexts across the world. Our hope is that these chapters shine a critical light on broad areas of concern surrounding minority language communities today.

 art I: Minority Language Rights, Protection, P Governance The first set of chapters (2, 3, and 4) considers different definitions and applications of minority language rights and standards. Language is central to human nature and is an expression of identity. As such, issues surrounding language are particularly important to linguistic minority communities who

  Introduction: Minority Languages and Communities in a Changing… 


seek to maintain their identity. Securing rights for the minority can require legislation and standards to be put in place in contexts where the minorities are subjected to marginalization, exclusion, and discrimination. Fernand de Varennes and Elżbieta Kuzborska set the scene by focussing our attention on the various (and at times almost contradictory) understandings of minority-­ related concepts involved in different supra-national regimes. The fundamental questions in their chapter are as follows: What are the minorities intended to be, the holders of language rights or the beneficiaries of state obligations? And what is the extent and nature of such rights? The authors show how the use of terms is fraught with uncertainties, disagreements, and contradictions from the perspective of international law. Examples include ‘national minorities’ versus ‘minorities’, ‘protection of linguistic-cultural diversity’ versus ‘protection of the human rights of minorities’, and designations such as ‘indigenous’ versus ‘autochtonous’ minorities. They unravel some of the disparate positions that underpin these notions ranging from divergent points of view as to what constitutes a minority, to the substance and objectives being addressed in international and regional instruments by the protection of minorities or minority rights. Taking a long look at ‘minority rights’ at the supra-national level, the authors also consider some of the challenges in the future. An example of such challenges is Russia. With its unusual federal, ethnic, and linguistic mixture this country has a history of compliance and conflict with international minority language rights standards. In his chapter Bill Bowring explores minority language legislation, rights, and practices within the Federation’s unique multilingual structure. He sketches developments in the Russian Empire and the USSR, traces the consequences of the collapse of the USSR and the ‘parade of sovereignties’ of 1990–1992, and then ­introduces the Constitution of 1993 and its radical provisions. Paying particular attention to the situation of the Volga Tatars in Tatarstan, he supplies a precise comparative analysis of the policy towards minority languages and communities in the state. He discusses the similarities and differences amongst the subjects of Russia’s constitutionally asymmetric Federation and explores the extent to which the situation in Tatarstan is different from that in the fellow republics. He goes on to show how there has been a significant shift away under President Putin from special status for ‘national’, ethnic languages in the context of the Federation. The chapter concludes with the dramatic events of the past few years and considers how matters stand at the time of writing, asking: Will these recent developments in language policy mean the end of diversity in Russia? Another complex language scenario is in Ireland. An uneven framework exists there that offers Irish mostly limited or symbolic protection. Whilst


G. Hogan-Brun and B. O’Rourke

overtly, the pre-eminence of Irish is anchored constitutionally and is reflected in aspects of public discourse, covertly national policy promotes the dominance of English. Irish is practically treated as a minority concern. Colin H. Williams and John Walsh look into the manner in which minority language governance and regulation have been developed over the past generation from the perspective of international law, with particular focus on minority rights and the growth of the regulatory state. They argue that the government demonstrates limited practical engagement with current Irish policy, whose legislative and regulatory framework reflects a mixture of both the historical approach to Irish as the ‘national language’ and more contemporary ideological stances. Against this background they examine the role and general contribution of ombudsmen, commissioners, and regulators and offer a case study example of the potential impact of the International Association of Language Commissioners (IALC). Drawing out the implications of the IALC and Irish for minority language vitality, they suggest that even where supportive infrastructure for language promotion, protection, and regulation may be in place, their adequacy is demonstrated in the manner of their implementation within the relevant jurisdiction and their full incorporation into the machinery of government.

 art II: Recognition, Self-determination, P Autonomy The second group of chapters (5, 6, 7, and 8) moves away from a legal minority rights and protection perspective to focus on the recognition of language rights and the idea of (cultural) autonomy. These have become key elements in a much broader set of legal and policy tools to enable minority language speakers to be recognized and treated as equal members of societies. The chapters highlight the many different ways in which the right of self-determination can manifest itself in polities, ranging from antagonism to basic non-­ discrimination provisions and complex federal and autonomy regimes as in the case of devolution in Spain and the United Kingdom. In his contribution on the politics of recognition in polities, Christian Giordano distinguishes between nation-states (as models of culturally homogenized countries such as in France or Germany) and language plural ‘consociations’2 (as practised in Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, or Malaysia). In differentiating between classic and liberal polity types, he proposes that a liberal-oriented political agenda cannot necessarily be exported to plural societies nor can that of plural societies necessarily be transported to other societies. Moreover, he points out that

  Introduction: Minority Languages and Communities in a Changing… 


practically all these diverse types of governance of multiculturality have a wide range of problems, especially regarding their recognition of ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity in a globalized world. As he sees it, this is because recognition of linguistic plurality is still rather problematic even though it is a matter of fact in most polities. In his view this challenges the soundness of universalistic models of interpretation. This explains his call for a differentiated politics of recognition in lieu of paradigms that see cultural conformity as a conduit to solidarity among citizens and multilingualism (often a feature of minority groups) as a threat to national social cohesion. There is a widening perception amongst international organizations and states that their application of language rights is crucial for the fostering of peace, stability, and security. Language rights might then be even more salient for those societies that are deeply fractured along ethnic lines but which are transitioning from a period of conflict to peace. Even after conflict, language can continue to be a symbolic marker of competing groups with differing political aspirations. Máiréad Nic Craith and Philip McDermott explore how language rights in deeply divided places have been integrated into formalized peace agreements, treaties, and/or new constitutions. They evaluate the routes of recognition in deeply divided societies along the spectrum from antagonism to reconciliation for minority languages, with emphasis on the effect on the utility of language rights as a peace-building tool. Their chapter presents a critical analysis of both the transformative and the disruptive potential of the politics of language with reference to their homeland Ireland and in regions such as Guatemala, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and the Ukraine. Beginning with the theoretical notion of recognition and how these debates are particularly relevant to post-conflict places, they move on to consider how language rights are applied or ignored at different levels in such wide-ranging political settings. They consider in their chapter the various schools of thought which champion the notion that recognizing linguistic minorities is crucial in the mitigation of conflict versus those which are more sceptical, who view such processes as responsible for further politicizing ethnic identities in already fragile circumstances. In Eastern Europe, especially in new states born out of the ashes of the multicultural empires, changes to restrictive attitudes as regards minorities were sought during the rising tide of linguistic nationalism to manage linguistic and cultural affairs at the national level. It was here where the concept of national cultural autonomy (NCA) was developed in the nineteenth century by Austro-Marxists.3 Based on the notion of the ‘personality principle’, the idea was that communities can be autonomous (and sovereign) within a multiethnic state, regardless of whether they have, or identify with, a particular


G. Hogan-Brun and B. O’Rourke

territory. David Smith, Federica Prina, and Judit Molnar Samsun discuss in their chapter how this notion was rediscovered in the 1990s and incorporated into the law and practice of ethnic communities in four countries (Hungary, Estonia, Serbia, and Russia). They also go into how aspects of NCA were applied in Belgium and Canada and in arrangements for the accommodation of indigenous peoples. Using a comparative approach, they reflect upon the potential contribution of the NCA principle today in advancing the linguistic rights of national minorities. They propose that this approach may serve as a platform to articulate concerns of relevance to national minorities, encompassing minority participation and multilingual education, thereby also preserving linguistic pluralism. National and international policies for the recognition of the Deaf community’s right to self-ownership and support of their sign languages have undergone a protracted evolution. Since the European Parliament’s resolve in 19884 that member states should grant their indigenous sign languages equivalent status to that of the national spoken languages, countries have gradually begun to offer some degree of official acknowledgement. In their chapter, Maartje De Meulder, Verena Krausneker, Graham Turner, and John Bosco Conama catch up with recent developments and critically discuss how the twenty-first century has brought a unique dynamic for Sign Language Communities (SLCs) in response to threats and opportunities resulting from changes in both external and internal language environments. They scrutinize those changes, as well as policy and planning aimed at sign languages, and explain how linguistic rights of deaf signers heavily depend on interpreting services and why this is problematic. The current ideological climate means that linguistic human rights, educational linguistic rights, self-determination, and the right to physical integrity are at the top of the SLCs’ agenda. While many aspects that affect SLCs are similar to those faced by other linguistic minorities, some issues are more specific, since SLCs are also seen as people with disabilities. In particular, both the SLCs’ long history of dealing with attempts at medical normalization and the current genetic discourse that questions the signers’ right to exist raise concerns about the long-term vitality of various sign languages.

Part III: Migration, Settlement, Mobility The next chapters (9 and 10) deal with the effect of globalization and ensuing social mobility as contemporary phenomena on language use, maintenance, and shift. They examine the complex, multidimensional nature of

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globalization as it pertains to minority language communities in different parts of the world. As Anne Pauwels explains in her contribution, there is a growing sense that the ‘transition’—from migration and settlement to frequent mobility—forces researchers to rethink the classical approaches to language maintenance (LM) and language shift (LS) in the context of immigrant language communities, on the one hand, and indigenous language minorities, on the other hand.5 She begins with a review of the history of research on LM and LS in transnational (or migrant) contexts, covering its emergence, development, and expansion during the twentieth century. She then goes on to present the theories used to understand these processes and introduces the main approaches used to investigate and account for differences in the language practices of various ethnolinguistic groups. She considers how globalization has significantly altered what constitutes ‘migration’ today. Rather than seeing it primarily as a process resulting in ‘permanent’ (re)settlement elsewhere, she discusses how migration results in ongoing mobility, using examples of diasporic settings of communities moving from Europe to the ‘Anglophone’ world and of nonEuropean groups moving to Western Europe (post-1960). Her chapter outlines how in turn these changes in social mobility affect language practices in diaspora settings today and impact on our understanding of what constitutes LM.  In her conclusion she points to the challenges of this change for future work on LM and LS since classical approaches are less suited to deal with today’s greater fluidity of the linguistic scenarios, especially in urban settings. As Donna Patrick’s reminds us in her contribution, a complex set of factors is driving language change and decline in the far North. Her research in Canada’s Inuit homelands has over the years explored local, regional, national, and global influences on the languages used (among them Inuktitut and Inuvialuktun) and the challenges faced by speakers with regard to linguistic, cultural, and environmental sustainability. The effects of colonization, industrialization, and environmental degradation have accelerated this trend over the course of the twentieth century and are now compounded by global warming and the rapid rise of communication networks, scientific technologies, and extractive resource industries. All these developments are affecting the future of Arctic peoples and their languages. She shows how despite these challenges the Inuit communities are continuing to maintain and shape their languages as active agents through everyday interactions with their land and through channels that have opened up with globalization.


G. Hogan-Brun and B. O’Rourke

Part IV: Economics, Markets, Commodification The role of minority languages in economics currently receives growing attention in the research literature and is treated in the next set of chapters (11, 12, and 13). As is evident in Wales and Catalonia, the health of a minority language is prone to improve when speakers become productive in the economic domain. If the revenue generated through ‘peripheral’ entrepreneurship flows back to the community, this can be empowering and aid regional economic development. Both Welsh and Catalan have the vitality and status to be included as languages within educational systems and to be deployed as a resource. Elsewhere however, for example, in parts of Africa, even the official recognition of selected indigenous languages does not necessarily translate into greater prestige, status, and usage for those languages.6 Nkonko M. Kamwangamalu sees such failure as lying in the planners’ lack of focus on the link between an education carried out through the medium of an indigenous language and the economic returns for the target populations. Examining the perennial question of the role in education of Africa’s indigenous languages, he argues that policies designed to promote indigenous languages in different social spheres must also demonstrate the demand for these languages. He proposes that to succeed, such policies must corroborate a language’s usefulness, not only in terms of it as a means of communication but also with explicit reference to the material benefits that speakers can expect.7 Drawing on theoretical developments in language economics8 and critical theory,9 he posits that the demand for indigenous languages can be established in the light of Bourdieu’s notions of social fields, capital, and markets, whose properties afford linguistic products with a certain ‘value’.10 This view sees language not solely as a means of communication but also as symbolic capital that can be gained and lost, which may be transformed to economic capital with impact on language vitality.11 The economic potential of minority languages has also been linked with processes of commodification, where language (skills) are seen as a resource that can be bought and sold.12 While global developments variously affect the role and position of many minority languages, many users find new opportunities through localizing forces that form part of the massively growing language industries. Sari Pietikäinen, Helen Kelly-Holmes, and Maria Rieder explore how selected minority languages figure in economic development and point to ways in which they can be invested with values of expertise, distinction, and authenticity. Drawing on their studies of minority and indigenous language practices and discourses in peripheral, multilingual Irish and Sámi

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sites, the authors discuss the changing and expanding role of minority languages in the key economic domains of advertising and marketing, tourism, media, and in job markets. They also reflect on the conditions and consequences of economic processes as indices of the exchange value of minority languages in changing markets. The effects of the globalized economy on the industrialization of translation are the focus of Matthieu LeBlanc. In his chapter he cautions against the risks of rapid rationalization and the utilitarian instrumentalism it engenders for linguistic minority communities. In particular, he explores the work of professional translators in minority language communities in Canada. A former translator himself, the author is more concerned here with cultures of production in the public domain than with cultures of reception. After reviewing some of the theoretical literature, he dissects the impact of translation on the shaping and dissemination of minority languages. He draws attention to the changing practices in professional (non-literary) translation as a result of increased technological automation and industrialization. Offering a case study of the transformations that have marked the government of Canada’s Translation Bureau since the mid-1990s, he shows how these changes put minority languages everywhere under pressure in terms of both access to translation resources and pressures on translators through shrinking deadlines, which has implications for the quality and legibility of texts. His chapter illustrates how translation is intrinsically linked with language ideologies, language policies, power relations, language rights, and identity and why translation activities figure as key tools in the (re-)construction and development of minority languages.

Part V: Education, Literacy, Access Chapters 14, 15, and 16 cover educational policy and practice for indigenous and immigrant minorities. Across the world, speakers of minority languages often have to make difficult choices between investing in language for social mobility on the one hand and preserving the cultural heritage of their community on the other hand. Often, language choices in education result in response to market-driven values. Such decisions about languages in education mean that children can grow up without knowing their own mother tongue and end up disenfranchised. In fact, an estimated 40% of people have no access to education in a language they understand.13 Being taught in a language that is not their own leaves many with a cognitive gap that they cannot bridge. Yet ample research evidence14 shows that this deficit will be


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reduced if pupils are taught in their mother tongue during the course of primary school or even beyond it. But the supply of teachers and materials is one of the many challenges to mother tongue-medium education in the context of small languages. Refreshingly, around the world, there are numerous local initiatives that serve as examples of good practice. Particularly successful are community-­ based education programmes such as those emerging in the Philippines, Mexico, parts of Africa, and in Australia where indigenous speakers are trained to teach in the community languages. In their chapter on the language practices of indigenous Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, Samantha Disbray and Gillian Wigglesworth review the considerable variety of studies on young Australian Aboriginals’ early language learning environments and processes. These are mainly youngsters from remote settings where English is taught at school, but it is neither their first language, nor the language of the community in which the children live. The authors also examine more recent investigations that show how pupils acquire some remaining traditional languages through child-directed speech styles and practices. In this complex linguistic environment, the development of new and emerging contact languages (both mixed languages and creoles) is found to influence the ways in which children and young people alter and innovate their language ecologies. The focus then shifts to language, education, and nation-building in Southeast Asia’s mainland and maritime areas. Peter Sercombe examines the deployment in states of language policies as instruments of controlling and assimilating indigenous populations. He uses a social justice perspective15 in tracing the key factors that affect the cultural, economic, and political marginalization of native minority groups. Presenting a case study of that of the Najib in Malaysia, he points out that mostly these indigenous people tend to be few in number and are frequently materially poor. They inhabit interior areas that are removed from centres of power. In terms of social organization, they are generally distinctive from politically major groups. Similar to many other native populations, they are egalitarian, with an accompanying a­ nimistic belief system, rather than being socially hierarchical and subscribing to a major religion. During the course of regional independence efforts, the socioeconomic position of these minorities has tended to decline. This chapter explores the manner in which this is happening, with specific reference to current language education policy and practices. We then turn to issues of literacy in minority languages and their relationship to current and future social and economic development. Clinton Robinson explores in his chapter the purposes and rationale of minority language literacy

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in relation to national and global forces in language use with a focus on language endangerment, preservation, and shift. He discusses approaches to literacy provision in  local minority or non-dominant languages, drawing on practice in Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, and Senegal. He examines similarities and differences in the three countries and compares policy and practice with respect to multilingualism, policy formulation, and programme structure. In his assessment of the prospects for literacy provision in local languages he sets out questions for multilingual policies and practices in the context of international education frameworks and with reference to issues of inequality, marginalization, and opportunity. He stresses the need to address policy considerations, community engagement, the nature of the learning process, and the fact that languages are simultaneously both instruments of communication and symbols of identity. The principal argument here is that literacy in non-dominant languages increases educational opportunity and cultural affirmation for those in minority communities and strengthens their equitable place in society.

Part VI: Media, Public Usage, Visibility Given the threat to many of the world’s languages, new technologies including digitization, electronic mapping, and social media can play an important part in supporting the future of many minority language communities. This role in their vitality of the media is explored in Chapters 17, 18, and 19. In the context of globalization, questions concerning the effect that the media might have on minority languages and their users have become more urgent. In his contribution, Tom Moring explores the impact of policies, power relations, and citizenship in a changing media environment and takes issue with existing financing and organization of media services for, of, and on minority language communities. Covering a range of existing international and national policies for minority media, he examines the effect of their implementation on users. He also discusses the complexities of lived citizenship in the context of an environment with changing, individualized media habits and the role of e-technologies for LM and revitalization. Concentrating on web-based communication technologies, Daniel Cunliffe provides insights into current understandings of the relationship between social media and minority LM and revitalization. He examines the extent to which social media provide permissive environments for minority language use. He also discusses the factors that influence the language behaviours of minority language speakers on social media and the potential impact of online


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media habits on the minority language itself. With specific reference to the Welsh context, he offers a comprehensive overview of what is known about the use of Welsh in social media, from policy perspectives down to individual user behaviour. Drawing on a range of academic and non-academic sources, he paves the way for methods and perspectives relevant to other minority languages on social media. Recent research has also focussed attention on public ‘(in)visibility’ of minority languages and their promotion, for example, through bilingual road signs, shop signage, and product packaging or instructions. The chapter by Durk Gorter, Heiko Marten, and Luk Van Mensel looks at minority language use in the linguistic landscape (LL). It is embedded in studies that investigate frequencies, functions, and power relations between languages and their speakers in the public space. This line of research aims to understand how the production and perception of signs reflect and simultaneously shape speakers’ realities and sense of belonging. In this sense, the LL is seen as a dynamic place where processes of minorization take place. The visibility or invisibility of minority languages and the functional and symbolic relationships to majority languages are in many ways directly related to negotiations of minorities’ place in society. The authors discuss which policy categories and domains of language use are of particular relevance for understanding minority languages in the LL. Issues of conflict, contestation, and exclusion scrutinized are illustrated with examples from Israel, Canada, Belgium, the Basque Country, and Friesland.

Part VII: Endangerment, Ecosystems, Resilience UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger (1995–)16 lists 7097 languages currently spoken across the world, of which an estimated 2464 are at risk of falling out of use (or endangered). In appraising this situation, the Handbook’s concluding chapters (20, 21, and 22) consider minority ecosystems and issues of resilience. Language decline17 happens for multiple reasons, across our planet, and is often the result of speakers’ lacking status in society. Among the causal factors are environmental and social economic drivers. Researchers18 forecast that language-rich territories undergoing rapid economic growth, for example, in the tropics and in the Himalayas, will be the primary areas of small-language losses in the near future. They call for conservation efforts to focus on these parts of the world. In its linkage with language rights and minority rights considerations, minority language revitalization is

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a contested issue in some camps. As we shall see below, policies19 aimed at the protection and promotion of threatened languages vary. David Bradley’s chapter discusses the situation of endangered minority languages and the natural tendency to LS in different contexts of multilingual communities. In his native Australia, for example, an estimated two-thirds of indigenous languages have died out. He sees minority languages around the world at risk because, on the one hand, speakers who seek new opportunities often end up valuing their own languages less and, on the other hand, dominant national and international languages are taking over more domains of use, primarily in education. He observes how once the process of LS has started, it is difficult to reverse. Taking his cue from resilience thinking, he points to ways how minority communities can choose to halt or reverse LS, reclaim their language, and achieve a new equilibrium in parts of the world. He then considers the extent and effects of LS as well as some of the major factors that affect language endangerment. In conclusion, and suggesting possible means to prevent LS, he presents an overview of approaches to enable minorities to preserve and revitalize the use of their traditional language(s). Views differ on to what extent the numerous pidgins and creoles spoken in Australia, Oceania, and across the world are endangered languages, whether it is desirable to save them and what could be done to save or revitalize them. There is some uncertainty too as to whether these are indigenous or minority contact languages, which has repercussions on their recognition in many places. In his chapter Joshua Nash uses a language ecological approach to look into the whole context in which small contact languages function. In particular, he explores the role of the natural environment, small societies, and geographic isolation in the development and change of Pitcairn and Norfolk, the historically and linguistically related languages of Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island, respectively. A general summary is presented of more than a decade of research and thinking involving ecolinguistic relations and how such views relate to work on minority (island) contact languages and specifically contact ‘Englishes’ of the Pacific. The author then explores how such minority languages can be perceived in terms of their ecological embeddedness within requisite natural and sociocultural environments. The final chapter in this Handbook explores the shifting interplay of ideology and language planning, mainly in lexicon and orthography, from the late nineteenth century to the present, illustrating inter alia, some of the possibilities inherent to stateless languages that exhibit geographic and ideological fragmentation. Dovid Katz provides a narrative for the current conundrum of Yiddish, namely, the near-total alienation between a small group of language planning specialists and native speakers of the last generation of pre-­Holocaust


G. Hogan-Brun and B. O’Rourke

speakers. The author contends that by adopting Heinz Kloss’s Ausbau theory (of developing and protecting smaller languages that are deemed ‘too similar’ to much larger, more powerful languages by way of normativist intervention) the language revivalists inadvertently developed an environment hostile to native speakers, while needlessly reviving pre-World War I debates about the relationship to German. This has led to a field of Yiddish that studies a partially artificial variety of the language while largely ignoring the empirically real varieties developing among hundreds of thousands of speakers. The author proposes reconciliation based on a shift to a more descriptivist stance. A brief summary of the 1000-year history of Yiddish is provided to place the more recent developments in context.

Further Directions As many chapters in this Handbook show, globalization has focussed our attention on how we define ‘linguistic minority’, moving beyond the rights of indigenous minorities and pointing to the need to include transnational migrants and their language rights. Overall, the spotlight has shifted to include both mobile and new speakers20 with complex language profiles in new spaces, the opportunities and challenges this brings, and the more fluid nature of virtual and digital communities. We get a sense in this collection of how scholars are rethinking existing theoretical approaches to better understand LM and LS in minority communities within the broader framework of language diversity and multilingualism. As suggested by one of our anonymous reviewers, the obvious question that now arises is: ‘How can the classical macro-models, used to understand why minority languages are maintained or not, be redesigned so as to better capture and harness the diversity we now see in many settings?’. Or, put another way, ‘how to move away from a focus on the methodological nationalism in which much work has hitherto tended to be caught up to re-thinking a sociolinguistics of mobility’21 that reflects the multiplicity of languages, social groups, and communities of practice which minority language research seeks to capture. Naturally, language diversity and migration are not new social phenomena. Our world has always been linguistically plural, and humankind has always found ways to get by. How we engage with the languages of minorities and of speakers on the move has to do more with how we value their languages and harness their potential as a resource. Ideally we need to foster inclusive societies that recognize the intrinsic value of languages and do not discriminate against speakers or signers of any languages. If this goal can be achieved, then

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the world would be taking a giant step towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals of ‘ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all’.22

Notes 1. In Lo Bianco, J. (2017) Resolving ethnolinguistic conflict in multi-ethnic societies, 28. April 2017, p. 1. 2. Giordano uses the typology developed by Michael Walzer (1997). 3. The notion NCA was developed by Austro-Marxists Karl Renner (2005) and Otto Bauer (2000). 4. European Parliament Resolution on Sign Languages (1988). 5. On models developed in the study of LM and LS phenomena, see, for example, Conklin and Lourie, in Clyne (2003, Chapter 2, pp. 53–54). 6. See Bamgbose (2000) and Koffi (2012); on prestige and status in language planning, see Haarmann (1990). 7. Kamwangamalu (2010, 2016). 8. On ways in which linguistic and economic variables influence one another, see Ginsburgh and Weber (2016a, b), Grin et al. (2010), and Hogan-Brun (2017). 9. See Tollefson (2013). 10. Bourdieu (1991). 11. For more information on language ‘vitality’, see UNESCO’s Language Vitality and Endangerment guide (2011), developed as a tool for Language Assessment and Planning. 12. On commodification see Heller (2010); on how language and culture are increasingly being associated less with rights and heritage (or ‘pride’) and more with economic benefits (or ‘profit’) see also Duchêne and Heller (2006). 13. UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (2016). 14. Kathleen Heugh, Interview on 15 February 2017. 15. Cf. Piller (2016). 16. Language Atlas, UNESCO: 17. See footnote 11 on measuring language vitality and endangerment and also the Ethnologue’s EGIDS scale 18. For calculations on language extinction risk, see Amano et al. (2014). 19. See Jones (2015a). 20. On the potentials of new speakers, see O’Rourke, Pujolar and Ramallo (2015). 21. Blommaert (2010). 22. See Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World


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References Amano, T., Sandel, B., Eager, H., Bulteau, E., Svenning, J.-C., Dalsgaard, B., Rahbek, C., Davies, R. G., & Sutherland, W. J. (2014). Global Distribution and Drivers of Language Extinction Risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 273, 2127–2133. Bamgbose, A. (2000). Language and Exclusion: The Consequences of Language Policies in Africa. Hamburg: LIT Verlag Munster. Bauer, O. (2000). The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Blommaert, J. (2010). The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. [Trans. from the French by G. Raymond and M. Adamson]. Cambridge: Polity Press. Clyne, M. (2003). Dynamics of Language Contact: English and Immigrant Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Duchêne, A., & Heller, M. (2006). Language in Late Capitalism. Pride and Profit. London/New York: Routledge. Ginsburgh, V., & Weber, S. (Eds.). (2016a). The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language. London/New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Ginsburgh, V., & Weber, S. (2016b). The Cambridge Handbook of Economics of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grin, F., Sfreddo, C., & Vaillancourt, F. (2010). The Economics of the Multilingual Workplace. London/New York: Routledge. Haarmann, H. (1990). Language Planning in the Light of a General Theory of Language: A Methodological Framework. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 86, 103–126. Heller, M. (2010). The Commodification of Language. Annual Review of Anthropology, 39, 101–114. Hogan-Brun, G. (2017). Linguanomics. What Is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? London/New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Jones, M. (2015a). Policy and Planning for Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kamwangamalu, N.  M. (2010). Vernacularization, Globalization, and Language Economics in Non-English-Speaking Countries in Africa. Language Problems and Language Planning, 34(1), 1–23. Kamwangamalu, N.  M. (2016). Language Policy and Economics  – The Language Question in Africa. London: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers. Koffi, E. (2012). Paradigm Shift in Language Planning and Policy: Game Theoretic Solutions. Boston/Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. Lo Bianco, J. (2017, April 28). Resolving Ethnolinguistic Conflict in Multi-ethnic Societies. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(0085), 1–3.

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O’Rourke, B., & Pujolar, J.  (2015). New Speakers and the Processes of New Speakerness Across Time and Space. Special Issue. Applied Linguistics Review, 6(2), 145–150. O’Rourke, B., Pujolar, J., & Ramallo, F. (Eds.). (2015). New Speakers of Minority Language: The Challenging Opportunity—Foreword. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 231, 1–20. Piller, I. (2016). Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Renner, K. (2005). State and Nation. In E. Nimni (Ed.), National Cultural Autonomy and Its Contemporary Critics (pp. 15–47). London: Routledge. Tollefson, J. W. (2013). Language Policy in a Time of Crisis and Transformation. In J.  W. Tollefson (Ed.), Language Policies in Education  – Critical Issues (2nd ed., pp. 11–34). New York/ London: Routledge. Walzer, M. (1997). On Toleration. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.

Online Resources Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. (2003). https:// Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. (2005). TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. (1992). https://www.coe. int/en/web/european-charter-regional-or-minority-languages European Parliament Resolution on Sign Languages. (1988). flora/ressign2.htm Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS) Ethnologue. https:// Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. (1998). https:// Mother Tongue Matters: Local Language as a Key to Effective Learning. UNESCO. (2008). Organization of African Unity (OAU). (2000). Asmara Declaration on African Languages and Literatures Salzburg Global Seminar. Interview with Kathleen Heugh, on 15 February 2017. The European Year of Cultural Heritage. (2018). about


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UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. (1995–). http://www.unesco. org/languages-atlas/ UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report. (2016). new/en/media-services/single-view/news/40_dont_access_education_in_a_language_they_understand-1/ UNESCO’s Language Vitality guide. (2011). MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/unesco_language_vitaly_and_endangerment_ methodological_guideline.pdf

Part I Minority Language Rights, Protection, Governance

2 Minority Language Rights and Standards: Definitions and Applications at the Supranational Level Fernand de Varennes and Elżbieta Kuzborska

Introduction And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors; most surely there are signs in this for the learned. Qu’ran, Surah Ar-Rum [30: 22]

The world of minority and language rights at the supranational level is fraught with uncertainties, disagreements, and contradictions, ranging from quite divergent views as to what constitutes a minority to the substance and ­objectives being addressed in international and regional instruments for the protection of minorities or minority rights. This is true even within a single discipline such as international law. When one adds perspectives closely linked to other disciplines (sociology, sociolinguistics, linguistics, political science, etc.), one gets a tangle of widely differing, and at times inconsistent, approaches and understandings. This chapter tries to unravel some of these divergences by providing a framework to unpack two concepts that can be highly consequential in terms of minority language rights: firstly, who are the minorities intended to be the holders of language rights or the beneficiaries of state obligations, then secondly, what can be the extent and nature of such rights? The legal background F. de Varennes (*) Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland E. Kuzborska Association of Polish Academics in Lithuania, Vilnius, Poland © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

of both authors means that their approaches will naturally tend to reflect this particular perspective. Before one considers the future, however, it is worthwhile to reflect on first how “minority rights” were dealt with historically at the supranational level with the brief experiment of the so-called minority treaties of the interwar period, which still impacts how these issues are perceived and treated today, before tackling the issues of what are the language rights of minorities.

 he Unfairly Unlamented and Misunderstood T Minority Treaties: Minority Rights in the Early Twentieth Century Does not the sun shine equally for the whole world? Do we not all equally breathe the air? Do you not feel shame at authorizing only three languages and condemning other people to blindness and deafness? Tell me, do you think that God is helpless and cannot bestow equality, or that he is envious and will not give it? (Constantine the Philosopher, ‘Saint Cyril’)

Human rights in general were absent from treaties prior to the Second World War, partially since the prevailing Westphalian doctrine of state sovereignty did not sit particularly well with any supranational intrusion on how state authorities treated their own citizens. One exception did exist, however, an exception not always widely acknowledged because it contradicts still widely held assumptions as to the nature and content of what were known in the interwar period as the “Minority Treaties”. To understand why there existed an exception to the absence of legal recognition of human rights in early treaties specifically for the protection of minorities, and why these have often been mischaracterised as treaties distinct from human rights instruments in general, one needs to contextualise how these documents emerged, and what they actually contained in substantive terms, a contextualisation deeply anchored in the antecedents and consequences of the First World War. While the factors for the conflict were numerous and had been in place for some time, the spark that led to the eruption of the global conflict was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by members of a Serbian minority terrorist group (“the Black Hand”) seeking separation from the empire and to join Serbia. This led to Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, with the domino effect of the Central Powers and Serbia’s allies declaring war on each other and starting the First World War. A number of

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other minority and nationalism issues created tense and dangerous conditions in the Balkan regions and other parts of the world. As a result, the League of Nations in the post-First World War period sought to avoid future troubles of this kind by requiring, mainly on the war’s defeated states, treaties and unilateral declarations by states applying for membership of the League of Nations. Despite various initial proposals, no provisions dealing with the protection of minorities, nor for that matter human rights, were incorporated in the treaty establishing the League of Nations itself at the end of the First World War, apparently to avoid subjecting all members of the future organisation to such provisions.1 This provoked criticism2 which led to a compromise of sorts: the treaties and unilateral declarations that together all became known as the Minority Treaties overseen by the League of Nations. These instruments thus included treaties imposed upon the defeated states of Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, as well as some new states born of the remains of the Ottoman Empire or whose boundaries were altered under the self-­ determination principle (Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia). Others were instruments containing special provisions relating to minorities in Åland,3 Danzig, the Memel Territory, and Upper Silesia, while a final series of five unilateral declarations were made by Albania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Iraq upon their admission to the League of Nations.4 The frequent interpretation after the Second World War that the Minority Treaties were “failures” because they were mainly concerned with protecting the collective rights of a few minority communities, is mostly an inaccurate— and unfortunate—characterisation.5 As mentioned earlier, there was no appetite during the Versailles peace negotiations to include universal human rights applicable to all members of the League of Nations, despite efforts by some states to this effect including an attempt by the Government of Japan to entrench a prohibition of racial discrimination which was shamefully torpedoed by British and Australian delegations.6 The compromise of sorts which was adopted instead was to limit human rights protection under the League of Nations to treaties and unilateral declarations that would only apply to defeated or new states and contained a few provisions to address specifically the minority situations which had visibly contributed to the eruption of the First World War. Victorious Western states would therefore not be subjected to the limitations to their sovereignty which human rights represented in these Minority Treaties. The rejection of the suggestion that human rights standards should be part of the Covenant of the League of Nations at the time was clear since, according to British delegate Robert Cecil, the race question could not be resolved “without encroaching on the sovereignty of States”.7


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Contrary to often-repeated views, the Minority Treaties were first and foremost human rights documents, though they also contained provisions in acknowledgement of the vulnerability of minorities in particular states and the timeliness of addressing, through a human rights approach, the grievances that had contributed to instability and to the eruption of war. Most of the substantive provisions of the Minorities Treaty Between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland,8 which served as a template of most of the other minority treaties, deal with various matters including customs, commerce, communications, the authority of the League of Nations in certain matters, and so on. Only 10 out of 19 deal with human or minority issues, and of these, slightly more than half should be acknowledged as mainly human rights provisions—and thus neither minority specific nor collective in nature: • Human rights provisions: Article 2 (protection of life and liberty of all inhabitants, without discrimination; freedom of religion or belief ); Articles 3 and 4 (right to nationality of all habitual residents or those born on the territory of Poland, though with some reference to minorities); Article 5 (no hindrance to those who have elected or not to be nationals of Poland); Article 6 (all persons born in Polish territory who would be otherwise stateless to become Polish nationals); and Article 7 (general prohibition of discrimination; free use of any language in private activities). • Minority-specific provisions: Article 7 (part of this provision without using the term minority does indicate that adequate facilities must be in place for “Polish nationals of non-Polish speech” for the use of their language, either orally or in writing before courts); Article 8 (equal treatment of minorities, including to their own institutions reflective of their language or religion); Article 9 (right to a proportionate use of minority languages in public schools for linguistic minorities; equitable share of state funding or educational, religious, or charitable purposes, including municipal and similar budgets, where minorities are a considerable proportion); and Articles 10 and 11 (specific provisions for Jewish minorities). Once this contextualisation is made, the full nature and content of these treaties become more obvious, including their positioning as human rights documents involving individual rather than collective rights for the most part. Most of these documents would include, for example, the recognition of the right of everyone to equality without discrimination, the protection of life, liberty, and the free exercise of religion for all inhabitants of a state, without distinction as to birth, nationality, race, religion, or language. All of these human rights were available whether or not the individuals involved were

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members of a minority. It is also noteworthy the central importance citizenship issues occupied in these instruments, particularly to avoid potential ­statelessness of those who were habitually resident or born in the countries covered by the Minority Treaties. This emphasis was largely due to the desire to make the changing national borders after the First World War as less traumatic as possible for those affected and to avoid individuals finding themselves needing to rely for their protection on a kin state because of the loss of any previously held nationality prior to the war. In simple terms, all traditional minorities under these treaties were to be entitled to citizenship, and therefore they were to be automatically considered as nationals. It is this issue of “national minorities” which continues to figure prominently in the European psyche to this day, and as a consequence continues to impact at the international level in ways which are not always helpful as explained in another section. There were thus in these treaties and declarations a relatively small number of provisions that only afforded protection to specified minorities in recognition in part of their vulnerability, and to the concerns over nationalism and the grievances which some of these minorities may have felt over the legacies of the First World War and some of the border rearrangements, among others. It is for these reasons that many of these instruments referred to the right of minorities to establish and control their own institutions, a state obligation to provide equitable financial support to schools in which instruction at the primary level would be in the minority language where warranted by sufficient numbers, and the recognition of the supremacy over other statutes of laws protecting minorities, as well as a certain degree of territorial autonomy for minorities in some states for historical or geopolitical reasons. Specifically on the issue of language, it has been pointed out that: As regards the use of the minority language, states which have signed the Treaties have undertaken to place no restriction in the way of the free use by any national of the country of any language, in private intercourse, in commerce, in religion, in the press or in publications of any kind, or at public meetings. Those states have also agreed to grant adequate facilities to enable their nationals whose mother tongue is not the official language, either orally or in writing, before the courts. They have further agreed, in towns and districts where a considerable proportion of nationals of the country whose mother tongue is not the official language of the country is resident, to make provision for adequate facilities for ensuring that, in the primary schools…instruction shall be given to the children of such nationals through the medium of their own language, it being understood that this provision does not prevent the teaching of the official language being made obligatory in those schools.9


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The treaties thus included two principal types of measures: (human) rights available generally to everyone and (human) rights to protect the essential “peculiarities and national characteristics” of minorities, including their languages. As the Permanent Court of International Justice, which was called on to interpret the provisions of these treaties, stated in one of its key opinions, the object of the measures involved: These two requirements are indeed closely interlocked, for there would be no true equality between a majority and a minority if the latter were deprived of its own institutions and were consequently compelled to renounce that which constitutes the very essence of its being a minority.10

The point to retain in the Permanent Court’s comment is that one of the core foundations of the provisions to protect minorities in these treaties is the right to equality—which would be described in more modern terms as the obligation to respect equality without discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as language, religion, or ethnicity. In other words, instead of an exception to general human rights standards, the specific provisions of the treaties that targeted minorities were in fact anchored in human rights principles, and particularly in this case to the right to equality without discrimination in fact. As a result, nationals belonging to linguistic minorities were to enjoy the same treatment in law and in fact as other nationals. In particular, they had an equal right to establish schools and institutions at their own expense. Such schools were distinct from state schools where the minority language was the language of instruction. Finally, in those towns and districts where the minorities constituted a considerable proportion of the population, they would be assured of an equitable share in the enjoyment and application of sums provided out of public funds under state, municipal, or other budgets for educational, religious, or charitable purposes. These examples are not situations of collective rights or exceptional rights only for minorities: what the Permanent Court seems to indicate is that these are concrete conditions where the right to equality without discrimination needs to be applied in relation to the language of minorities, such as in the choice of medium of instruction in public and private education. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to dwell in detail on the reasons why the human rights nature of the Minority Treaties has been largely dismissed or omitted from much of the mainstream analysis after the Second World War period, though it may be enough to point out that there was possibly some discomfort at the obvious double standards being applied between the mainly Western, victorious states—that had essentially no international human rights

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obligations—and the First World War’s defeated, weaker, or newly established states that were subjected to a large number of human rights obligations including in relation to minorities. It may also have something to do with how Nazi Germany leaders instrumentalised these Minority Treaties to rationalise their obligation to “protect” German-speaking minorities in some parts of Europe. Be that as it may, there was a gradual disenchantment with the League of Nations’ minorities system.11 In a sense, the Minority Treaties appear to have served as a convenient scapegoat, with an inexorable movement declaring the need for universal protection of basic human rights—even though to a large degree, the Minority Treaties had themselves been at their core human rights documents. For a few decades, minority rights in general and even the use of the word minority was largely avoided in the international instruments that emerged from the ashes of the Second World War, this initial period even being described as one during which the “United Nations underscored the world community’s rejection of international minority protection”.12 Rumours of their demise were, however, vastly exaggerated.

 inority Rights After the Second World War: M With a Focus on Language Human rights involving language are a combination of legal requirements based on international human rights treaties and standards on how to address language or minority issues, as well as linguistic diversity within a state. Language rights are to be found in various provisions enshrined in international human rights law, such as the prohibition of discrimination, the right to freedom of expression, the right to a private life, the right to education and the right of linguistic minorities to use their own language with others in their group.13

The emphasis after 1945 was on universal protection of individual rights and freedoms in opposition, or so it was claimed, as opposed to the more “collective” minority approach under the League of Nations, even though the content of the Minority Treaties were as much focussed on general, individual human rights as indicated above: Throughout the discussions on human rights at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation, the Minority Treaties were not referred to, but a considerable amount of influence was brought to bear in favour of a “new covenant” and a fresh [and purely individualistic] approach.14


F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

In language matters, this would mean the initial absence of any reference to any minority or language right, although references to language itself as an important human dimension did not disappear completely. The Charter of the United Nations solemnly proclaims in Article 1(3) that one of the purposes of the new organisation is “[t]o achieve international co-operation…in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to…language”. Article 13 allows the General Assembly in the exercise of its functions to initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of assisting in the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to language and other grounds, and Article 55 indicates that the United Nations (UN) is to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to language. Other international instruments incorporating provisions related to language came into being at an increasingly frequent pace. On 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,15 with Article 2(1) indicating that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as…language”. The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed at Rome on 4 November 1950, at about the same time included in Article 14 that the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention “shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as… language”.16 Until almost the end of the 1950s, no distinguishable minority language right in international instruments remains. Only the principle of equality without discrimination on the ground of language is enshrined in this early period as part of the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals, and language no longer figures in any measure designed especially to protect minorities.17 This, however, is not quite the full picture: some peace treaties concluded immediately following the Second World War included general human rights and some specific minority provisions. Indeed, these treaties could be described as “Minority Treaties Version 2.0”, in the sense that, just as in the case of their predecessors before the Second World War, they contained mainly human rights standards and a few specific provisions focussing on “resident” minorities. Thus the 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy contained,18 in addition to the usual general provisions on human rights, provisions guaranteeing citizenship to all those normally residing in Italy who did not acquire nationality in a neighbouring state (and in the main targeting the largest affected minorities) and a few specific minority sections in Annex IV in relation to the German-­ speaking minority:

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1. German-speaking inhabitants of the Bolzano Province and of the neighbouring bilingual townships of the Trento Province will be assured complete equality of rights with the Italian-speaking inhabitants, within the framework of special provisions to safeguard the ethnical character and the cultural and economic development of the German-speaking element. In accordance with legislation already enacted or awaiting enactment the said German-speaking citizens will be granted in particular: (a) elementary and secondary teaching in the mother tongue; (b) participation of the German and Italian languages in public offices and official documents, as well as in bilingual topographic naming; (c) the right to re-establish German family names which were Italianised in recent years; (d) equality of rights as regards the entering upon public offices, with a view to reaching a more appropriate proportion of employment between the two ethnical groups. 2. The populations of the above-mentioned zones will be granted the exercise of autonomous legislative and executive regional power. The frame within which the said provisions of autonomy will apply will be drafted in consultation also with local representative German-speaking elements.19 Similarly, Article 6 of the Austrian State Treaty of 1955 includes, like most Minority Treaties of the interwar period, a provision guaranteeing, without discrimination, “all measures necessary to secure to all persons under Austrian jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, of press and publication, of religious worship, of political opinion and of public meeting”.20 It is, however, Article 7 which is of greater interest in terms of minority language rights, since it grants to Austrian nationals who are members of the Croat and Slovene minorities in the parts of the country where they are concentrated (Carinthia, Burgenland, and Styria) “the same rights on equal terms” as other citizens “to their own organizations, meetings and press in their own language”. More important are the following minority language rights: 1. They are entitled to elementary instruction in the Slovene or Croat language and to a proportional number of their own secondary schools; in this connection, school curricula shall be reviewed and a section of the Inspectorate of Education shall be established for Slovene and Croat schools.


F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

2. In the administrative and judicial districts of Carinthia, Burgenland, and Styria, where there are Slovene, Croat, or mixed populations, the Slovene or Croat language shall be accepted as an official language in addition to German. In such districts, topographical terminology and inscriptions shall be in the Slovene or Croat language as well as in German. 3. Austrian nationals of the Slovene and Croat minorities in Carinthia, Burgenland, and Styria shall participate in the cultural, administrative, and judicial systems in these territories on equal terms with other Austrian nationals. 4. The activity of organisations whose aim is to deprive the Croat or Slovene population of their minority character or rights shall be prohibited. Two points should be retained from these early post-Second World War treaties: firstly, contrary to the views of those who saw the end of the Minority Treaties with the Second World War, it is obvious that the Treaty of Peace with Italy and the Austrian State Treaty were directly inspired by the human rights approach reflected in the content of the Minority Treaties: the minority rights they contain appear to be anchored to the principle of equality and they recognise general human rights for all—as did the Minority Treaties. The minority language rights they refer to are not simply “collective”: particularly in relation to education and access to services in minority languages, they are dependent on what is “reasonable and justified”, that is, in those parts of the country where most speakers of these languages reside and according to a “proportional approach”. As is discussed later, these factors figure prominently in the application of a non-discriminatory approach in relation to the use of languages. On this second point, it is no coincidence that the approach in the annex of the Treaty of Peace with Italy and in the Austrian State Treaty is echoed in later European treaties such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities21 and to a lesser extent in other documents such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.22 By the end of the 1950s, international law gradually shifts towards a more straightforward acknowledgement of the rights of minorities or language rights, starting with the International Labour Organisation’s Convention No. (107) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Populations which,23 though avoiding the word minority,24 provided that indigenous populations have the right to be taught in their mother tongue or, where this is not practicable, in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong. A few years later, the Convention Against Discrimination in Education of 1960 prohibits,25 under Article 1, “any distinction, exclusion or preference” based upon language or

  Minority Language Rights and Standards: Definitions… 


other grounds, which “has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education”, while making clear, in Article 2(b), that it does not constitute discrimination to establish or maintain, for linguistic reasons, separate educational systems or institutions. For the global human rights system, this United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) treaty is significant by being the first one to use the previously almost taboo word of minority in Article 5(1)(c), by indicating that it is essential to “recognise the right of members of national minorities to carry on their own educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and, depending on the educational policy of each state, the use or the teaching of their own language”, provided that “this right is not exercised in a manner which prevents the members of these minorities from understanding the culture and language of the community as a whole and from participating in its activities, or which prejudices national sovereignty”. In the 1960s, language continues to be referred to in the two UN covenants on human rights adopted on 16 December 1966, as impermissible grounds of discrimination, twice, in both Article 2(1) and Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).26 In recognition of the importance of language as part of the due process of law, Article 14(3)(a) and (f ) indicates that in connection with any criminal charge, an accused is to be “informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him” and is to have “the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court”. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights finally casts aside any lingering resistance to a specific reference to a minority by providing that: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

A few decades later, only one other UN treaty would entrench an almost identical provision, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.27 By the 1990s, however, any remaining reluctance to address and acknowledge minority language rights was gone with other regional or international treaties incorporating language or minority rights standards, such as the International Labour Organisation’s Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,28 and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is also at the end of the twentieth century that non-binding


F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

documents dealing with minority language rights or minority rights generally proliferated, with the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,29 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,30 the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights,31 and the Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension,32 among others, as well as guidance documents such as the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities,33 the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities,34 the Lund Recommendations on the Effective Participation of National Minorities in Public Life,35 and the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues’ Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation.36

In Search of Meaning: Defining a Minority Minority: The smaller number or part, especially a number or part representing less than half of the whole. […] A small group of people within a community or country, differing from the main population in race, religion, language, or political persuasion. (Oxford Dictionary)

In addition to a continuing unease that still seems to persist around the nature and extent of minority rights and their relationship within the human rights paradigm, another controversial issue remains the very meaning of the term “minority” in international law, and therefore the identity of those who can claim, inter alia, the right to use their own languages with other members of their group. In his Study on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,37 Francesco Capotorti, Special Rapporteur for the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, first suggested his definition of what is a minority in the absence of any agreed upon understanding among member states of the UN, despite the adoption of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights a decade earlier which referred to linguistic, religious, and ethnic minorities. His report describes in great detail the inability among UN member states to reach any consensus on a definition, with frequent diverging and at times contradictory positions being discussed and the similar debates emanating when considering the absence of any agreed upon definition of a national minority in the contexts of European documents. As a consequence, he suggested a minority, for the purposes of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, should be understood to mean a “group

  Minority Language Rights and Standards: Definitions… 


numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a State, in a non-­dominant position, whose members – being nationals of the State – possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics differing from those of the rest of the population and show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religion or language”.38 It is this definition which is the most often circulated and referred to, including in more recent UN documents.39 The widespread invocation of the definition of Special Rapporteur Capotorti remains, however, problematic, and arguably today unsustainable, for four reasons: because the travaux préparatoires behind Article 27 do not support the requirements he proposed in his definition40; because both member states and the UN Sub-Commission did not approve his definition; because the very wording of Article 27 does not allow for the kind of limitations Special Rapporteur Capotorti’s definition contains; and finally, because the UN Human Rights Committee itself in recent decades has rejected many of the essential elements of his definition. It is undeniable that the absence of an agreed upon definition permeates the travaux préparatoires to Article 27 as Special Rapporteur Capotorti himself points out. Some state members did not consider immigrants or indigenous communities ought to qualify as minorities, while others did not support their exclusion; a number of state members suggested that only citizens could be considered to have minority rights, while others rejected such as narrow definition.41 Still others were of the view only non-dominant minorities should be able to claim rights as a minority and considered non-dominance as a fundamental requirement, but again this was far from the prevailing position. Special Rapporteur Capotorti’s definition therefore was proposed as his own preferred approach in the absence of any agreement, but it was also inconsistent with the views of most member states and from a plain reading of Article 27 itself. His definition is actually more restrictive than what the treaty provision provides for, since his definition suggests (1) only citizens (“nationals”) are entitled to rights under Article 27, whereas the provision contains no such restriction and (2) only non-dominant (leaving unclear if dominance is cultural, political, economic, or military, on a national or regional basis, etc.) minorities could claim a right under Article 27, though once again the provision itself is silent on any such limitations and this was not the consensus of state delegations involved in the drafting process. While the UN Special Rapporteur’s report was well received, it needs to be emphasised that his definition was never accepted by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, nor was it


F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

approved by all member states. In addition, as pointed out earlier, his restrictive proposal contradicted the travaux préparatoires themselves. The reasons for the rejection of a narrow definition was made clear by the UN’s first independent expert on minority issues: … in 1979, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities refused to endorse Special Rapporteur Francesco Capotorti’s suggested definition of a minority, as it included citizenship as one of its elements. Moreover, there is a risk, and State practice in Europe demonstrates, that such inclusion of citizenship as a criterion within States’ definitions of minorities, could lead to legitimizing the denial of minority rights to non-­ citizen minorities.42

The wording of Article 27 thus does not support the restrictive requirement of citizenship, since contrary to other human rights provisions which may limit a right holder to a country’s nationals, Article 27 does not refer to citizenship. Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is unambiguous in identifying the holders of the minority rights under this provision as “all persons” belonging to a linguistic, religious, or ethnic minority. It is thus not limited to citizens, nor to historical or traditional minorities, nor to non-dominant minorities, and may include “new” minorities as confirmed in the Human Rights Committee’s own general comments. Indeed, the UN Human Rights Committee left little doubt that the restrictive definition proposed by Special Rapporteur Capotorti but not approved by the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities has little role to play in the proper and contemporary understanding and application of this provision. Consistent with the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities’ refusal to endorse Special Rapporteur Capotorti’s definition, the Human Rights Committee never required the necessity of demonstrating citizenship or non-­ dominance in any of the large number of cases it considered in relation to Article 27. Additionally, any lingering doubt on whether non-citizens as a group are excluded from the definition of a minority under Article 27 has been set aside in two of the Human Rights Committee’s general comments. Firstly, in its General Comment on the position of aliens under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,43 the Human Rights Committee directly contradicted the proposed definition of the Special Rapporteur by indicating that “aliens” in a state who can demonstrate membership in a numerically inferior ethnic, religious, or linguistic community were not de denied the rights

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provided in Article 27. This is consistent with the general background to, and the wording of Article 27, as explains one leading scholar: The United Nations General Assembly, when drafting and adopting Article 27 of the Political Covenant, already opted for a broader definition. The Third Committee did not accept a proposed Indian amendment aimed at replacing the word ‘persons’ with ‘citizens’. Both the travaux préparatoires and a systematic interpretation of the Political Covenant, which uses the term “citizens” only in Article 25, clearly indicate that Article 27 also applies to aliens.44

Secondly, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted in 1994 General Comment No. 23(50) on Article 27 which spells out the exact meaning of a minority under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: The terms used in Article 27 indicate that the persons designed to be protected are those who belong to a group and who share in common a culture, a religion and/or a language. Those terms also indicate that the individuals designed to be protected need not be citizens of the state party… A state party may not, therefore, restrict the rights under Article 27 to its citizens alone. Article 27 confers rights on persons belonging to minorities which ‘exist’ in a state party. Given the nature and scope of the rights envisaged under that article, it is not relevant to determine the degree of permanence that the term “exist” connotes. Those rights simply are that individuals belonging to those minorities should not be denied the right, in community with members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to practice their religion and speak their language. Just as they need not be nationals or citizens, they need not be permanent residents. Thus, migrant workers or even visitors in a state party constituting such minorities are entitled not to be denied the exercise of those rights… The existence of an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority in a given state party does not depend upon a decision by that state party but requires to be established by objective criteria.45

Finally, in the absence of a special meaning to the term minority in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 31(1) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties specifies that a treaty must be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning of its terms in their context and in light of its object and purpose. In those states where they exist, a linguistic, religious, or ethnic minority is, in the ordinary meaning of the term, “not a majority” numerically and objectively, by using the linguistic, religious, or cultural criterion. This is also how most members of the UN Human Rights Committee approached the determination of a minority in


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Ballantyne et al. v. Canada,46 where it rejected the view that members of the English-speaking linguistic majority in Canada could be considered a minority for the purposes of Article 27 in a part of the country. The UN Human Rights Committee has opted for a far less restrictive interpretation than the Capotorti definition, since any linguistic, religious, or ethnic minority in a state is entitled to claim the minimum obligations and rights guaranteed by Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, regardless of status, dominance, period of residency, etc. This is of no little consequence since minorities are at times clearly targeted and denied citizenship through discriminatory practices and policies: about 75% of the world’s stateless people are minorities according to recent figures from the UN High Commission for Refugees.47 Imposing other requirements such as “non-­ dominance”, or citizenship, or any other type of link to the state in which they find themselves can disenfranchise millions, as is the unfortunate and dramatic case for minorities such as the Rohingya and many others.

Are Language Rights “Only” Minority Rights? Language is the key to inclusion. Language is at the centre of human activity, self-expression and identity. Recognizing the primary importance that people place on their own language fosters the kind of true participation in development that achieves lasting results.48

This chapter began by suggesting the need to unravel problematic concepts affecting what might be described as minority language rights. This includes defining who are the individuals belonging to minorities who are the holders of language rights and why a proper understanding of what is a minority, in the sense of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights result in a less restrictive definition than the one often referred to by commentators and even state authorities. The nature of what were historically known as the rights under Minority Treaties was also challenged because it raises another fundamental and contemporary issue affecting the way minority language rights are dealt with at the supranational level. Until now, the focus has been on language rights as emanating in international law from human rights standards in the modern post-Second World War period. This would be both an incomplete and not entirely accurate portrayal if other perspectives were not mentioned. Especially from the point of view of other disciplines such as sociolinguistics and more generally the social sciences, references to language rights would obviously be focussed on lan-

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guages as objects of protection. From a human rights perspective, however, minority rights or language rights involve individuals affected as holders or subjects of rights, with languages obviously not “entitled” to any right but clearly in some cases being able to benefit or be protected because of c­ ompliance with these human rights standards. But in addition, overlapping in the sense that not all observers comment or acknowledge the different points of view that can simultaneously be involved, there may be language rights in international law that have no direct relationship with the human rights of minorities in language matters. At times, for example, the reference to language or linguistic rights bears no connexion to human rights standards but rather to linguistic diversity concerns. These differences in approaches need to be explained in greater detail in order to be aware of the dangers of misunderstandings connected to different meanings attributed to similar terminology when speaking about language rights, including those of minorities.

L anguage Rights, Language Obligations, and Linguistic Diversity [L]anguage constitutes a determining factor of identity… [and the] preservation of the linguistic diversity of the world’s societies contributes to cultural diversity, which UNESCO considers a universal ethical imperative and essential for sustainable development in today’s ever more globalizing world.49

Measures for the protection of linguistic diversity are not identical to minority language rights. Put differently, in international law, there are three different approaches to language issues: (1) the human rights approach which is the one mainly referred to when describing language or minority rights in this chapter, (2) the approach aimed at protecting or promoting linguistic diversity, and (3) an approach more narrowly focussed on only protecting endangered languages. In the first approach, individuals (and perhaps in some provisions communities) are subjects of international law. In the latter two approaches, languages are objects of protection with obligations on states to take certain measures rather than rights being held by individuals or communities. In theory, however, the three are not necessarily exclusive. Some international documents such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples arguably have elements of both. While most of the language-related provisions appear to be more directly related to a rights-based approach (such as Article 16(1) which indicates indigenous peoples have the right to establish


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their own media in their own languages), some such as Article 13 (1) and (2) include an acknowledgment of an obligation to correct past injustices and make amends in language matters by recognising that states have an obligation to take effective measures to ensure the right of indigenous peoples to revitalise, use, develop, and transmit to future generations their languages and writing systems, among others. However, in concrete terms, it seems most instruments largely follow one of the three approaches almost exclusively, which explains why the Council of Europe opted to adopt not one but two treaties almost simultaneously, both dealing with minority language matters—though one from a human rights approach and the other a language diversity point of view. The second and third approaches thus involve treaties oriented towards languages as objects of concern, with no enforceable rights for any individual (only imposing state obligations) and more timid enforcement mechanisms, if any, than human rights-oriented instruments. The second category aims to protect and promote linguistic diversity as such and therefore not only targeting endangered languages. These types of instruments cannot be the basis for any enforceable individual or collective right since it deals specifically with languages as objects of protection in international law and not with individuals or groups as holders of rights. They therefore only create obligations for state parties in favour of languages. This is where the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages fits in, as does the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.50 Thus, while the former is a very detailed treaty which focuses on the protection and promotion of certain (but not all) regional or minority languages as part of Europe’s cultural heritage as a means of contributing to a Europe based on democracy and cultural diversity, no individual or minority can assert any right in international law under this instrument even though state parties have legally defined obligations. It is seen as complementing enforceable human rights since “by placing promotional obligations on the state, the European Charter complements the individual rights of minority language speakers ensuing from national and international minority protection”.51 The detailed nature of this à la carte treaty can at times give rise to misleading assumptions: firstly, despite its stated objectives, not all ­languages are protected since state parties are free to choose the languages to which the European Charter applies; Norway, for example, has entered a declaration to the effect the treaty only applies to the Sami language. Secondly, state parties are not obligated to adopt stronger measures to protect and promote languages that are in a more vulnerable position nor to adopt the measures with obligations proportionate to the degree of use, protection, or promotion of a

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language that reflects its demographic weight or the level of demand for such use of a minority language. In the case of the Ukraine, 13 minority languages are identified as all deserving protection and promotion and being subjected to the same provisions of the European Charter whether involving a tiny minority (Greek with around 5–6000) or one with more than 14 million speakers (Russian).52 The latter UNESCO Convention for its part only encourages translations and permits UNESCO to be involved in activities to promote linguistic diversity such as the International Mother Language Day. Treaties in relation to the protection of endangered languages are particularly few and largely symbolic: at most, only the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and (possibly) the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity fall in this category. The former aims at developing safeguarding measures to ensure the survival of various forms of intangible culture, including language or music, for example.53 The latter, it has been suggested by some observers, might indirectly be useful in the protection of endangered indigenous languages by protecting the specific biodiversity relied upon by small indigenous communities closely connected to dwindling traditional territories. While many use the convenient shorthand of “language rights” or “minority rights” in relation to the provisions of these two latter approaches in international legal instruments, this is strictly speaking incorrect since clearly neither provide for rights in any legal sense. Indeed, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages makes this absolutely and unambiguously explicit when it is affirmed that the “charter does not establish any individual or collective rights for the speakers of regional or minority languages” although “the obligations of the parties… will have an obvious effect on the situation of the communities concerned and their individual members”.54 Only in the first, human rights-based approach, is it appropriate to speak of language rights or minority rights, though even here there are still a number of unsettled matters from an international legal perspective.

L anguage Rights in International Law: The Human Rights Approach A human rights-based approach to language can be framed as a ‘recognize-­ implement-­improve’ method for ensuring that state authorities effectively comply with their obligations. Laws, policies and processes must recognize language rights within a human rights framework i.e., authorities must integrate these into their conduct and activities, and mechanisms must be put in place to effectively address problem areas where they exist and improve compliance.55


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There remains a degree of confusion and a certain amount of contradiction as to what is actually meant by the expression “language rights” even from a human rights approach, in particular in relation to linguistic minorities. At its simplest, the division appears to be one which centres around the nature and provenance of minority language rights: are these limited to “minority-­ specific” or cultural provisions in human rights treaties such as Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities or can language rights also be anchored in other, more general human rights standards? Put another way, do only minorities have language rights, or are the sources of language rights, including minority language rights, to be found in a number of human rights provisions? Oddly, UN documents, with the exception of the recent 2017 UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues’ Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation, had never fully explored or explicated this rather fundamental dimension of language rights, though some regional documents such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, and the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities seemed to more clearly make a link between language rights and human rights obligations. For these instruments, it would seem, language rights are human rights. It should be noted, however, that some regional treaties do not approach language issues as a human rights matter but from a linguistic diversity perspective.56 The affirmation that minority language rights and standards at the supranational level must be understood and applied within a mainly individual human rights framework requires a more precise explanation, beyond a consideration of their historical and treaty antecedents. It is also perhaps useful to keep in mind that in the same way that the “religion” rights of religious minorities rest on a series of human rights standards (especially but not exclusively freedom of religion and non-discrimination on the ground of religion) that go far beyond the rather isolated Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, so do the language rights of linguistic minorities (particularly but again not exclusively with freedom of expression and non-­ discrimination on the ground of language). Although there is no generally accepted categorisation of language rights at the supranational level, these can be divided in three broad categories (which can be described under the principles of linguistic liberty, fundamental fairness, and proportionality in relation to public services) with the applicable rights standards:

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1 . Linguistic liberty: The private use of minority languages 2. Fundamental fairness: Minority languages and criminal law 3. Proportionality and public services: The use of minority languages by authorities.

Linguistic Liberty: The Private Use of Minority Languages A State may choose one or more official languages, but it may not exclude, outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a language of one’s choice.57

Generally speaking, all private use of a language is protected by freedom of expression, since language is a form of expression protected under this human rights standard.58 It is therefore one of the most powerful language rights available to all individuals, though most often invoked in practical terms by linguistic minorities. It is nevertheless far from being the only relevant human rights provision, depending on the type of restriction or interference by state authorities in private linguistic choices and matters: • in religious activities, the use of liturgical languages is arguably also protected by freedom of religion; • Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (for minorities); • freedom of association; • the right to private life; and • the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of language (but potentially also on national origin, ethnicity, race or religion). From a practical point of view, there is no obstacle to the simultaneous invocation of a combination of these freedoms and rights: in other words, it is quite possible that a specific language issue could involve at the same time not only freedom of expression but also Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (if involving a linguistic minority) and the prohibition of discrimination, among a few others. State authorities must therefore be aware that regardless of the status of a particular language, or whether they are dealing with a person who belongs to a minority or is an indigenous person or a non-citizen, any intrusion in the language preferences of an individual in the private sphere is generally speaking more than likely contrary to a


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significant number of human rights standards—and to be avoided if a state wishes to avoid acting in breach of its supranational legal obligations. These language rights are in a sense the easiest to understand and implement since they require that state authorities not interfere with the private linguistic preferences and practices in the home and community. In other words, by staying away and not “interfering” in private activities—and the language(s) used in these—a government would be complying fully with the linguistic dimension of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and so on. All individuals, including members of a minority, have the right to use their language of choice in private activities where they express themselves through their language. This can include a large variety of different areas such as: • private signs or writing visible to the public or used inside a private building, including a commercial one, such as a religious or cultural centre, shop, and so on; • the language used by members of a family or individuals at home or in private context; • language used by members of a minority in religious, political, or social events; and • language used in a private commercial or social setting.59 It may nevertheless be permissible for state authorities to require the use of an official language in conjunction with the language preferred by an individual in private matters, as long as the additional use of an official language does not exclude or impose an unreasonable burden on a minority’s language of choice. It has been fairly widely recognised that protecting an official language or promoting its use by private parties in a state involves legitimate interests,60 as long as it is a proportionate or reasonable requirement in pursuit of a legitimate state interest. The best approach in practical terms for state authorities to comply with the language rights of minorities (and all others) in private activities would therefore seem to be one of general laissez faire. Where it is legitimate to impose the additional use of an official language while respecting the choice of a private party using a minority (or any other) language, this must not amount to an unreasonable burden on the private party, individual, organisation, or business. On the issue of an individual’s name in a particular language, there are in fact two separate dimensions, though the two are closely intertwined: the right to private life within the sphere of linguistic liberty when it comes to the use by individuals themselves of the linguistic form or spelling of their names61 and official recognition and use of an individual’s name—or of the

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official transliteration of a person’s name written from one script to another—under the prohibition of discrimination. If state authorities were to prevent the use of a person’s name because it is in a minority language in private situations, it is arguable that this could be a concern in terms of freedom of expression, the right to privacy or private life, perhaps the right to a name, Article 27 of the ICCPR, and finally could potentially in some situations be contrary to the prohibition of discrimination. In practice, it has been found that since an individual’s name is a fundamental aspect of his or her identity, any state legislation or practice that restricts the use of an individual’s name in private activities may impede on that individual’s right to private life.62 Thus, a requirement that all citizens have their names registered in the official language runs the risk of being contrary to supranational standards if it prevents, obstructs, or seriously inconveniences a person attempting to use his or her name in a minority language in private life. Additionally, on a number of occasions, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has also linked any state interference in the language of a person’s name as constituting racial discrimination.63 The use of minority languages in private media is similarly a language right covered by “liberty-oriented” human rights: freedom of expression, the prohibition of discrimination (if it applies to only certain non-official languages), and Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Simply put, banning a private media from publishing or broadcasting in a minority (or any other language) could be deemed generally to be a violation of freedom of expression, would easily be seen as a breach also of Article 27 in relation to a minority language since it would prevent members of a linguistic minority from using their language with other members of their group, and would most likely be deemed discriminatory since such measures in the past have tended to target specific minorities or ethnic groups. Most states today generally comply with these linguistic rights. The main areas of concern today usually involve government policies which indirectly impact on minority private media. This can take various forms: allocation of broadcasting or rebroadcasting licences, frequency allocation, treatment of incorporation requests or registration of minority language media, even difficulties for minority language publishers obtaining paper for their publications. It is now extremely rare to have an outright ban on private media using a minority or non-official language.64 There is, however, no “right” for private media in a minority language to be awarded automatically, for example, a radio or television frequency or licence simply because they use a minority language. Nevertheless, authorities must


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keep in mind two important considerations: firstly, the prohibition of discrimination requires that minority media not be disadvantaged in an unreasonable way in the granting of frequencies or broadcasting licences and, secondly, the need to ensure a plurality of views, to reflect the diversity of society, and to reach the intended publics all suggest that private media in minority languages should actually be favourably considered by authorities. In other words, the “State should support broadcasting in minority languages. This may be achieved through, inter alia, provision of access to broadcasting, subsidies and capacity building for minority language broadcasting”.65 While in the past there may have been technological restrictions which limited the number of available frequencies in electronic media, this is increasingly no longer the case with new media and digital technology. Finally, there are some situations where persons who belong to a linguistic minority are prevented (“denied”) from using their language with other members of their group which goes beyond simple cases of freedom of expression because of its collective dimension. While freedom of expression might often be invoked in such cases, Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights may be more appropriate.66 For example, members of a linguistic minority cannot be prevented physically from speaking their own language among themselves.67 Public authorities cannot forbid the establishment or operation of private schools from teaching a minority language or using a minority language as medium of instruction. This has been recognised in ­treaties even before the creation of the UN.68 There is widespread recognition of this right in legal and political documents, despite some differences in the way it is formulated. One matter of debate is whether there is an obligation to support, fund, or recognise private minority schools and the education they provide. The prevailing consensus would seem to indicate that while currently human rights do not require the funding of private minority schools unless there is a situation which might be discriminatory,69 authorities must not prevent the establishment of such schools. Authorities would also have the obligation to recognise the qualifications obtained in such schools, subject to general national educational standards. Students in such schools must always have the opportunity to acquire fluency in the official language. Freedom of expression and other liberty-oriented supranational standards are not absolute, including in the situations where they result in language rights. There may be situations where state authorities have a legitimate public interest in requiring that private parties use an official language, including warning signs about a potential danger, health advisories or information on consumer products, or even in terms of promoting or protecting an official

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language.70 This would, however, not be sufficient to exclude the private use of minority (or any other) language.

Fundamental Fairness: Minority Languages and Criminal Law The starting point must be, according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that the defendant who has insufficient command of the language used in the court has the same right to information, to a hearing of both sides of the case and to a fair trial as the defendant who has command of the language used in the court. The defendant is entitled to take full part in the trial. There is no fair trial if no interpreter assistance is provided.71

Because of the significance of language to ensure “equality of arms” in and the fairness of a criminal trial and the integrity of legal processes, supranational standards enshrine certain language rights as minimum guarantees for a fair hearing of an accused.72 A European Union (EU) directive even confirms these language rights as a fundamental EU right which must be harmonised in the legislation of member states.73 An accused is entitled to the free assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand or speak the language used in court, though it would be sufficient to provide this in a language understood by the accused and not necessarily in his or her own minority language. It also appears clear that to have a fair trial, the interpretation provided must be “adequate” and not perfect. The interpretation has to be practical and effective.74 This also includes translation of certain court documents.75 This also means that the language of court proceedings to be used by authorities is not affected by this individual language right. In cases where an individual only understands a minority language, however, the minority language will be used via interpretation and translation of necessary documents. Authorities are usually aware that there cannot be a fair trial if an accused does not understand what is being said. While this linguistic right is one of the most widely recognised human rights in international law, there are at times difficulties in implementation, as opposed to rejection of the right itself: interpretation or translation may not always be available when required; the quality of the interpretation may not be adequate; translated documents essential to enable suspects to exercise their right of defence is not always provided within a reasonable time or without charge; or even at times an accused is considered sufficiently fluent in the language of court proceedings so as not to require interpretation, when this is actually not the case.


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 roportionality and Public Services: The Use of Minority P Languages by Authorities The importance of language rights is straightforward: in addition to the obligation to respect human rights, there are important implications of language use that go to the core of inclusion and participation in a society with minorities.76

A more complex, contentious, and consequential language rights category involves obligations on state authorities to use a minority (or other) language in administrative, judicial, or other public services. On the one hand, there are legitimate concerns and limitations of practicality and expenditures for state authorities, as well as queries as to the status of official or minority languages in such situations; on the other hand, it can be extremely important in terms of access and inclusion for individuals belonging to linguistic minorities. In some contexts, the denial of these rights can result in widespread exclusion and marginalisation. These two last consequences are important because they help anchor these language rights to one of the most relevant human rights standard in this category: the substantive right to equality without discrimination. Contrary to what may at times be alluded to, there clearly is not an absolute right to education in one’s language in any regional or international treaty, as the European Court of Human Rights itself acknowledged in the well-­ known Belgian Linguistic Case.77 While some writers in this area tend to refer to non-binding documents as evidence of an “implicit” right, they unfortunately fail to distinguish between documents which may later form the basis of an emerging standard for “what the law ought to be” (lege ferenda),78 from the provisions of instruments which create clear legal obligations such as the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. Thus, a number of contributions from sociolinguists and other non-jurists on education in a minority language79 suppose that there must be in international law an implicit right to identity which could be used to buttress claims to education in a minority language,80 even though no treaty actually spells this out. Even among jurists, a “traditionalist” stream holds the view that there is no basis for any right to minority language instruction in public schools nor can the denial of education in a minority’s mother tongue constitute discriminatory treatment on the basis of the reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights in the Belgian Linguistic Case. However, this traditionalist view is a somewhat misleading interpretation of that case, since on the one hand the European Court of Human Rights never actually concluded that there was no possible right of education in your own language by using non-­discrimination.

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It instead indicated that discrimination in education in connection to the language used as medium of instruction would only occur if (1) there is a differential treatment with no objective and reasonable justification having regard to the aim and effects of the measure under consideration and (2) there is no reasonable proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised. While there was factually a difference of treatment in the case of parents who could not have their children taught in their own language (French) in public schools in some parts of Belgium whereas other parents could receive instruction for their children in their own language (Dutch), it agreed that in general the restrictions in Belgium affecting a small area around Brussels that prevented students from being provided public instruction in French was not unreasonable or unjustified in the circumstances, and therefore were not discriminatory because the third requirement was not met in the particular circumstances.81 But that left open the possibility that in some cases, it may be possible that not to provide education in a language could be discriminatory if it is unjustified, unreasonable, or arbitrary: Article 14 does not prohibit distinctions in treatment which are founded on an objective assessment of essentially different factual circumstances and which, being based on the public interest, strike a fair balance between the protection of the interests of the community and respect for the rights and freedoms safeguarded by the Convention. In examining whether the legal provisions which have been attacked satisfy these criteria, the Court finds that their purpose is to achieve linguistic unity within the two large regions of Belgium in which a large majority of the population speaks only one of the two national languages. This legislation makes scarcely viable schools in which teaching is conducted solely in the national language that is not that of the majority of the inhabitants of the region. In other words, it tends to prevent, in the Dutch-unilingual region, the establishment or maintenance of schools which teach only in French. Such a measure cannot be considered arbitrary. To begin with, it is based on the objective element which the region constitutes. Furthermore it is based on a public interest, namely to ensure that all schools dependent on the state and existing in a unilingual region conduct their teaching in the language which is essentially that of the region. (…) the legislation has instituted an educational system which, in the Dutch unilingual region, exclusively encourages teaching in Dutch, in the same way as it establishes the linguistic homogeneity of education in the French unilingual region. These differences in treatment of the two national languages in the two unilingual regions are, however compatible [with Articles 2 and14].82


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What has emerged more recently is that differences of treatment between two languages, including where the privileged language is an official language, may be discriminatory in international human rights law if they are not in the circumstances demonstrated to be reasonable and justified preferences. In Diergaardt v. Namibia,83 the majority of the members of the UN Human Rights Committee concluded that non-discrimination may permit the use of other languages in addition to an official one where it is unreasonable and unjustified for administrative authorities not to use another language in addition to that country’s only official language at the time, English: 10.10 The authors have also claimed that the lack of language legislation in Namibia has had as a consequence that they have been denied the use of their mother tongue in administration, justice, education and public life. The Committee notes that the authors have shown that the State party has instructed civil servants not to reply to the authors’ written or oral communications with the authorities in the Afrikaans language, even when they are perfectly capable of doing so. These instructions barring the use of Afrikaans do not relate merely to the issuing of public documents but even to telephone conversations. In the absence of any response from the State party the Committee must give due weight to the allegation of the authors that the circular in question is intentionally targeted against the possibility to use Afrikaans when dealing with public authorities. Consequently, the Committee finds that the authors, as Afrikaans speakers, are victims of a violation of article 26 [non-discrimination] of the Covenant.

Similarly, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded in 2009 that the almost exclusive use of one official language, French, in banking matters regulated by the Government of Cameroon so disadvantaged English-speaking citizens as to be unjustified, and therefore in violation of a substantive approach to equality and non-discrimination on the ground of language,84 suggesting therefore that the anglophone minority in that country is entitled to language rights anchored in this general human rights standard. The above more recent regional and international human rights decisions suggest that a state language preference—even if it relates to a country’s only official language—can constitute discrimination if it is unreasonable or unjustified. This is at times presented in terms of what is proportionate, practical and justified. Additionally, it would seem that public education not provided in a child’s language could be a breach of the right to education if students are imposed an unrealistic burden through the language choice of authorities,85 or excluded from the opportunity of learning the national language.86 The

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implications—although this is still far from universally accepted—are that the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of language can lead to situations where state authorities have an obligation to communicate with members of the public in a non-official language, often a minority language, where this is reasonable and justified. In relation to the right to education, there can, for example, be situations of a “denial of the substance of the right” if the language used as medium of instruction is not a child’s mother tongue for as long and as extensively as is reasonably practicable. Whereas for language rights in private activities, the defining principle would be a laissez-faire approach, the case of the use of minority languages by state authorities would seem to call for the use of a proportionality ­principle— based on what is reasonable or justified after consideration of all the relevant circumstances in order to comply with the prohibition of discrimination. This is essentially also the principle enshrined in treaties and documents dealing specifically with the human rights of minorities, such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This tends to take the shape of a provision indicating, among others, an obligation for state authorities to use proportionally a minority language where the numbers, demand, and geographic concentration of its speakers make it a reasonable or justified use of a minority language.87 Beyond the legal principle itself at the supranational level, there is a fairly widespread understanding that a proportionate response is highly desirable for a number of very practical reasons: • For linguistic minorities to participate effectively in decision-making processes, information must be made available in appropriate languages.88 • Access to public services, particularly in areas such as health and social services, is most effective when offered in a minority’s language, particularly indigenous or traditional minorities. • Education in a minority’s own language results generally in better student retention and academic results, including in learning the official language particularly for vulnerable segments of society such as indigenous peoples and women.89 • Economic and employment opportunities increase significantly for minorities when their language is used proportionally by authorities. Studies and practices in many countries demonstrate that an appropriate and proportionate use of minority languages can increase inclusion, communication, and trust between members of minorities and authorities. This is not simply a matter of authorities using a minority language once a minority has reached a numerical or percentage threshold, since every


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country and situation is unique. Factors that may be considered in determining the appropriate scale of use of a minority language by public authorities, or as to what is a sufficient number or is justified in a particular case, will depend on the circumstances. Prominent among these would be the already existing use of a minority language by state authorities, the number of speakers of a minority language, the level of demand for the use of a minority language, the territorial concentration of the minority, a state’s available resources in light of any additional costs in training or materials, the type of service being requested in the minority language, and the relative ease or level of difficulty in responding to the demand. A useful reference point as to how to identify what is an appropriate proportional approach in different areas from a human rights approach in language matters can be extrapolated from the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, and the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities. Studies around the world, including some published by the World Bank, UNESCO, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), arrive at broadly similar results on the effects of education in a minority’s mother tongue,90 combined with quality teaching of the official language: 1 . Is more cost-effective in the long term. 2. Reduces dropout and repetition rates. 3. Leads to noticeably better academic results, particularly for girls. 4. Improves levels of literacy and fluency in both the mother tongue and the official or majority language. 5. Leads to greater family and community involvement and support. 6. The use of minority languages in a state’s administrative and other public activities thus involves fundamental issues of inclusiveness, participation, access, quality, and effectiveness.91 Children thus stay in school longer and increase their chances of overall obtaining on average better grades in school and a higher degree of fluency in both the official language and their own language.92 Put differently, minority students only taught in the official language will on average repeat grades more often, drop out of school more frequently, receive worse results, end up later in life with the lowest paying jobs and highest unemployment rates, and learn the official language less well than students who were taught in their own language. If persons belonging to linguistic minorities have a responsibility to integrate into the wider society, then it would seem that this can be best

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achieved through effectively teaching them in their own language because of generally better outcomes from education in one’s language, even in acquiring fluency in the official language.93 For public services, more generally, speakers of a minority language who are sufficiently numerous and concentrated at the national, regional, or local levels must be entitled to receive from authorities an appropriate degree of administrative and public services in their language. This is based partly on the need for effective, meaningful access to such services and the avoidance of unreasonable or arbitrary disadvantages because of linguistic barriers or preferences that could breach the prohibition of non-discrimination. Such a reasonable and proportionate use of a minority language could contribute to the integration of linguistic minorities through better communication, as well as related employment and other opportunities that result from the use, where practicable, of their languages by authorities. Factors that may be considered in determining the appropriate and practical scale of use of a minority language by public authorities, or as to what is a sufficient number or is justified in a particular case, will depend on the circumstances involved. Prominent among these would be the number of speakers of a minority language, the level of demand for the use of a minority language, the territorial concentration of the minority, a state’s available resources, the type of service being requested in the minority language, and the relative ease or level of difficulty in responding to the demand. There may also be other relevant considerations. Despite the lack of a fixed percentage or number of speakers needed to be entitled to the use of a minority language by public authorities, there are concrete examples of State practices that are useful to illustrate when this might occur. In Finland, members of the Swedish minority are entitled to have their language used by public authorities in a municipality designated bilingual where they constitute at least 8% of the population or number at least 3000 persons. The indigenous Sami language is also official in municipalities where at least 7% of the population speaks Sami. In the United States, hospitals, nursing homes, managed care organisations, state Medicaid ­agencies, home health agencies, health service providers, and social service organisations which receive federal funding must use a minority language, translation, or interpretation under non-discrimination legislation (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to ensure access of linguistic minorities “where it is reasonable”, based on four criteria: the number or proportion of the linguistic minority individuals, the frequency of contact with the service, the nature and importance of the service, and the resources available. Public media need to reflect cultural and linguistic diversity in a non-­ discriminatory way. By receiving and imparting information in a minority


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language which minorities can fully understand and communicate in, public authorities are contributing to their more equal and effective participation in public, economic, social, and cultural life. The presence of minority languages in public media also contributes to greater integration and social cohesion, since authorities are able to inform and engage minorities directly in their own language—thus reflecting an inclusive policy towards them. Other supranational human rights standards acknowledge that states have an obligation to “encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material” in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’s educational goals, including the development of respect for the child’s own language.94 The application of the principle of proportionality in public media implies the use of minority languages to the degree that it is justified and reasonable in light of the number of speakers of a particular language, the demand, the available resources, areas of involvement of authorities, and so on. This involves all types of public media, whether public authorities are involved, including public radio or television broadcasting, printed, electronic, and new media. In some cases, special consideration must be given to a minority language’s position. In broadcasting, for example, it may initially be necessary to develop an adequate terminology and therefore to allocate additional funds for this purpose, such as in the case of indigenous languages. The nature and potential impact of public media also brings about distinct obligations to promote tolerance, respect for diversity, and social cohesion. Minority interests and concerns should not be relegated exclusively to minority programming or media but also mainstreamed into broadcasts in the official language. Persons belonging to linguistic minorities should also be consulted and participate in the development of minority language public media so that their interests and concerns be better reflected. Finally, it cannot be disregarded that for many, language is a central marker of identity, both for individuals and the political community represented by the state. While the choice of an official language (or languages) is a matter that falls within a state’s prerogative, and it is undoubtedly legitimate to promote and protect it as a component of national identity, this must be done in conformity with supranational standards, including respect for language and other human rights, while integration, including the sharing of an official language, is a legitimate aim for social cohesion that must be understood as one that takes into account and respectfully accommodates the actual diversity of a state’s population while promoting a shared sense of belonging in society. Some countries such as Bolivia have chosen to move away from a single—and potentially exclusive—national identity, asserting instead a “plurinational” identity, including the indigenous languages as

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official languages. Similarly, Switzerland’s identity is not based on a single culture or language, but on a confederation representing the country’s four main languages. The use of a minority language and social cohesion—the former as a response to an individual’s identity and the latter to a state’s choice of an official language as a means to cementing a cohesive society—are therefore not mutually exclusive. In most countries in the world, linguistic minorities are often bilingual, even multilingual. Generally speaking, linguistic minorities in most countries are more likely to acquire fluency in at least two languages, whereas monolingualism occurs more frequently among members of a linguistic majority. Still, the effective participation of linguistic minorities may at times be problematic because of language barriers. Where linguistic minorities, particularly those who are also indigenous peoples, have an insufficient command of the official language and where their linguistic rights, consistent with the supranational human rights standards, are not implemented, they run the risk of not being able to effectively participate in cultural, social, economic, or public life. There are thus two main areas of closely connected concerns: where minorities do not have the opportunity to acquire fluency in a state’s official language(s), and where state authorities do not use a minority language in a proportionate way. Both can combine and result in the exclusion or marginalisation of minorities in society—and have quite the opposite effect to their integration in society. Good policies for integration and inclusion of linguistic minorities thus involve recognising and balancing these multiple linguistic identities within society. Where the language of a minority is used in relations with administrative, judicial, and other public authorities, it often becomes a significant factor in increasing a minority’s participation in public life and provides for more effective means of communication on issues affecting minorities. However, if a country adopts an exclusive official language approach which disregards human rights standards such as the prohibition of discrimination in practical terms, minorities can find themselves severely excluded from participation in public life and even educational opportunities if no language rights are in place where reasonable and practicable. To encourage the effective participation of linguistic minorities in public life, examples abound of the usefulness of using minority languages in electoral advertisements, electoral public service television and radio programmes, and in electoral material where these minorities are concentrated. In all these areas, the language rights of linguistic minorities actually involve the concrete implementation of supranational human rights standards such as non-­discrimination to these various aspects of state policies and approaches.


F. de Varennes and E. Kuzborska

Human Rights, Language, and Conflicts Language rights at the supranational level are thus, for the most part, intimately connected to international human rights standards. It is also this connection that makes language rights a significant dimension of the close association between preventing ethnic conflicts and human rights, particularly at the UN and with regional organisations with a specific focus on conflict prevention such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

International Human Rights and the Prevention of Conflict: Avoiding Rebellion Against Tyranny and Oppression Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law […].

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 is a milestone document in the history of human rights drafted by state representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world. It is also a political and moral document that is a product of the fear of more world wars, coming as it did immediately after 1945. This is why the very first paragraphs in the preamble actually reflect the central concern of avoiding further violent upheavals by, first and foremost, acknowledging the close relationship between respecting legally enshrined human rights in order for individuals “not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression”. The third preambular paragraph thus makes the direct link between conflict prevention and human rights. This dimension

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may perhaps at times be neglected, since many may assume human rights are deeply ingrained in history or that they are exclusively a type of philosophical or moral view of the relationship between individuals and states. However, at the supranational level, international human rights were additionally clearly also portrayed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as central elements for a just and peaceful world necessary to avoid conflicts and rebellion. There is also another underlying assumption in the preamble of the Universal Declaration that needs to be highlighted, that breaches of human rights may constitute a significant, perhaps dominant, factor in the emergence of conflicts. As indicated in this chapter’s early description of the concerns addressed by the Minority Treaties in the interwar period, the fear of minority grievances being instrumentalised by kin states led to these first, albeit restricted, human rights instruments in international law. In a sense, they were recognising that avoiding violent “rebellion against tyranny and oppression” was necessary to ensure the supposedly new foundation of “freedom, justice and peace in the world”. A similar view can be seen in Europe’s regional organisation aimed at addressing security in Europe, the OSCE, and particularly the office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities that has the role of providing early warning and taking early action to prevent ethnic tensions from developing into conflict. As the title of the mandate makes unambiguous, this early warning mechanism directly and clearly makes similar connections between human rights, minorities, and preventing “rebellion against tyranny and oppression”: Wars in the former Yugoslavia give clear warnings about the cancer of intolerance in multi-ethnic societies. Such conflicts feature grave violations of human rights, the systematic exclusion and suppression of one or several groups by another. In some cases marginalization spawns frustration. In others, difference is perceived as threat, and the threat is confronted by violence. These phenomena are not limited to the Balkans. Xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism are alive and well throughout Europe.95

The OSCE institutional structure for conflict prevention evolved especially during the Cold War and the backdrop of escalating ethnic tensions in the successor states of the former Soviet bloc and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Among the initial steps is the 1990 Copenhagen Document, which linked minority protection to democratic values and the need for a concept of security that combines peace and security directly with democracy and the human


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rights of minorities,96 as does in a sense more generally the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is in this context that the mandate of the High Commissioner of National Minorities (HCNM) was established in 1993, to prevent inter-ethnic tensions and conflicts from erupting. From the 1990s, this resulted in the HCNM trying to elucidate what in concrete, practical terms are the human rights of minorities—and what are the supranational standards in relation to minority language rights—in order to avoid conflicts or, in the parlance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, rebellion against tyranny and oppression.

 yranny and Rebellion: The Contemporary Context T of Conflicts If minorities are adequately protected, this avoids the instrumentalization of minority issues, either by radicals in the minority community or by neighbouring states – which may even use violence to seek the world’s attention. States must support minority groups in expressing and preserving their identities, while promoting integration and equality before the law to strengthen social cohesion and prevent discrimination.97

Most conflicts in the world since the end of the Second World War are intrastate—rebellions in the sense used in the UN Universal Declaration. This is true of almost all of them in more recent years, as shown in Fig. 2.1 below, though an apparently increasing number of these internal conflicts have seen the involvement of external state actors, as many as in 18 out of 47 intrastate conflicts in 2016 (38%). Though these trends are generally acknowledged, what is perhaps not as widely appreciated is what they signify in relation to the actors involved in these conflicts. Though a matter of some debate among observers, it is arguable that the majority of contemporary, internal conflicts have an ethnic dimension, usually a “rebellion” implicating a minority. While undoubtedly instrumentalised by internal or external actors, a fertile environment can be expected for rebellion and violence where there are long-standing grievances of severe violations of human rights affecting large numbers of individuals belonging to minorities. Put another way, some of the main factors which contribute to the eventual eruption of violent conflicts worldwide are state policies and practices that breach the human rights of minorities to such an extent, and with such effects, that eventually violent rebellion is seen by members of the group as a viable way to react to and oppose a government.

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It is for these reasons that preventing or addressing these violations of the human rights of minorities are an important step—if not a stand-alone solution—to helping prevent conflicts.

L anguage Rights and the Prevention of Conflicts: Supranational Standards Ethnic tensions and conflicts within a state are more likely to be avoided where language rights are in place to address the causes of alienation, marginalization and exclusion. Since the use of minority languages helps to increase the level of participation by minorities, as well as their presence and visibility within a state and even their employment opportunities, this is likely to contribute positively to unity and stability. Conversely, where the use of only one official language discriminates dramatically against minorities, violence is more likely to occur.98

Human rights are the main supranational standards influencing the more detailed, practical guidance provided in documents for the prevention of internal conflicts produced by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, since “[the OSCE High Commissioner] employs the international standards to which each State has agreed as his principal framework of analysis and the foundation of his specific recommendations”,99 as do UN documents such as the above Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation. It is also no coincidence that among the first of a series of eight recommendations and guidelines produced by the HCNM, on how governmental policies needed to take into account and address the human rights of minorities in order to maintain peace and stability, dealt with language rights.100 The HCNM’s Oslo Recommendations on the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities were published in February 1998 during a period when language and ethnic tensions in the former Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc were increasingly threatening.101 It is likewise not a coincidence that during same period the UN adopted the 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and the Council of Europe adopted the 1994 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. These documents thus combine, as does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, conflict prevention and supranational human rights standards in language matters as potentially effective tools to avoid situations that could be presented as forms of rebellion against tyranny and oppression. Language


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60 50 40 30 20 10





























Fig. 2.1  Number of armed conflicts by type of conflict, 1946–2016. (Dupuy, K., Gates, S., Nygård, H., Rudolfsen, I., Siri, A., Strand, H. and Urdal, H. (2017). Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2016. Conflict Trends, 2. Available at: DownloadFile.ashx?id=1373&type=publicationfile [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018])

rights so understood can therefore serve as reference points to guide state policymakers and lawmakers on their human rights obligations in relation to language issues affecting minorities. The flip side of this understanding of language rights as supranational standards is that policies and legislation which disregard or fail to respect these human rights standards may contribute to tensions and potential violent conflicts. Put differently, ethnic conflicts tend to erupt when the human rights of minorities are disregarded or discarded and when they result in widespread exclusion or discrimination, including with regard to language preferences and matters. It is with this understanding in mind that one can better understand the position of European institutions such as the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly when it stated that the effective protection of the human rights of minorities was of great importance for “stability, democratic security and peace in Europe”.102 Similarly, it is clear that the massive and systematic violations of the human rights of the Rohingya minority fuelled the eventual use of violence by Rohingya insurgents (the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) in 2016, and the ensuing brutal repression and even ethnic cleansing and descent towards conflict, as recognised by the UN.103

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Conclusion: The Importance of Being Earnest I am under no illusions that all inter-ethnic conflicts can be solved. However, I do not believe inter-ethnic conflict is inevitable. We now have a better understanding of why conflicts erupt and how they can be prevented. Standards are in place to protect minority rights and there is a growing ‘toolbox’ of techniques to prevent conflict.104

Minority rights, in general, including the language rights of minorities, are often subject to a variety of misunderstandings and mischaracterisations going back through history to the interwar period and the Minority Treaties. For reasons that have been described, the legacy of the mid-twentieth-century era has been to treat minority rights as a “failure” and a somewhat suspect category of rights, alien to the individualistic nature of supranational human rights after the Second World War. Some of this legacy affects how the language rights of linguistic minorities have been and continue to be perceived in more recent years, with a reluctance in some circles to recognise how these rights fit in terms of supranational standards and a continuing uncertainty as what they involve in terms of the applicable standards and their implementation. This at times is reflected by the mistaken view among some commentators and state parties that minority language rights are either not “real” rights or that they are limited to specific, minority-related standards such as Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or in minority treaties such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This chapter sought to discard these misperceptions by addressing core issues, such as how the Minority Treaties were early human rights instruments that focussed on minorities as a particular segment of society in the targeted states and following the concerns of that period to address some of the root causes of the First World War; how most of these early provisions were neither exclusively collective nor even restricted to minorities; and why perhaps the need for a convenient scapegoat lead to a demonising of the “minorities approach” that resulted in an initial reluctance to refer to minority rights generally in the early UN documents. This reluctance could not, however, remain in place as the UN and regional human rights systems started to address in greater detail the human rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable members of society in many parts of the globe, but it did seem to contribute to the absence of consensus of what constituted a minority and what was the nature or scope of their rights, for a fairly


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long period of time. Indeed, the continuing disagreements played a role in the absence of any legally binding definition of the former, a commonly referred to definition (Capotorti) holding sway until recently, despite its rejection within the UN system, including more recently with the committee of experts in charge of interpreting this standard under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Nevertheless, what more recent instruments and interpretation of the language rights of linguistic minorities lead to is the conclusion that language rights—including minority language rights—are human rights. This is the basis for, and nature of, the language rights that one finds in treaties and other documents which deal with this area, including the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the OSCE Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, the Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities, and the 2017 UN Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation. As this chapter shows, it is when understanding the nature of the supranational standards such as freedom of expression, non-discrimination on the ground of language, the right to private life, and the right for a member of a minority to use their own language among themselves within a human rights framework, that a proper understanding and appreciation can be had of the practical and concrete aspects of minority language rights at the supranational level.

Notes 1. Covenant of the League of Nations, opened for signature 28 June 1919, entered into force 10 January 1920. Amended English version [online]. Available at [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 2. See Smith, P., Koufa, K. and Suppan, A. (1991). Ethnic groups in international relations. New York: European Science Foundation, Page 13: “Those decisions, and particularly the atmosphere which accompanied their creation, greatly disappointed numerous advocates of the national principle as the foundation for the building of both the new Europe and the new world. The leaders of the victorious countries faced severe criticism coming from various directions. Thus, the idea of including in treaties the imposition of minority obligations on individual states, whether new or considerably enlarged, should be seen as a kind of compensation for the unfulfilled hopes evoked by the idea of national self-determination”.

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3. The case of the Åland Islands is interesting because the arrangement has survived to the present day and provides a precedent on the potential importance of self-determination and autonomy arrangements for linguistic populations. A study by the United Nations (UN) Secretariat concluded that the engagements entered into by states after the First World War under the Minority Treaties had ceased to exist, except for the Åland Islands agreement. See UN Document E/CN, 4/367 of 7 April 1950 and E/CN, 4/367 Add.1, 27 March 1951. 4. See Capotorti, F. (1983). Study on the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. New  York: UN, Dept. of Public Information. In the Advisory Opinion on Minority Schools in Albania, (1935) Permanent Court of International Justice, Series A/B, No. 64, 3, the Permanent Court of International Justice held that these declarations also had the legal status of a treaty. 5. For an in-depth study on this period and such views, see Fink, C. (2014). Defending the rights of others. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 6. Shimazu, N. (1998). Japan, Race and Equality: The Racial Equality Proposal of 1919. London, New York: Routledge, Page 115. 7. Shimazu, p. 28. 8. Signed at Versailles 28 June 1919. Treaty [online]. Available at http://www. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 9. Study on the Rights of Persons belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, at pp. 18–19. 10. Advisory Opinion on Minority Schools in Albania. 11. For an excellent description of the background on the minority protection system after the First World War and the basis and debates pertaining to the disenchantment with the system see Study on the Rights of Persons belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, at pp. 14–45. See also Liebich, A. and Reszler, A. (1991). L’Europe centrale et ses minorités: vers une solution européenne? Paris: Presses universitaires de France, Page 45. 12. Fink C.  Minority Rights as an International Question. Contemporary European History, 9, 3 (2000), Cambridge University Press. Pages 385–400, Page 395. 13. UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues (2017). Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation. [online] http://www.ohchr. org/Documents/Issues/Minorities/SR/LanguageRightsLinguisticMinorities_ EN.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 14. McKean, W. (1983). Equality and Discrimination under International Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press, Page 53. 15. General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), UN GAOR, 3rd Session, Resolutions, Part 1, at p. 71 (1948). 16. Council of Europe, European Treaty Series, No. 5.


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17. Study on the Rights of Persons belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, at p. 27. 18. Treaty of Peace with Italy, signed in Paris on 10 February 1947. [online] Available at [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 19. Annex IV (Provisions Agreed upon by the Austrian and Italian Governments on 5 September 1946, original English text as signed by the two Parties and communicated to the Paris Conference on 6 September 1946), in Treaty of Peace with Italy, supra. 20. State Treaty for the re-establishment of an independent and democratic Austria. Signed at Vienna, on 15 May 1955. [online] Available at https://treaties. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 21. Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Council of Europe), [online] [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. For a general description of the interpretation of the language rights provisions of this treaty, see Thematic Commentary no. 3 on the Language Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities under the Framework Convention (Council of Europe), [online] https://rm.coe. int/16800c108d [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 22. Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992. 23. Convention Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries, adopted 26 June 1957, [online] available at ORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C107 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 24. While indigenous peoples are a distinct legal category, factually indigenous peoples may simultaneously constitute a minority in countries where they live. Being a minority does not extinguish or diminish any indigenous rights. 25. Convention against Discrimination in Education, adopted 14 December 1960, [online] available at ID=12949&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 26. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted 16 December 1966, [online] available at pages/ccpr.aspx [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 27. Article 30: “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language”. Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted 20 November 1966, [online]

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available at [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 28. European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. English version [online]. Available at -or-minority-languages/text-of-the-charter [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 29. UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, [online] ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Minorities.aspx [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 30. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, [online] http://www. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 31. Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action, [online] ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Vienna.aspx [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 32. Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, [online] [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 33. Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities (OSCE), [online] [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 34. Hague Recommendations Regarding the Educational Rights of National Minorities (OSCE), [online] [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 35. Lund Recommendations on the Effective Participation of National Minorities in Public Life (OSCE), [online] [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 36. [online] RightsLinguisticMinorities_EN.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 37. Study on the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. 38. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 39. See, for example, Minorities under international law [online] at http://www. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 40. For an in-depth and comprehensive examination of the discussions and debates around the drafting of Article 27 of the ICCPR, see Duchêne, A. (2008). Ideologies across Nations: The Construction of Linguistic Minorities at the United Nations. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter, Pages 120–158. 41. See Wolfrum, R. (1993). The Emergence of ‘New Minorities’ as a Result of Migration. In C.  Brölmann, R.  Lefeber and M.  Zieck, eds., Peoples and Minorities in International Law, Dordrecht, Boston: Springer, Pages 153– 166, at Page 162. 42. Report of the independent expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall: Minorities and the Discriminatory Denial or Deprivation of Citizenship, HRC 7th ses-


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sion, 2008, A/HRC/7/23, [online] available at access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/HRC/7/23&Lang=E [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 43. General Comment 15(27), UN Document A/41/40, at p. 118. 44. Nowak, M. (1993). The Evolution of Minority Rights in International Law. In C. Brölmann, R. Lefeber and M. Zieck, eds., Peoples and Minorities in International Law, Dordrecht, Boston: Springer, Pages 103–118, at Page 116. See also Bossuyt, M. (1990). The United Nations and the Definition of Minorities. Plural Societies, XXI, pages 129–136, at p. 131: “If Article 27 contains mainly a negative obligation in the sense that governments are obligated to refrain from interfering with the culture, religion and language of minority groups, a definition becomes almost superfluous. It is also because Article 27 contains essentially only negative obligations that Article 27 may also be applied to aliens and to immigrants…”. 45. 6 April 1994, Document CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.5, at paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2. 46. Ballantyne, Davidson, McIntyre v. Canada, Communications Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/47/D/359/1989 and 385/1989/Rev.1 (1993). 47. See UNHCR report exposes the discrimination pervading the life of stateless minorities worldwide, 3 November 2017, [online] at news/press/2017/11/59fc27514/unhcr-report-­e xposes-discriminationpervading-life-stateless-minorities.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 48. UNESCO (2012). Why Language Matters for the Millennium Development Goals. [online] available at SearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016800c b5e5 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 49. UNESCO (September 2006). Language Matters. The Intangible Heritage Messenger, [online] available at 01471/147185e.pdf, Page 1 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 50. Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, adopted 20 October 2005. [online] available at creativity/sites/creativity/files/passeport-­convention2005-­web2.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 51. The objectives of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages can be found online at -or-minority-languages/the-objectives-of-the-charter-[Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 52. Ethnologue, [online] available at UA/languages [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 53. Convention on Biological Diversity, adopted on 5 June 1992. [online] available at [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. This treaty only provides for support to short-term projects and specific aspects of heritage of international interest and only those proposed by gov-

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ernments occasionally. In other words, it does not create any rights to use endangered languages or even any direct entitlement to their protection since it is left to the discretion of national governments to submit occasionally some kind of proposal for specific action which can then be occasionally financially supported by a UNESCO fund for this purpose. 54. Council of Europe (1992). Explanatory Report to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. [online] available at CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?document Id=09000016800cb5e5 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 55. Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation. 56. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe neither recognises any enforceable right nor is it premised on human rights concerns. It is based on state obligations to protect and promote European linguistic diversity. 57. Ballantyne, Davidson, McIntyre v. Canada, Communications Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/47/D/359/1989 and 385/1989/Rev.1 (1993). 58. Ballantyne, Davidson and McIntyre v. Canada, UN Human Rights Committee Communications Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, 31 March 1993. 59. Ouranio Toxo and Others v. Greece, European Court of Human Rights, 74,989/01, 20 October 2005. 60. Ballantyne, Davidson and McIntyre v. Canada, UN Human Rights Committee Communications Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, 31 March 1993. 61. Name is used here as a generic term to include forenames (or first names) and surnames (last or family names). 62. Raihmanv.Latvia,UNHumanRightsCommittee,CCPR/C/100/D/1621/2007, 28 October 2010. 63. See Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Japan, 27 April 2001, CERD/C/304/Add.114, paragraph 18, and Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Morocco, CERD/C/MAR/Q/17–18, 8 July 2010, paragraph 12. 64. See Comments on Dominican Republic, U.N.  Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.18 (1993): 7. The Committee exmathpresses its concern over the inadequate protection of the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the Dominican Republic. In this regard, the Committee notes that the prohibition of broadcasting in a language other than Spanish is not in conformity with article 19 [freedom of expression] of the Covenant.

65. OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2003). Guidelines on the use of Minority Languages in the Broadcast Media. The Hague: Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.


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66. Article 27: “In those States in which…linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group… to use their own language”. Article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is similarly worded, though including indigenous children. 67. Lovelace v. Canada, UN Human Rights Committee Communication 24/1977, UN Document A/36/40. 68. See, for example, Advisory Opinion on Minority Schools in Albania, (1935) Permanent Court of International Justice, Series A/B, No. 64, 3, at p. 17. See also dissident opinion of Judge Kōtarō Tanaka, South West Africa (Liberia v. South Africa), (1966) International Court of Justice, judgment of 18 July 1966, at Page 310. 69. This can occur if state authorities unreasonably only provide financial support to some private minority schools, Waldman v. Canada, 3 November 1999. (Communication No. 694/1996), CCPR/C/67/D/694/199. 70. Following the conclusions of the UN Human Rights Committee that the Government of Québec breached freedom of expression by requiring the exclusive use of the official language (French) on commercial signs, state authorities adopted legislation that respected a private individual’s language of choice in his or her own private affairs by not restricting in a disproportionate way the use of a language of preference on private signs, while still requiring that these display the official language in a predominant position. This shows how a state can combine the legitimate goal of promoting and protecting an official language, while not preventing an individual’s human right to use the language of his or her choice in private matters, including on signs visible to the general public. 71. Van der Vlis, E. (2010). The right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. The Journal of Specialised Translation. July (14). Pages 28–29. 72. See Chapter 4  in Namakula, C. (2014). Language and the Right to Fair Hearing in International Criminal Trials. New York: Springer. 73. Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation, DIRECTIVE 2010/64/EU. 74. Kamasinski v. Austria, judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, 19 December 1989. 75. Article 14(3)(f ) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 76. Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation, at p. 7. 77. Case relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of languages in education in Belgium v Belgium, Application no 1474/62; 1677/62; 1691/62; 1769/63; 1994/63; 2126/64, judgment of 23 July 1968, (Nos. 1 & 2). (No.1) (1967), Series A, No.5 (1979–80) 1 EHRR 241,­

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content/uploads/old-site-downloads/download-223-Belgian-Linguisticcase-full-case.pdf 78. Thornberry, P. (1991). International Law and the Rights of Minorities. Oxford: Clarendon Press, Oxford, Chapter 7. 79. See generally Skutnabb-Kangas, T. and Phillipson, R. (1994). Linguistic Human Rights: Overcoming Linguistic Discrimination. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Pages 71–110. 80. Smith, R. (2003). Mother Tongue Education and the Law: A Legal Review of Bilingualism with Reference to Scottish Gaelic. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 6:2, 129–145. Pages 130–132. 81. The European Court of Human Rights did conclude it was unreasonable and unjustified, and therefore discriminatory, to prevent children from having access to French-language schools in certain communes of Brussels, solely on the basis of the residence of their parents. This was not the case for Dutch-language schools and thus constituted discriminatory treatment. 82. At pp. 884–886. 83. J.G.A. Diergaardt et  al. v. Namibia. 25 July 2000. (Communication No. 760/1997), U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/69/D/760/1997 (2000). 84. Kevin Mgwanga Gunme et al. v. Cameroon, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Communication 266/2003, 27 May 2009. Available at 85. Cyprus v. Turkey, Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, judgment of 10 May 2001, (2002) 35 E.H.R.R. 30, 86. Catan and Others v. Moldova and Russia, Applications nos. 43,370/04 18,454/06 8252/05, judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, 19 October 2012. 87. Other documents containing the same general approach, though with some variations, include the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. 88. The Global Transparency Initiative (2009). Model World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information, Page 1. [online] uploads/.../GTI_WB_Model_Policy_final.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 89. Benson, C. (2005). Girls, Educational Equity and Mother Tongue-based Teaching. Bangkok: UNESCO. [online] 0014/001420/142049e.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018]. 90. See generally, UNESCO (2008). Improving the Quality of Mother Tonguebased Literacy and Learning: Case Studies from Asia, Africa and South America. Bangkok: UNESCO. 91. For a list of some of these studies, see Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation.


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92. For example, in one 2013 ranking of France’s high schools (‘lycées’), the top educational facility for the whole country was the Lycée Diwan teaching in the minority Breton language rather than the country’s only official language. This school also had a higher average fluency in the French language than mainstream students, even though most of their instruction was in Breton. 93. Dutcher, N. in collaboration with Tucker, G.R. (1997). The Use of First and Second Languages in Education: A Review of Educational Experience. Washington D.C.: World Bank. 94. Article 17(a), Convention on the Rights of the Child. 95. Van der Stoel, M. (2001). Easing the Sisyphus Task: Preventing the Conflicts of the Future. Speech by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel at the Verleihung des Hessichen Friedenspreises, Wiesbaden, Germany. Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018]. 96. See: Packer, J. G. Siemienski (1999). The Language of Equity: The Origin and Development of the Oslo Recommendations regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 6, pp. 329–350. At Page 330. 97. Turner, N. and Otsuki, N. (2010). The Responsibility to Protect Minorities and the Problem of the Kin-State. Policy Brief, 2, UNU Press. 98. Language Rights of Linguistic Minorities: A Practical Guide for Implementation. Page 9. 99. Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities. 100. Hague Recommendations Regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities, 1 October 1996; Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, 1 February 1998; Lund Recommendations on the Effective Participation of National Minorities in Public Life, 1 September 1999; Guidelines on the Use of Minority Languages in the Broadcast Media, 10 October 2003; Recommendations on Policing in Multi-Ethnic Societies, 9 February 2006; Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State Relations, 2 October 2008; Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies, 7 November 2012; and the Graz Recommendations on Access to Justice and National Minorities, 14 November 2017. 101. Packer, J. G. Siemienski (1999). The Language of Equity: The Origin and Development of the Oslo Recommendations regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 6, pp. 329–350. At Pages 329–330. 102. Recommendation 1492 (2001), Rights of national minorities, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Xref-XML2HTML-EN.asp?fileid=16861&lang=en

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103. See UN News Centre (2017). UN human rights chief points to ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018]. 104. Van der Stoel, M. (2001). Easing the Sisyphus Task: Preventing the Conflicts of the Future. Speech by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel at the Verleihung des Hessichen Friedenspreises, Wiesbaden, Germany. Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].

References Books, Chapters and Articles Benson, C. (2005). Girls, Educational Equity and Mother Tongue-based Teaching, UNESCO, Bangkok, available at publications/article/girls-educational-equity-and-mother-tongue-based-teaching/ Bossuyt, M. (1990). The United Nations and the Definition of Minorities. Plural Societies, XXI, 129–136. Dutcher, N. in collaboration with G. Richard Tucker. (1997). The Use of First and Second Languages in Education: A Review of Educational Experience. Washington, DC: World Bank. Fink, C. (2004). Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and International Minority Protection, 1878–1938. New York: Cambridge University Press. L’Europe centrale et ses minorités: vers une solution européenne?, André Liebich and André Reszler (eds.), Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1993. Language Rights in the Minimum Guarantees of Fair Criminal Trial in Catherine S. Namakula, Language and the Right to Fair Hearing in International Criminal Trials, Springer International Publishing, 2014. McKean, W. (1983). Equality and Discrimination under International Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Nowak, M. (1993). The Evolution of Minority Rights in International Law. In C. Brölmann, R. Lefeber, & M. Zieck (Eds.), Peoples and Minorities in International Law (pp. 103–118). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff. Shimazu, N. (1998). Japan, Race and Equality. Routledge. London and New York. Wolfrum, R. (1993). The Emergence of ‘New Minorities’ as a Result of Migration. In C.  Brölmann, R.  Lefeber, & M.  Zieck (Eds.), Peoples and Minorities in International Law (pp. 153–166). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.


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International Treaties Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960), United Nations Treaty Series, Vol. 428. Convention concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries, adoption in Geneva at the 40th ILC session, 26 June 1957., available at f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C107 Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. Covenant of the League of Nations, Opened for Signature 28 June 1919, Entered into Force 10 January 1920, Amended English Version available at Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation, DIRECTIVE 2010/64/EU. Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, CETS No. 157, Strasbourg, Entered into Force 1 February 1998. International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (1966), United Nations Treaty Series, Vol. 999. Minorities Treaty Between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Poland, Signed at Versailles 28 June 1919., available at pdf/19190628-3.pdf State Treaty for the re-establishment of an independent and democratic Austria, signed at Vienna, on 15 May 1955., available at UNTS/Volume%20217/v217.pdf Treaty of Peace with Italy, signed in Paris on 10 February 1947., available at https:// U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989. U.N.  Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007, General Assembly, Resolution no. 61/295. UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), UN GAOR, 3rd Session, Resolutions, 1948. Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action, Adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on 25 June 1993.

Judgments, Decisions and Views of International Courts and Bodies Advisory Opinion on Minority Schools in Albania, (1935) Permanent Court of International Justice, Series A/B, No. 64, 3.

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Ballantyne, Davidson and McIntyre v. Canada, U.N.  Human Rights Committee Communications Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, 31 March 1993. Catan and Others v. Moldova and Russia, applications nos. 43370/04 18454/06 8252/05, ECtHR, judgment of 19 October 2012. Comments on Dominican Republic, U.N. Human Rights Committee, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.18 (1993). Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Japan, 27 April 2001, CERD/C/304/Add.114. Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Morocco, CERD/C/MAR/Q/17-18, 8 July 2010. Cyprus v. Turkey, Grand Chamber, ECtHR, judgment of 10 May 2001, (2002) 35 E.H.R.R. 30. J.G.A. Diergaardt (late Captain of the Rehoboth Baster Community) et al. v. Namibia, U.N.  Human Rights Committee, communication No. 760/1997, U.N.  Doc. CCPR/C/69/D/760/1997 (2000). Kamasinski v. Austria, ECtHR, judgement of 19 December 1989. Kevin Gumne and Others v. République du Cameroun, communication 266/2003, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia, 45th Ordinary Session, 13–27 May 2009. Lovelace v. Canada, U.N.  Human Rights Committee, communication 24/1977, U.N. Document A/36/40. Ouranio Toxo and Others v. Greece, ECtHR, application no. 74989/01, judgment of 20 October 2005. Raihman v. Latvia, U.N. Human Rights Committee, CCPR/C/100/D/1621/2007, 28 October 2010. Waldman v. Canada, U.N. Human Rights Committee, 3 November 1999, communication no. 694/1996), CCPR/C/67/D/694/199.

Other Documents Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, available at Francesco Capotorti, Study on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/384 (Rev1. 1979). General Comment 15(27) on the position of aliens under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, United Nations Human Rights Committee, UN Document A/41/40. General Comment No. 23(50) on Article 27, United Nations Human Rights Committee, 6 April 1994, Document CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.5. Hague Recommendations Regarding the Educational Rights of National Minorities (OSCE)., available at Improving the Quality of Mother Tongue-based Literacy and Learning: Case Studies from Asia, Africa and South America, UNESCO, UNESCO Bangkok, 2008.


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Lund Recommendations on the Effective Participation of National Minorities in Public Life (OSCE), available at Model World Bank Policy on Disclosure of Information, The Global Transparency Initiative, May 2009. OSCE Guidelines on the use of Minority Languages in the Broadcast Media, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Netherlands, October 2003. Oslo Recommendations regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities (OSCE), available at Report of the independent expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall: Minorities and the Discriminatory Denial or Deprivation of Citizenship, HRC 7th session, 2008, A/ HRC/7/23, available at G08/113/51/PDF/G0811351.pdf?OpenElement Thematic Commentary no. 3 on the Language Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities under the Framework Convention (Council of Europe), available at Language_en.pdf U.N. Document E/CN, 4/367 of 7 April 1950 and E/CN, 4/367 Add.1, 27 March 1951. UNHCR report exposes the discrimination pervading the life of stateless minorities worldwide, 3 November 2017., available at 59fc27514/unhcr-report-exposes-discrimination-pervading-life-stateless-minorities.html

3 Minority Language Rights in the Russian Federation: The End of a Long Tradition? Bill Bowring

Introduction This chapter cannot present an overview of a developed and stable contemporary Russian approach to minority language rights, even if that was the objective. The reason is that from 2016 there has been a very significant shift away from special status for “national,” ethnic, languages in the context of an asymmetric federation. While Russia has a developed hierarchy of norms, consisting of international obligations which are part of Russian law, the Constitution of the Russian Federation of 1993, and relevant legislation, the latest fundamental changes have been brought about without amendments to the Constitution or to the relevant legislation. In order to engage with the issues posed by the dramatic events of the last few years, I outline a history of the development of minority language rights.

I am indebted to Tamara Borgoyakova, of the Khakas State University, Abakan, Russia, Institute of Humanities, and Sayano-Altay Turkology, for many of the Russian language references below, which appeared in our joint publication “Language Policy and Language Education in Russia,” Chapter 25 in the Encylopedia of Law and Language, Springer International Publishing AG, and to Mustafa Tuna and Michael Newcity of Duke University for inviting me with Sophie Roche of Heidelberg University to participate in the seminar “Preserving Culture at the Fringes in Authoritarian States” at Duke University on 15 February 2017, where a version of this chapter was presented and a rich discussion ensued.

B. Bowring (*) School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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First I present Russia’s unusual federative, ethnic, and linguistic complexity. Second, I sketch developments in the Russian Empire and the USSR. Third, I trace the consequences of the collapse of the USSR and the “parade of sovereignties” of 1990–1992. Fourth, I introduce the Constitution of 1993 and its rather radical provisions. Fifth, I present the last report of the Advisory Committee (AC) for the Framework Convention for the Protection of Minority Rights (FCNM)1 in 2012, a continuing process. Sixth, I engage with the beginning of the present era. President Putin has now been in power since 2000, 18  years, and is just commencing a further 6 years in office. Finally, I discuss the dramatic events of the past few years and how matters stand at the time of writing.

Russia The Russian Federation (RF) has an unusually complex structure. Since the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, it now has 85 subjects (members) of the Federation, the most recent being the Republic of Crimea (illegally annexed by Russia in 2014), and its capital, the city of Sevastopol, as a city of federal significance. There are 22 ethnic republics, each with the constitutional right to an official language in addition to Russian.2 Russia’s population is falling, currently around 140 million.3 In September 2017, the Economy Minister, Maksim Oreshkin, said that Russia’s demographic situation is “one of the most difficult in the world”… “in the next five to six years we are going to lose approximately 800,000 working-age people from the demographic structure every year” (Balmforth 2017). Russia’s ethnic and linguistic diversity is also impressive if not unique. In the first periodical report4 of the RF, dated 8 March 2000, to the AC under the Council of Europe’s FCNM, a treaty which Russia ratified in August 1998 (Council of Europe 2000), Russia stated that, “The Russian Federation is one of the largest multinational states in the world, inhabited by more than 170 peoples, the total population being about 140 million.” Russia also reported that, “The education in Russia’s schools is now available in 38 languages… As many as 75 national languages are a part (including languages of national minorities) of the secondary schools curricula.” The annexation of Crimea means that there is one more “people,” the Crimean Tatars (Bowring 2018). I return in my conclusion to the latest engagement between Russia and the FCNM. Russia’s Fourth State Report was received by the Council of Europe on 20 December 2016 and has been published.5 Publication by the Council of Europe was prefaced by the following:

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The fourth state report submitted by the Russian Federation (ACFC/SR/ IV(2016)006) has been made public by the Council of Europe Secretariat in accordance with Article 20 of Resolution (97)10 on the monitoring arrangements under Articles 24–26 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The report has been prepared under the sole responsibility of the Russian Federation. Being committed under the relevant Committee of Ministers decisions (e.g. CM/Del/Dec(2014)1196/1.8, CM/Del/Dec(2014)1207/1.5, CM/Del/ Dec(2015)1225/1.8) to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the Council of Europe does not recognise any alteration of status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.

L anguage and Education Policies in the Russian Empire and the USSR There have been radical changes in language and education policy in the past two and a half centuries. During the Tsarist period (1721–1917), the Russian Empire’s policy in relation to many linguistic minorities was harsh, despite the surprising degree of autonomy enjoyed by non-Russian ethnicities (Bowring 2015). For example, from 1876 to 1905, during the reign of the reformer Aleksandr II, noted for his abolition of serfdom in 1861 and the Great Legal Reforms of 1864, the publication of any literature in the Ukrainian language was forbidden, and the Polish language was expunged from academic institutions and from all official spheres. At the same time this harsh policy was tempered by the very large number of users of minority languages. For many of them, this was also a time of developing national self-­consciousness (Alpatov 2014). Finns and Germans retained linguistic privileges, and the Volga Tatars, following the religious reforms of Catherine II in the 1780s, maintained their language along with their Muslim religion (Yemelianova 2007). I focus on the Tatars later in this chapter. Despite the fact that in reality the USSR functioned as a state with strongly centralized power, under the control of the Communist Party with its principle of “democratic centralism,” the formal, constitutional position was different—and quite different from the Tsarist Empire. The USSR presented itself as a confederation, a union of sovereign republics with the right of secession, and the Russian Socialist Federation of Soviet Republics (RSFSR) as a unitary state with strong elements of territorial autonomy (Khazanov 1997). Of course, the ethnic populations which did not receive their “own” territory, especially the indigenous peoples of the north, lost out in this competition.


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The goal of leaders of the “titular” nationality in a particular territory was to preserve as much as possible its ethnic character and territorial integrity. Dowley observed as follows: Elites in the ethnic autonomous republics and national level republics were appointed to represent the ethnic group interests in the larger state, and thus, their natural political base of support was supposed to be the ethnic group. Other political appointments in these regions were made on the basis of ethnicity, a Soviet form of affirmative action for the formally, institutionally, recognised ethnic groups referred to in the early years of the Soviet Union as korenizatsiya or nativisation. (Dowley 1998, 363)

The chairmen of the Supreme Soviets of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, both of which aspired to the status of “Union Republics,” were always members of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, along with those of the Union Republics—the only two “autonomous republics” so represented (Shaimiev 1996a, 1). After 1905 this policy to some extent was mitigated but roused significant opposition from the ethnically orientated intelligentsia and opponents of Tsarist autocracy. The ideas of left liberals such as the Polish linguist Jan Baudouin de Courtenay (in Russian, Boduen de Kurtene) and revolutionaries such as Vladimir Lenin were very close. In 1906 Boduen wrote that he preferred a form of the state in which “no one language should be considered the state language and compulsory for all educated citizens… Each citizen should have the right to engage with the central bodies of government in his own language. The task of such central bodies is to guarantee that translators in all languages should be found on the territory of the state” (Boduen-de-Kurtene 1906). Lenin wrote in 1914: “Russian Marxists say that there must be no compulsory official language, that the population must be provided with schools where teaching will be carried on in all the local languages, that a fundamental law must be introduced in the constitution declaring invalid all privileges of any one nation and all violations of the rights of national minorities” (Lenin 1914). After the 1917 revolution these ideas began to come to life. Russia, according to Russian commentators, was the first country in the world in which minority rights to language were guaranteed (Alpatov 2014). In February 1918, it was ordered that all local languages could be used in the courts. In the most bitter period of the civil war, in October 1918, the Narkomat (Peoples’ Commissariat) enacted a decree entitled, “On schools for national (ethnic)

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minorities.” At the same time the centralized production of literature began in a significant number of languages other than Russian. In 1921 the X Congress of the Communist Party adopted a special resolution on national (ethnic) policy, which set out the task of translating into minority languages documents of the courts, administration, economic bodies, theatres, and so on. However, achievements in the legal support for the functioning of languages was minimal. After World War II the USSR became a state with one de facto official language: Russian. A new turn of the screw of Russification took place under Nikita Khrushchev, when in 1958 the law, entitled “On strengthening the connections between school and life,” was enacted, giving parents the right to choose the language of instruction for their children. Teaching in the native language in many schools of autonomous republics and oblasts of the RSFSR was initially terminated in the fourth year, or instruction was completely changed to the Russian language, and the native language was treated as a subject to be taught rather than a language of instruction. In many regions the school system functioning in local languages was changed, above all in the territories of the RSFSR and such regions as Karelia, Marii El, Komi, and others. Significantly less literature in these languages was published and new mass media, radio and television, were for the most part in the Russian language (Zamyatin et al. 2012). In the succeeding decades the official ideology of the merging of the nations and peoples of the country in the framework of a united community, a Soviet people, and a sole common language for all, Russian, dominated. In many ethnic regions of contemporary Russia, the transition from local languages to the Russian language became stronger in the 1970s. The 1977–1978 Constitutions of the USSR and RSFSR preserved without change a quantity of legal regulation in the sphere of the official functioning of languages. At the same time the rights of the individual in the use of languages were broadened. These constitutional norms established the equality of citizens before the law independent of origin, race or ethnic belonging, and so on, as well as of language (Article 34). However, it should be noted that legal guarantees in the sphere of ethnic linguistic relations were strengthened, as before, only in the context of the rights of the citizen to education. Thus, for example, the following linguistic rights were established in the “Foundations of legislation of the USSR in union republics on peoples’ education”: freedom of choice of the language of instruction, the possibility of instruction in the native language, the choice of school with the corresponding language of instruction, and equality in


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receiving education independent not only of the social situation, of racial and ethnic belonging, and so on, but also from language. The list of languages of instruction, nonetheless, was not established by legislation at the union or republic level (Dorovskikh 1996). The 1977 Constitution of the USSR did not define the legal status of a language. It contained no linguonym or other indication of the special status of the Russian language. Nonetheless, in the chapter “The court and arbitrazh,” there was a hierarchy of languages and special status for the Russian language with reducing status for languages of the Union Republics, autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts (regions which are subjects of the RSFSR), and autonomous okrugs (districts within subjects of the RSFSR). The special status of the Russian language was manifested in the heraldic symbols of the USSR. For example, “Proletarians of all Countries, Unite!” was written on the state crest of the USSR in the Russian language at the centre and in bolder letters and in the languages of the Union Republics at the edge. The real language policy consigned native languages to the category of the languages of day-to-day communication, political decoration, and folklore events. A particularly noteworthy change took place in the system of education. Native languages more and more began to be studied only as subjects (e.g., Adigei, Ingush, Kabardino-Balkar, Karachaevo-Cherkess, Ossetian languages) or remained a language of instruction only to the third class in ethnic schools (Altai, Marii, Mordovian, Udmurt, Khakass, and the Komi languages). If at the start of the 1960s instruction in the RSFSR was conducted in 47 languages, by 1982 this was reduced to 17 (Belikov 2001). Vakhtin and Golovko evaluate the language policy of the Soviet period from the 1980s to 1990s in the following way: “In many senses the policy of Russification was successful: the proposed results were achieved” (Vakhtin and Golovko 2004). The results of the 1989 census confirm this view. According to this, 50% of Karelians, 30% of Bashkirs, Mordovians, Komi, Udmurts, and others did not consider their ethnic language to be their mother tongue. From 1970 to 1985 the numbers of people who did not know their ethnic language among Buryats, Tatars, Marii, Yakutians, and others grew twofold. Linguistic loyalty in the form of recognition as the language of one’s ethnos for the people of South Siberia was about 50% for Shors, 77% for Khakass, and 85% for Altai. However, if ethnic language use declined, the political strength of the “titular” ethnicity increased, and by the end of the 1970s, more than half of the professional cadre in half of the Union Republics and 11 of the 21 autonomous republics in the RSFSR were composed of members of the titular ethnic group. The social mobility of ethnic groups was higher than that of Russians

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(Drobizheva 1996, 2). As the Soviet Union weakened and finally collapsed, in December 1991, it is hardly surprising that the same leaders sought to turn symbolic authority into real power and had a strong base for doing so.

 he End of the USSR and the “Parade T of Sovereignties” The “parade of sovereignties” (Bowring 2010) in the last years of the USSR, in which most of ethnic autonomies in the USSR declared their sovereignty and in several cases sought the status of a Union Republic, giving them the right to secede, enabled the Republic of Tatarstan to emerge as the most autonomous subject of the RF, refusing to give up the status of its head as President. From 1996 there has also been the spectacular and paradoxical flourishing of National Cultural Autonomy (NCA),6 including NCAs of the Tatars living outside Tatarstan (Bowring 2007). I return later in this chapter to the question of the Tatars, the most numerous minority in Russia and its former rulers. The real threat of the transformation of Russia into a confederation provided the direct impetus for a draft Federative Treaty. On 31 March 1992, the RSFSR and most of the subjects signed the Federative Treaty, setting out a division of powers. The Treaty was incorporated into the 1978 Constitution of the RSFSR, going into effect on 10 December 1992. In the view of Umnova (1998, 63), Russia turned from a unitary state into a half-federation or quasi-­ federal state. She also considers that for the regions other than the ethnic republics, the Treaty “won” a status of autonomy similar to the regions of unitary decentralized states, such as Italy and Spain (both since the 1980s). I note later in this chapter a comparison of Tatarstan with Catalonia. One of the most important guarantees of autonomy was the principle, to be found in Article 84 of the Treaty and Article 84(9) of the amended 1978 Constitution, that the territories of these formations could not be changed without their agreement. It is notable that not all the subjects of the RSFSR agreed with the provisions of the Federative Treaty. Tatarstan’s Declaration of State Sovereignty of 30 August 19907 declared that state sovereignty was the “realisation of the inalienable right of the Tatar nation, of all people of the republic to self-­ determination” (Tishkov 1997, 56). President Shaimiev stressed the fact that the “people of Tatarstan” were not divided into ethnic groups (Shaimiev


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1996b). In a referendum of that time, no less than 62% of its population, Tatars and Russians, supported sovereignty. Tatarstan, like Chechnya, refused to sign the Federative Treaty in March 1992, but, unlike the Chechen leadership, whose intransigence led to armed conflict, Shaimiev entered into lengthy negotiations with the Russian government. Neither Tatarstan nor the Chechen-Ingush Republic signed the Federative Treaty. On 21 March 1992, Tatarstan, despite the decision of the Russian Constitutional Court of 13 March 1992,8 held a referendum confirming the status of Tatarstan as an independent republic and subject of international law, with its own relations with the RF and other republics and also with foreign states on the basis of treaties and legal equality.9 Linguistic assimilation, which posed a real threat to the majority of languages of the peoples of the Soviet Union, became one of the causes of its collapse in 1991. This is demonstrated by the fact that in almost all countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the first laws to be enacted were laws on language, making the relevant languages state languages. Russia was no exception. The law “On languages of the peoples of the RSFSR” was enacted in 1991, before the country’s Constitution of 1993. This was the result of the need to correct the errors made in state nationalities policy, and the regulation of questions of the state language of the country, on the one hand, and the creation of a legal mechanism for the protection of the languages of the peoples of Russia, on the other hand. A law “On education” was enacted in 1992 (Alpatov 2000; Belikov and Krysin 2001; Bowring 2012; Vakhtin 2001). The RSFSR Law on Languages of 1991 defined the languages of the peoples of the RSFSR as a national achievement of the Russian state, a historical and cultural legacy, under the protection of the state. Languages were recognized as the most important element of culture and the foundation for the appearance of ethnic and personal self-consciousness. Both Boris Yeltsin and Mintimer Shaimiev were democratically elected on 12 June 1991—the former as the first President of the RSFSR, the latter as the first President of Tatarstan (Shaimiev 1996b). One of the factors which precipitated the abortive putsch of August 1991 was the real threat of ethnic separatism. The putsch leaders, who were the leading officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, believed they were saving the Union.

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The 1993 Constitution The 1993 Constitution entrenched the fundamental principle of “the equality of the rights and freedoms of the person and the citizen independently of… race, ethnicity, language…,” and, developing this principle directly forbade any form of “limitation of the rights of the citizen on grounds of social, racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic superiority” (Article 29). Article 26 provided that: “each person has the right to the use of their native language, and to the free choice of the language of communication, upbringing, instruction and creativity.” The Constitution also designated a single state language on the whole territory of the RF. The state language of Russia became the Russian language (Article 68[1])—the language of the most numerous ethnic group in the country (about 80%) and one of the international languages of the world. The realization of the constitutional principle of equal rights and self-­ determination of peoples received its entrenchment in the linguistic sphere in Article 68(2), according to which the (ethnic) republics have the right to determine their own state languages. The Article further provides that these are used in the bodies of state power, the bodies of local government, and state institutions of the republic “side by side with the state language of the Russian Federation.” The Constitution also contained the collective linguistic rights of the other peoples of Russia. All peoples of the RF were guaranteed “the right to preservation of their native language, and to the creation of the conditions for its instruction and development” (Article 68[3]). In all (ethnic) republics except Karelia, the corresponding “titular” languages received legislative status as state languages. There are 34 such languages in the RF. In some republics two or several languages received such a status. The greatest number of state languages is to be found in the Republic of Dagestan, in which there are 13 such languages. The enactment of language legislation in the RF from 1991 represented a genuine step forward. Only the provision in Article 3(6) of the 1991 law “On languages,” forbidding the use of any alphabet other than Cyrillic for languages functioning in the RF, could be described as a violation of international law. It is a problematic aspect of Russian language legislation that a wide range of rights of free choice and use of languages is declared, but their implementation is made difficult in practice by the absence of concrete regulations. Thus, for example, definitions of the rights to the use of their languages by the peoples of Russia are generally qualified in the following ways: “taking into account the local population” (Article 21), “in necessary cases” (Article 16), “in cases of necessity” (Article 15), and so on. This lack of definition is also


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maintained at the (ethnic) republic level of language legislation, which influences practical activity in support of local languages in a negative way. However, Baskakov referred to the “obviously political motivation of the Federal legislation on languages,” the aim of which “in the first instance was not so much the protection and development of languages, but rather the enhancement of the sovereignty of the ethnic subjects (republics) of the Federation, and the raising of the social and political status of their “titular” peoples” (Baskakov 2003). In 1998, a federal law “On amendments and corrections to the Law of the RSFSR ‘On languages of the peoples of the RSFSR’” was enacted. The changes concerned the formulations prescribing the use of the state languages of the (ethnic) republics, which were changed from mandatory requirements to formulations of a permissive character (Articles 12, 13, 16, and 23).

Criticisms from the Council of Europe Adoption of the Constitution in 1993 was followed, also under President Yeltsin, by accession to the Council of Europe in 1996 (Bowring 2013). Russian signed the Council of Europe’s FCNM on 28 February 1996, ratified it on 21 August 1998, and it entered into force on 1 December 1998. I referred above to Russia’s First Report received on 8 March 2000. The AC of the FCNM adopted its Second Report on 11 May 2006.10 Russia’s Third Report under the FCNM was received by the Council of Europe on 9 April 2010.11 A delegation from the AC visited Perm Krai, Tyumen and Moscow Oblasts, as well as the city of Moscow, from 12 to 16 September 2011. In its Third Opinion on the RF, adopted on 24 November 2011, and published on 25 July 2012,12 the AC of the FCNM commented (para 12) that: Since the previous monitoring cycle, there has been no substantial legislative progress in the area of minority protection at federal level. Amendments to the federal education law could lead to fewer opportunities for minority language education. Existing guarantees contained in various federal laws related to, inter alia, minority media, education in and of minority languages, or the use of minority languages, continue to be in need of laws as well as relevant mechanisms at regional level to guarantee their effective implementation. This leaves considerable discretion to the regional authorities and results in different levels of protection at regional level, due to sometimes considerable differences between the various legislative acts in force in the subjects of the Federation.

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The AC added: However, few opportunities exist for access to secondary education in minority languages and the right to take the state examination in a minority language was removed in 2009. Federal legislative provisions concerning minority language education are too broad and often not effectively implemented at local level and there are no guarantees regarding weekly hours of minority language classes or quality standards in the curriculum. Moreover, the ongoing process of “optimisation” of schools has resulted in the closure of various schools with instruction in and of minority languages, even where parents have requested minority language education.

There were detailed critical comments in respect of Article 10 of the Framework Convention, “Use of minority languages in private and in public” (pp. 38–40), and the AC reiterated “… its strong recommendation to the Russian authorities to ensure that the rights contained in Article 10 of the Framework Convention are guaranteed and implemented effectively in all regions.” Russia’s response13 was (p. 3) that “… it should be noted that in most subjects of the Russian Federation the regional authorities pay close attention to these issues, and the existing approaches to the issue of instruction in languages of national minorities are continuously improved” and (p.  6) “According to the 2010 census, an overall number of languages and dialects used in Russia amounts to 277, with 89 languages used in children’s education, 39 of which are used for teaching and 50 are studied as school subjects….” On 20 December 2016, the AC received Russia’s Fourth Cycle Report, which had been due in December 2014. In its previous Reports, the AC had called on Russia to ratify the European Languages Charter, and Russia responded: In accordance with Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 90-рп of 22 February 2001, the Russian Federation signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 10 May 2001 and has considered the possibility to ratify it until now. In order to assess the possibility of implementation of the Charter in the Russian conditions, the joint project “National Minorities in Russia: Development of Languages, Culture, Media and Civil Society” was implemented during 2009–2011 in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the European Commission.


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I was myself an expert in this project, which cost nearly €3 million, and wrote papers and took part in numerous meetings in Moscow and Strasbourg. But Russia is no closer to ratification, and some Russian experts considered that even recognition for the purposes of the Charter of languages other than Russian could pose an existential threat to the integrity of the RF. And it is certain that the issues discussed in this chapter of the future and even survival of minority languages in Russia will be the subject of anxious examination by the AC. On 16–24 October 2017, a delegation of the AC visited Tyumen, Kazan, Krasnodar, Moscow, and Murmansk to evaluate progress made in the monitoring of the protection of national minorities in the RF. This was the fourth visit made by the AC to the RF.14

Developments Under President Putin Following his election in 2000 President Putin on several occasions declared his strong opposition to the bilateral treaties and his determination to bring them to an end. From 2000 onwards, Putin used administrative and judicial pressure to keep politically inconvenient governors and other leaders from seeking re-election. Hashim adds: “Only a few defiant regional leaders, like Republican presidents of donor and ethnic regions such as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, have maintained sufficient autonomy in spite of increased federal intervention in order to strengthen the power vertikal” (Hashim 2005). On 19 December 2012, President Putin signed Decree No. 1666 confirming the new “Strategy of State National15 Policy for the Period to 2025” (hereinafter, the Strategy). The Strategy replaced the “Concept of State National Policy” confirmed by President Yeltsin’s Decree No. 909 of 15 June 1999. On 20 August 2013, by Order No. 718, the Russian government confirmed the Federal Strategic Programme “Strengthening the unity of the Rossian Nation and the Ethnocultural Development of the Peoples of Russia (2014–2020),” intended to implement the Strategy.16 Further insight into government strategy was given by President Putin’s introductory remarks to the meeting of the Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations on 19 February 2013. He insisted that the main task of nationality policy must be to “strengthen harmony and accord” among Russian citizens, so that they will see themselves as “citizens of a single country.”17 He outlined five key concepts of the new policy, the first of which was that the Russian language is “the fundamental basis of the unity of the country.” This was anathema to the leaders of Russia’s ethnic and linguistic minorities and their entrenched territorial autonomies.

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On 1 September 2013, the 1992 law “On Education” was repealed and replaced by the 2012 law “On education in the Russian Federation.” This continued a trend established in amendments of 2007 to reduce the ethnic component in education, with the abolition of the “national cultural component” and the recentralization and standardization of education (Prina 2011). Article 14 stipulates that education is guaranteed in the state language of the Federation, Russian, while the right to choose the language of instruction is provided “within the opportunities offered by the education system.” The same article states that, in schools situated in the (ethnic) republics, the teaching of and instruction in the state languages of the republics “can be introduced”; this, however, must be “in accordance with the federal state education standards” and “should not be to the detriment of the teaching and learning of the state language of the Russian Federation” (Prina 2015). The Ministry of Regional Development, founded just ten years earlier on 13 September 2004, was dissolved on 8 September 2014 by decree of President Putin, and announcing the dissolution,18 Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev said that its functions with respect to economic development, construction, and culture were to be distributed between three ministries: the Economic Development Ministry, the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities, and the Culture Ministry.19 This plainly did not work. On 31 March 2015, by the President’s Decree No.168, a new federal agency was created (Bowring 2017), the Federal Agency for Affairs of Nationalities20 (hereinafter FADN), with the function of realizing state national (ethnic) policy and the implementation of state and federal special purpose (tselevikh) programmes in the sphere of interethnic relations.21 The retired Colonel of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and former Soldier Igor Vyacheslavovich Barinov (of whom more is detailed later) was appointed Head of FADN. FADN’s remit includes “Taking measures directed to the strengthening of the unity of the multiethnic people of the Russian Federation (the Rossian nation), securing interethnic ­agreement, the ethnocultural development of the peoples of the Russian Federation, protection of the rights of national minorities and indigenous small in number peoples of the Russian Federation.” Functions were transferred to the new agency from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Justice of the RF. Mr Barinov,22 who is relatively young (49 years old, born on 22 May 1968), has an unusual background for such an important appointment. He graduated first in 1990 from the Novosibirsk Higher Military and Political All-­ Services College (VVKOU), then in 2003 from the Academy of the FSB, and finally from the Academy of the Economy and State Service in 2011. He is a retired colonel of the FSB (the former Committee for State Security (KGB)).


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His military career was as follows. From 1990 to 1992 he served in the Parachute Division in Vitebsk, in Belarus, and from 1993  in the Regional Section of the Spetsnaz (Galeotti 2015) Forces (Group Alpha) of the regional FSB for Sverdlovsk Oblast and rose to be the commander of the regional group. He fought in the internal armed conflict in North Ossetia and Chechnya and was wounded three times. On 2 April 2015, he was featured in an article in Vzglyad, entitled “I know the Caucasus quite well, its traditions, and elites.”23 That was, indeed, the limit of his knowledge of and engagement with Russia’s vast territory and at least 130 minorities—military service in North Ossetia and Chechnya. On 30 July 2015, Colonel Barinov gave an interview to the daily Kommersant.24 He told the reporters that his first task was to create a system of monitoring of the interethnic situation in the regions of Russia. He emphasized that he proposed to view ethnic policy from the point of view of securing national security. More controversially, he insisted that the “Russian question” could unify the country, if what was meant was the totality of the Russian language, Russian culture, and the role of the Russian (Russkiy) people (not, it should be noted, the Rossian, Rossiiskiy, people), in the history of the country. These developments were summed up by President Vladimir Putin in his address to the Joint Session of the Council for Interethnic Relations and the Council for the Russian Language on 19 May 2015 at the Kremlin.25 The discussion that followed Putin’s introduction highlighted the tensions created by the new policies. Pyotr Tultaev of the Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples of Russia pointed to the severe lack of textbooks and failure to prepare teachers for ethnic languages. Mikhail Khubutiya of the Georgian National Cultural Autonomy used stronger language, asking why schools with an ethnocultural component were being abolished. Ethnic culture was disappearing. Ildar Gilmutdinov of the Tatar National Cultural Autonomy also expressed alarm. Despite the fact that there are 5.5 million Tatars in Russia, 2 million live in Tatarstan, and 3.5 million in other regions of Russia, there are textbooks for Tatar language for primary schools but no textbooks at all for years 5–9. How then, he asked, can the Tatar language be taught in Ulyanovsk Oblast or Mordovia? Furthermore, no teachers were being trained to teach national languages; he gave as an example the Moscow State Pedagogical University, which previously had trained teachers in Tatar language and literature. At the same time, standards of Russian language in Tatarstan were constantly rising.26 The development of language policy has resulted in a number of measures, including some which promise improvement in the legislation on the use of languages of different status. One of these measures was the task of carrying out annual monitoring of the state and development of the languages ​​of

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Russia. The results of the 2015 monitoring confirmed a decrease by 1.6 times (238,900 people) of the number of children taught at school in their mother tongues compared with 2007. According to these statistics, in the 2014–2015 academic year, only 24 state languages of the republics of Russia were used as languages of instruction, and 73 languages of the peoples of Russia were taught as a subject.27 On 29 August 2016, it was announced that FADN had drafted a new state programme “Realisation of state ethnic policy for the period 2017–2025,” costing some 40 billion roubles.28 This would amend the existing federal targeted programme so as to strengthen the Rossiiskiy nation—civic Russian nation.

The Case of the Volga Tatars The Volga Tatars are the most numerous minority in Russia, some 5.5 million strong, with their own republic, Tatarstan. They have proved to be remarkably resilient. As the Golden Horde, they ruled what is now Russia for nearly 250 years from 1237, leaving many indelible legacies in the Russian language (Figes 2002). As a result of the departure of the Golden Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River in 1480, and the conquest of the Khanate of Kazan by Ivan IV in 1552, the Volga Tatars were subjected to Moscow, and in 1783 Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire, and the long tragedy of the Crimean Tatars began. However, in 1787, Catherine II ordered the printing of the Qu’ran and started the process of bringing Russian Islam into the orbit of the State in Ufa in 1788 (Crews 2006). Somehow the Tatar language and Muslim religion survived the changing policies of the Empire, and the Volga Tatars achieved autonomy in the USSR. The “parade of sovereignties” in the last years of the USSR enabled the Republic of Tatarstan to emerge as the most autonomous subject of the RF, refusing to give up the status of its head as President. On 15 December 2015, the State Council of Tatarstan considered the conception of language education which had been drafted by specialists of the Russian Academy of Science and the Pushkin Institute of the Russian Language.29 Particular dissatisfaction was aroused by points concerning teaching of the Russian language in schools of the ethnic republics. In yet another turn of events, Tatarstan had been obliged by 1 January 2016 to cease calling its head “president,” but faced with strong protests, President Putin appeared, in his press conference of 17 December 2015, to have retreated.30 On 17 January 2017, the All-Tatar Public Centre (VTOTs) called on the Tatar legislature and political movements to save the Tatar language and to


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retain in Tatarstan just one state language—Tatar. VTOTs is the oldest Tatar public organization, which came into being at the peak of perestroika, at the end of 1988. Its founding conference was held in February 1989. Its main goal at that time, as well as the rebirth and development of the Tatar language, was the proclamation of Tatarstan as a Union Republic, with the right to secede from the USSR. On the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the Union Republics (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, etc.) became independent states. Tatarstan did not.31 The declaration was published in the national opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and widely reported in  local and national media.32 VTOTs declared that in Tatarstan there are fewer and fewer Tatars who are able to read books and newspapers in Tatar and express their thoughts in their native language. It recalled that 25 years ago the Constitution of Tatarstan consolidated two state languages with equal status in the republic—Russian and Tatar. However, in fact there is presently only one state language—Russian. In all these years the State Council of Tatarstan has not been able to hold even one session in the Tatar language, and in the Kazan City Duma the previous simultaneous translation has ceased. According to the declaration, 699 Tatar schools have closed in Tatarstan, and 4000 in Russia, and Tatar faculties have closed in 2 higher education institutions. It continued: “Is this proposal radical? Perhaps there is another proposal for saving the Tatar language? Is real bilingualism possible in Tatarstan? Let’s think about it!”33 On 31 January 2017, the young political scientist Ildar Garifullin of the Institute of History of the Academy of Science on Tatarstan wrote under the heading: “The last guarantee: how the treaty between Tatarstan and Russia has lost its real substance.”34 According to him it was necessary to look closely not only at the declaration but also at its context. As the VTOTs representatives themselves had admitted, surrounding this question was the fact that in 2017 the treaty between the RF and the Republic of Tatarstan was to run out. This document, along with the post of President of Tatarstan, is the last “splinter” of the epoch of the “parade of sovereignties” of 1990–1991, already so long ago. The existence of this status documents decides very little, as experience has shown. Although the treaty exists de jure, de facto Tatarstan and its rights and possibilities differ very little from other regions of Russia. His conclusion is that the main problem is that in the 1990s there was a powerful national movement, which was ready not only to ensure the legitimacy of the republic itself but also its special status. Now there is no such movement, Garifullin considered. As if to make Garifullin’s point for him, on 5 February 2017, Ildar Gilmutdinov, who represented Tatarstan in the State Duma of the RF, took it

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upon himself to explain the essence of the proposed law on the Rossiiskaya nation.35 Gilmutdinov has a Soviet background in the Komsomol, has been a member of the Duma since 2003, is a member of President Putin’s Party, United Russia, and is Chairman of the Duma Committees on Affairs of Nationalities and of the Accounts Commission.36 He said “I want everyone to calm down. There is no direct decree on creating a unified nation or enacting a federal law on that. Simply the President proposed preparing a ‘normative’ on the unity of the people, on preservation of the culture and the languages of the peoples, living in one country. Now a working group is working on it, and the results will only appear in the summer. But the ‘normative’ does not propose the merger of all peoples into one nation. Here the emphasis is on the formation of a united political nation with the goals of development and strengthening of the country.” Religion has also become an issue. A report published in February 2018 by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow entitled Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity of Russia37 states that while indigenous Muslim nationalities formed 10.4% of the population of the RF in 2010, the percentage may increase to 14.5% in 2030—a rise of almost 50%. The increase will come from the continuing rapid growth of Muslim nations in the North Caucasus rather than from Tatars and Bashkirs whose populations, like those of ethnic Russians, are falling.38 Paul Goble points out that these figures do not include Muslim gastarbeiters from Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. According to some estimates there may be as many as eight million of them, a figure that if true would add nearly 5% to the Muslim total—and thus they significantly understate the share of Muslims in the Russian population now and a decade from now.39 As an indication of what is taking place, on 5 February 2017, Ildar Gilmutdinov expressed his strong opinion on an increasingly controversial issue in Russia, the wearing of the hijab, or head scarf, by school and higher education students.40 He told tatar-inform that today each region of Russia determines for itself the standards for school uniform. If one speaks of school students who wear the hijab, then this is not a tradition of the Tatar people, in his opinion. I already spoke of this previously. Maybe I will be criticised, but for me girls should tie on a Tatar scarf and wear a closed dress. Tatars never wore a hijab.

The issue came to a head when in the neighbouring Republic of Mordovia, girls in the Tatar village of Belozeriye41 were forbidden to wear hijabs, and on 24 January 2016, Olga Vasilieva, the Russian Federation Minister of Education


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and Science, intervened to say that the question had been definitively decided by the Constitutional Court of the RF, banning the wearing of the hijab.42 This met with angry responses from the Head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and the Mufti of Chechnya, Khadzhi Mezhiev, who the following day described it as discrimination.43 The national news aggregator pointed out on 26 January 2016 that the Constitutional Court had never rendered such a decision.

The End of Language Rights? On 20 July 2017, President Putin held another meeting of the Council on Interethnic Relations in Yoshkar-Ola, the capital of the Republic of Mari El.44 The most controversial element of his address was his declaration that all non-­ Russians must learn Russian but that no ethnic Russian must be compelled to learn the language of a republic even if he or she lives in a non-Russian republic—one of the ethnic republics.45 Mr Putin declared that: [t]he Russian language for us is the state language, the language of inter-ethnic communication, and it cannot be replaced by anything else. It is the natural spiritual skeleton of all our multi-national country. Everyone must know it … The languages of the peoples of Russia are also an inalienable aspect of the unique culture of the peoples of Russia.

However, these non-Russian languages are only the languages of the peoples who bear them, so that studying them is “a right guaranteed by the constitution” but it is “a voluntary right” not an obligatory one. “To force someone to study a language which is not his native tongue is impermissible…. [it is] just as impermissible as reducing the level of instruction in Russia. I call on the heads of the regions of the Russian Federation to devote particular attention to this.”46 This dramatic announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by Russian nationalists.47 Equally, Russian ethnic minority media reacted with alarm.48 I mentioned above the special treaty status with the Federation which Tatarstan enjoyed from 1994, with its own laws, tax rules, and citizenship privileges. Tatarstan kept control over its resources and budget and could even participate in international affairs. However, on 24 July 2017, Tatarstan’s agreement with the Federation expired and with it the remains of its special status.49 On 23 August 2017, Professor Midkhat Farukshin, a leading Tatar intellectual, warned that the Kremlin would use the end of the agreement as an occasion to launch a broad new attack on the Tatar language and culture.50

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On 8 October 2017, Colonel Barinov visited Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, and took part in the youth forum “Gold of the Turks.”51 In conversation with the correspondent of “Tatar-Inform,” he spoke about the perspectives for developing a programme for the support and development of ethnic diversity in the RF. In his words, the key factor here was language. However, President Putin had already, on 31 August 2017, following his speech in Yoshkar-Ola on 20 July 2017, ordered a check by prosecutors on continuing compulsory education in the languages other than Russian which are the second official languages of the ethnic republics.52 On 29 November 2017, the Prosecutor-General of Tatarstan, Ildus Nafikov, said children in Tatarstan’s schools will study Tatar for two hours a week on an optional basis and with written parental consent. This contradicted the statement made by the President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, who had said on 8 November 2017 that Tatar language classes would remain mandatory but be scaled back from six hours to two hours per week. Minnikhanov said at the time that the federal authorities in Moscow had agreed with the plan. The change was certain to alarm supporters of the Tatar language who warned that it would violate the republic’s constitution, discourage learning of the language of the indigenous ethnic group, and undermine Tatarstan’s cultural identity. On 21 September 2017, the North Caucasus expert Ramazan Alpaut asked whether the prosecutors would come for the Chechen or Ossetian languages (Alpaut 2017). He warned that after Bashkortostan and Tatarstan it might be the turn of the North Caucasus. He noted that the Caucasian republics also have their own state languages. In this sense, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, and Chechnya are the most interesting. In North Ossetia the prosecutors had already “come” for the Ossetian language. Alpaut concluded by observing that the North Caucasus is witnessing a reduction in the number of speakers of regional languages. A commentator, referring to Tatarstan as Russia’s Catalonia (Galeev 2018), argued that: While the republic’s secular institutions have totally capitulated before the will of Moscow, religious authorities have tried to compensate for their failure, insisting on the wider use of national language, opening free courses of Tatar language and culture in mosques and switching all the preaching in Tatarstan mosques from Russian to the Tatar language.53 Samigullin, the Mutfi, published a declaration54 saying that “Islam as it had been in the hardest times for Tatar people again has to defend the Tatar language…even though the religion is separate from the state it lives in the soul of our people.” He added, “Words pro-


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nounced from the mosques’ minbars have more power than those said from political tribunes.” The muftii’s stubborn persistence reflects one of the main myths of Tatar national history—according to legend, the defense of Kazan during its siege by the Russians in 1552 was organized by imam Kul-Sharif (and not the political leader, the khan, who surrendered to the enemy). The republic’s main mosque in Kazan Kremlin is named after the imam. Now, as in the past, religious leaders may take initiative when the political ones fail to do so.

Conclusion It is much too early to say what consequences will follow from Mr Putin’s July 2017 and his August 2017 instruction to the prosecutors. It was a surprise to many commentators that the Tatar and Bashkir authorities acceded so swiftly and without protest to the new linguistic dispensation. The mass movement for the sovereignty of Tatarstan has significantly receded. It may well be that the Tatar language is fighting a losing battle (Kashin 2017). But it is plain that the question of religious observance, including the wearing of the hijab in schools, has now become more significant than issues concerning culture, language, and traditional Tatar dress. On such matters the Volga Tatars will be in the front line. On 7 May 2018, Mr Putin was once again inaugurated as President for a further six years, after an election on 18 March 2018 in which he faced no real opposition. And on 4 May 2018 the editors of the published an article ( 2018) asking whether FADN will remain an agency or become a ministry, or disappear altogether, in a return to the Soviet model of a special department within the President’s administration. What is certain is that promotion of the Russian language and downgrading of the status of the ethnic republics will remain high on the agenda.

Notes 1. See the chapter “Minority Language Rights and Standards: Definitions and Applications at the Supranational Level” in this collection. 2. Constitution of the Russian Federation 1993: Article 68— 1. The Russian language shall be a state language on the whole territory of the Russian Federation.

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2. The Republics shall have the right to establish their own state languages. In the bodies of state authority and local self-government, state institutions of the Republics they shall be used together with the state language of the Russian Federation. 3. The Russian Federation shall guarantee to all of its peoples the right to preserve their native language and to create conditions for its study and development. 3. Ethnic groups: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9%: nearly 200 national and/or ethnic groups were represented in Russia’s 2010 census (2010 est.). Languages: Russian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1%: data represent native language spoken (2010 est.). 4. “States are required to submit a report containing full information on legislative and other measures taken to comply with the principles of the Framework Convention within one year of the entry into force” web/minorities/fcnm-factsheet 5. ACFC/SR/IV(2016)006, at 6. See the chapter by Federica Prina, David Smith, Judit Molnar Sansum, “National Cultural Autonomy and Linguistic Rights in Central and Eastern Europe,” in this volume. 7. This still appears on the official website of Tatarstan: http://1997-2011. 8. Vestnik of the Constitutional Court of the RF 1993 No. 1, 40–52. 9. 10. 11. ntent?documentId=090000168008b7c3 12. ntent?documentId=090000168008c6a6 13. ntent?documentId=090000168008fa29 14. 15. By “national” is meant “ethnic,” and the two words are used interchangeably in Russian. 16. 17. “Putin on Rossian (Rossiissky) identity and Russian language,” at http://www.


B. Bowring

18. See his meeting with President Putin at and his meeting with the government at 19. “Putin liquidates Regional Development Ministry,” at http://en.itar-tass. com/russia/748551 20. 21. 22. Short biography: “What is Igor Baranov famous for?” at 23. 24. 25. Putin, V. (2015) Address to the Joint Session of the Council for Inter-ethnic Relations and the Council for the Russian Language. Transcript at http:// (accessed on 27 July 2016). Videos of Putin’s address and concluding remarks are also to be found at this address. 26. Ibid. 27. On monitoring (2015). Ob osuschestvlenii monitoring sostoyanija i razvitija jazykov narodov Rossii. (On monitoring of the state and development of the languages of peoples of Russia.) yazikov_narodov_rf_porucheniya_prezidenta_rf_ot_4_iyulya_2015_g_ pr_1310.pdf. Accessed on 25 July 2016. 28. 29. “Are the Tatar Authorities against the Linguistic Unity of Russia?” at http://, and 30. 31. 32.; and see; html;;; 33. 34.; see also Paul Goble “Fate of All Non-Russians Rests on Future of Moscow-Kazan Federative Treaty, Analyst Says” at

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35.'yasnil-sutzakona-o-rossiyskoy-natsii.htm 36. 37. 38. html 39. 40. 41. According to press reports, Belozeriye has become known as the “Mordovian Califate” and is said to be under the control of the FSB. 42. 43. 44.; in English 45. 46. 47.,1,97010-putin-ukazal-na-nedopustimostsokrascheniya-chasov-izucheniya-russkogo-yazyka-v-respublikah-rf.html;;; nelza_998.htm. (Thanks to Paul Goble for these links). 48.;; html. (Thanks to Paul Goble for these links). 49. “Tatarstan, the Last Region to Lose Its Special Status Under Putin: Kazan looks on as a deal granting it special status expires” Moscow Times 25 July 2017 at 50. 51. 52. The instruction was published on the Kremlin website: And see Paul Goble at 53. 54.


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References Alpatov, V. (2000). 150 yazykov i politika. 1917–2000: sotsiolingvisticheskiye problemy SSSR i postsovyetskogo prostranstva [150 Languages and Politics. 1917–2000: Sociolinguistic Problems of the Soviet Union and of the Post-Soviet Space]. Moscow: KRAFT+IJ RAN. Alpatov, V. (2014). Yazykovaya politika v sovremennoi Rossii i mire [Language Policy in the Russian Federation and in the World]. In A. Bitkeyeva & V. Mikhalchenko (Eds.), Yazykovaya politika i yazykovye konflikty v sovremennom mire: Doklady i soobsheniya Mezhdunarodnoy konferentsii [Language Policy and Language Conflicts in the Contemporary World: Papers and Communications of the International Conference] (pp. 80–89). Moscow: Tezaurus. Alpaut, R. (2017, September 21). Pridyot li prokuratura za Chechenskym, Osetinskim i Ingushkim yazykami? (Will the Prokuratura Come for the Chechen, Ossetian and Ingush Languages?). At chechenskim_osetinskim_i-35811/ Balmforth, T. (2017). Another Worrying Sign For Russia’s Dire Demographics Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe at Baskakov, A. (2003). Tyuretskie yazyki: sudby i prikhoty [Turkic Languages: Fates and Whims]. Tatarskiy mir [Tatar World], No 15. At shtml?article=186§ion=&heading= Belikov, V., & Krysin, L. (2001). Sotsiolingvistika [Sociolinguistics] (pp. 332–414). Moscow: Rossijskiy gosudarstvennyi gumanitarnyi Universitet (Russian State Humanities University). Boduen-de-Kurtene, I. (1906). Proyekt osnovnykh polozhenii dlya resheniya polskogo voprosa [Draft Basic Guidelines for the Resolution of the Polish Question] (pp. 12–13). St. Petersburg. Bowring, B. (2007). The Tatars of the Russian Federation and National-Cultural Autonomy: A Contradiction in Terms? In K.  Cordell & D.  Smith (Eds.), The Theory and Practice of Cultural Autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Special Issue of Ethnopolitics, 6(3), 417–435. Bowring, B. (2010). The Russian Constitutional System: Complexity and Asymmetry. In M.  Weller & K.  Nobbs (Eds.), Asymmetric Autonomy and the Settlement of Ethnic Conflicts (pp. 48–74). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Bowring, B. (2012). Russian Legislation in the Area of Minority Rights. In O. Protsyk & B. Harzl (Eds.), Managing Ethnic Diversity in Russia (pp. 15–36). Abingdon: Routledge. Bowring, B. (2013). Law, Rights and Ideology in Russia: Landmarks in the Destiny of a Great Power. Abingdon: Routledge. Bowring, B. (2015). From Empire to Multilateral Player: The Deep Roots of Autonomy in Russia. In T. Malloy & F. Palermo (Eds.), Minorities and Territory: Rethinking Autonomy as a Strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Bowring, B. (2017). National Developments – Russia. Emphasis on Crimea, Russian Language, and National Security. In European Yearbook on Minority Issues. Flensburg: Brill. Bowring, B. (2018, forthcoming). Who Are the “Crimea People” or “People of Crimea”? The Fate of the Crimean Tatars, Russia’s Legal Justification for Annexation, and Pandora’s Box. In Gnatovskyy, Sayapin, & Tsybulenko (Eds.), The Situation in Ukraine Since 2014: jus ad bellum, jus in bello, jus post bellum (pp.21–41). The Hague: T M C Asser Publishers. Council of Europe, First Report of the Russian Federation to the Advisory Committee under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, 8 March 2000, ACFC/SR(1999)015, at minorities/3_FCNMdocs/PDF_1st_SR_RussianFederation_en.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2016. Crews, R. (2006). For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Dorovskikh, E. (1996). Pravo i natsionalniy yazyk: regulirovaniye yazykovykh otnoshenii v Rossiisskoi Federatsii [The Law and National Languages: Regulation of Languages Relations in the Russian Federation]. Moscow: INION. Dowley, K. (1998). Striking the Federal Balance in Russia: Comparative Regional Government Strategies. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 31, 359–363. Drobizheva, L. (1996). Power sharing in the Russian Federation: The view from the center and from the republics. In Preventing deadly conflict: Strategies and ­institution; Proceedings of a conference in Moscow, ed. G. W. Lapidus with S. Tsalik. New York: Carnegie Corporation. Report to the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, Institut vseobshchei istorii (Rossiiskaia akademiya nauk); Stanford University. Center for International Security and Arms Control. New  York: Carnegie Corp., 1998., p.2. Figes, O. (2002). Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (p.  367). London: Allen Lane. Galeev, K. (2018, January 31). Fear and Loathing in Russia’s Catalonia: Moscow Fight Against Federalism at Galeotti, M. (2015). Spetsnaz: Russia’s Special Forces. Oxford: Osprey Publishing details at Golovko, E. (2016). Sovremennaya yazykovaya politika i problema sokhraneniya yazykovogo i kulturnogo raznoobraziya v Rossiskoi Federatsii [Contemporary Language Policy and a Problem of Preserving Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Russian Federation]. In T. Borgoyakova (Ed.), Sokhranenie i razvitie yazykov i kultur korennyh narodov Sibiri: 4 mezhdunarodnaya konferentsiya [Preservation and Development of Siberian Indigenous Languages and Cultures: 4 International Conference] (pp. 9–12). Abakan: KhSU Publishing House. (Abakan, 19–20 May 2016): Doklady i soobsheniya (Abakan 19–20 May 2014: Proceedings).


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Goryacheva, M. (2010). Rossiisskaya Federatsiya: funktsionirovaniye yazykov v sovremennom obrazovatelnom prostranstve [The Russian Federation: Functioning of Languages in the Contemporary Educational Field] (p.  100). Moscow: Noviy khronograf. Hashim, S. (2005). Putin’s Etatization Project and Limits to Democratic Reforms in Russia v.38 Communist and Post-Communist Studies, p. 36. Kashin, O. (2017). The Linguistic Factor: Kazan as the Russian Barcelona 10 November, at Khazanov, A. (1997). Ethnic Nationalism in the Russian Federation. Daedalus, 126, 121–142. Kutafin, O. (2006). Rossiyskaya avtonomiya [Russian Autonomy]. Moscow: Prospekt. Lenin, V. (1914, January 18). Is a Compulsory Official Language Needed? Proletarskaya Pravda, 14(32). Lenin Collected Works (Vol. 20, pp. 71–73). Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. jan/18.htm. Accessed 26 Mar 2015. (2018, May 4). Sudba Minnatsa: byt ili ne byt? Gadaniya kofeinoi gushche o budushchem natsvedomstva [The Future of the Ministry of Nationalities: To Be or Not to Be? Reading the Coffee Grounds on the Future of the Nationalities Department], at Prina, F. (2011). Localism or Centralism? Education Reform in Russia and Its Impact on the Rights of National Minorities. Cambrian Law Review, 42, 113–130. Prina, F. (2015). National Minorities in Putin’s Russia: Diversity and Assimilation. Abingdon: Routledge. Shaimiev, M. (1996a). Opyt vzaimootnoshenii Tatarstana i Rossii (Experience of the Interrelations of Tatarstan and Russia). Panorama-Forum, 6, 1. Shaimiev, M. (1996b). Conflict Prevention and Management: The Significance of Tatarstan’s Experience. In Preventing Deadly Conflict: Strategies and Institutions; Proceedings of a Conference in Moscow, ed. G. W. Lapidus with S. Tsalik. Report to the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, https://www.carnegie. org/media/filer_public/16/e3/16e36da1-2281-4b4a-a6a3-87f727e7d620/ccny_ report_1998_strategies.pdf Tishkov, V. (1997). Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in and After the Soviet Union: The Mind Aflame (p. 56). London: Sage. Umnova, I. (1998). Konstitutsionni osnovy sovremennovo possiiskovo federalizma [The Constitutional Foundations of Contemporary Russian Federalism] (p.  63). Moscow: Dyelo. Vakhtin, N. (2001). Yazyki narodov Severa v XX veke: Ocherki yazykovogo sdviga [Languages of the Peoples of the North in the 20th Century: Essays on Language Shift]. St. Petersburg: Dmitrii Bulavin. Vakhtin, N., & Golovko, E. (2004). Sotsiolinguistika i sotsiologiya yazyka [Sociolinguistic and Sociological Language] (p.  184). St Petersburg: IT “Gumantarnaya Akademiya”, Izdatelstvo Yevropeiskogo universiteta v Sankt-­

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Peterburge. (“Humanitarian Academy”, Publishing House of the European University in St. Petersburg). Yemelianova, G. (2007). The National Identity of the Volga Tatars at the Turn of the 19th Century: Tatarism, Turkism and Islam. Central Asian Survey, 16(4), 543–572. Zamyatin, K., Pasanen, A., & Saarikivi, Y. (2012). Kak i zachem sokhranyat yazyki narodov Rossii? [How and Why Are the Languages of the Peoples of Russia to be Preserved?] (Y. Saarikvi, ed.). Helsinki.

4 Minority Language Governance and Regulation Colin H. Williams and John Walsh

Introduction The last two generations have witnessed a remarkable attempt to reverse the fortunes of selected minority languages within Western liberal democracies.1 The dominant trend in minority language analysis has been to focus on promotional efforts whereby new opportunities are created for speakers to exercise their language of choice in formal education, in the delivery of public services, and in dealings with the central and local state. More recently, ­following the greater specification of language rights and the legislative turn in language management, issues of governance and regulation have received more attention (Williams 2013a; Ahmed 2011; Brezigar 2010). However, as we argue, even when the legislative and public administrative supportive infrastructure is in place, it does not guarantee that the citizen has the full support of the state in respect of minority language use without let or hindrance.

C. H. Williams (*) School of Welsh, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK e-mail: [email protected] J. Walsh School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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Language and Governance Loughlin and Williams (2007) have traced the intellectual origins of the relationship between language and governance, arguing that while government relates to the forms associated with liberal representative democracy, that is, the traditional state, governance involves a much wider set of actors including elected politicians and public officials, official agencies one step removed from government, and various non-elected interest and pressure groups. Earlier works on governance by Kooiman (1993; Rhodes 1997) and on francophone language communities by Cardinal and Hudon (2001) demonstrate the salience of incorporating interest groups and active citizens into the deliberative discussions of policy formulation and implementation (Cardinal and Normand 2013). The main thrust of the argument of governance theorists is that, as society becomes more complex and differentiated, the traditional method of governing from above—government—becomes more difficult. This leads to governance, understood as steering rather than directing, which it is claimed supplements, or at times even replaces, government. Implicit in the arguments promoting governance is the notion of transformation: modes of governing go from simply government to a wider system of governance. Walsh (2012) has elaborated the notion of language policy proposed by Spolsky (2004, 2009) to include language governance. As a consequence of the dominance of neo-liberal discourse, greater attention has been given to the notion of governmentality, of which various adaptations go beyond Foucault’s (1991) original understanding. The Foucauldian concept of governmentality was concerned with how the state exercises control over its citizens and how people are taught to govern themselves, shifting power from a central authority like a state or institution and dispersing it among a population. Self-governing, from this perspective, may be understood as how conduct is shaped, and in the context of this chapter, it has some purchase in interpreting the implications of the rise of the regulatory state for citizen expectations and behaviour. However, a general criticism of this approach is that it relies too much on a top-down perspective within which individuals cannot escape from the hegemony of powerful institutions, and such selfgoverning as is allowed is always partial and incomplete. Governance is allegedly more bottom-up than top-down and involves a partnership between governmental and non-governmental elements of civil society, characterised by the active role of non-elected specialists in influencing, and at times delivering, public policy. We say ‘allegedly’ because the real power to determine large-scale projects rests with the dominant partner, namely, the state and, where relevant, the local state. However, a determined

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and well-organised community can wield influence. A robust example of partnership in action is provided by the investigations undertaken under the auspices of the research team entitled Les Savoirs de la gouvernance communautaire/ Knowledge-based Community Governance2 led by Linda Cardinal at the University of Ottawa, Canada, whose work has demonstrated that the mobilisation of Franco-Ontarian community institutions and networks can have a lasting impact on governmental agencies and the delivery of services (Cardinal et al. 2010; Cardinal and Forgues 2015). Léger (2013, 2015) has detailed how the francophone community has navigated a new pathway in rather difficult circumstances, given the new language regime instituted by successive conservative governments. Normand (2015, 2016) has analysed how the Canadian Federal Official Language Commissioner together with those for New Brunswick and Ontario have managed their dual roles of promoting and regulating French language services and government duties while also educating the francophone community on their rights. The work of the Canadian team has also argued that it is possible to enlarge the definition of governance once a working relationship between government and the target community has been established. Thus, Cardinal et al. (2015) have demonstrated how language roadmaps are best understood as policy instruments and as such constitute the fourth generation of official languages policy in Canada. Their analysis suggests that language roadmaps could serve to regulate and promote particular understandings of official languages. By broadening the conventional approach to language policy and governance, the “Conservative governments have been able to reframe official languages and incorporate them onto their political agenda focused on the economy, jobs and prosperity. Overall, language road maps have become the new norm in the governance of official languages in Canada” (Cardinal 2015: 19). Agency is a central issue, and it is intriguing to speculate if it makes a substantial difference to the outcome whether the official language strategy is formulated by a state government, regional government, a statutory body, or another public body at a slight remove from government. The conventional short answer is that the closer the agency is to the centre of power, the greater the authority it is able to wield and the greater the likelihood there is of an adequate allocation of government resources to fulfil the programme mandate and to discharge the statutory obligations. This is why language activists, and some public servants, in Catalonia and Wales were delighted when the machinery for implementing language policy was directly answerable to the Department of the Presidency and the First Minister, respectively, and less delighted when, following structural reform, the responsibilities of the General Directorate of Linguistic Policy (DGPL) were reassigned to the Catalan Department of Culture, and the Welsh


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Language Unit was made answerable to the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language. In the case of Ireland, a commissioned report for government led by Peadar Ó Flatharta (RIP) as part of the preparation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010–2030 recommended that the initiative be led by a specially created division (Programme Office) of the Department of the Taoiseach (prime minister) (FIONTAR 2009: Section 5). Ultimately, this did not come to pass and was a cause of disappointment for Irish-language activists. The reality is that the quality of the exercise of policy may not have changed one way or another, but the perception of where the language sits in the hierarchy of government priorities remains a vital consideration in the minds of both citizens and public servants alike. We argue later that this conventional interpretation masks a far more complex picture and that the acid test of the effectiveness of policy is not just structural organisation, but the degree of political conviction demonstrated by the responsible political authorities. While the high-level government commitments may be accepted as statements of political intent and policy vision for the language(s) in question, the crunch issue is: how does the body which creates the official language strategy get, and ensure, buy-in, from its own cognate government departments and the public-sector bodies which are easier to regulate than the non-state sector? Three interesting examples of language governance agencies are the Welsh Language Board (WLB), Bòrd na Gàidhlig (Scotland), and Foras na Gaeilge (Ireland; Bord na Gaeilge, prior to 2 December 1999). Created to advise government and to advance corpus and status language planning, the constituent Board officers work to co-create and implement official language policy under the direction of Board members who tend to be public service appointees, not directly elected politicians. The relationship between Boards and government can at times be subject to tension, especially if Board members overstretch their remit or commit government to a course of action to which neither political will nor resources have been directed. Such actions can embarrass government ministers, and political repercussions may follow, especially accusations that the Boards are not sufficiently accountable to the body politic. The more typical virtue of this arrangement is that because the Board members bring a range of skills from varied professional backgrounds, they are better able to innovate and take risks which cautious civil servants would not contemplate; they also act as a point of entrée for community engagement and concerns. Let us illustrate by reference to the WLB.3 A new era in language policy and planning was inaugurated by the passage of the Welsh Language Act 1993 by the UK Parliament, which created a

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statutory WLB and introduced the Welsh Language Scheme as the prime instrument by which the principle of treating English and Welsh on the basis of equality would be realised in the public sector (HMSO 1993, 1997).4 The WLB’s primary goal was to enable the language to become self-­ sustaining and secure as a medium of communication in Wales. It set for itself four priorities: (1) to increase the numbers of Welsh speakers, (2) to provide more opportunities to use the language, (3) to change the habits of language use and encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities provided, and (4) to strengthen Welsh as a community language.5 In charting the difficult course between acting as a promotional and a regulatory agency, the WLB made great strides in creating new opportunities by which Welsh could be used as a matter of course. It directed and funded innovative work in community language planning through the Mentrau Iaith (Language Enterprise Agencies) and Local Action Plans, in intergenerational language transmission through the TWF (‘Growth’) project which encourages parents to raise their children bilingually, in information technology (IT) and software development, and in promoting Welsh in the private and voluntary sectors.6 By 2012, the WLB had approved 546 language schemes which detailed the manner in which Welsh-medium services would be delivered by institutions and organisations covering most of public life and with a fair representation in the private and voluntary sector. The WLB has been criticised for operating within a largely neo-liberal model of intervention and for not recognising that top-down planning does not necessarily induce the desired behavioural change (Williams and Morris 2000). Further difficulties resulted from the WLB being one step removed from government, which hampered the operation of the Board, as since 2004, it had been threatened with abolition as part of a cull of the quangos by the Government of Wales (Morgan 2004; Williams 2009). The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 abolished the WLB, transferred many of its functions to an enlarged Welsh Language Unit within the Government of Wales, established a Welsh Language Commissioner (operative since April 2012), and signalled that language schemes were to be phased out and replaced by language standards (Williams 2013b). These developments constitute significant reforms to the administration of public life and to Welsh law, and the establishment of a Language Commissioner, in particular, has added a powerful regulatory agency to the suite of bodies concerned with the promotion and protection of citizen rights. The Better Regulation Delivery Office’s survey of the regulatory landscape in Wales demonstrates the salience of UK and Welsh government policy as drivers affecting regulation (BRDO 2013). Given the devolved nature of Welsh public life, the analysis shows that “the system is


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complicated due to the sheer number of policy interests, the fact that delivery happens both locally and nationally and that the legislative environment encompasses the EU, UK and Wales” (BRDO 2013, p. 3). Having only been established on 1 April 2012, the Welsh Language Commissioner is a relatively recent, if potentially robust, addition to the regulatory landscape. Discussions on the merits of a regulator as distinct from a commissioner are to be found in Williams (2007); those on the various characteristics of language Ombudsmen, Commissioners, and Regulators in Carlin et al. (2015); while an account of the first years of the Welsh Language Commissioner is provided by Mac Giolla Chríost (2016). In the spring of 2017, the Welsh Government called for evidence to improve the current ­system, and a submission made by Mac Giolla Chríost et al. (2017) outlined alternative institutional arrangements by which the functions of a Language Commissioner could be discharged. The then Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh, Alun Davies, reported that many of the responses received to a call for evidence on the operation of the regulatory system argued that the bureaucracy surrounding the Welsh Language Standards was far too cumbersome (Welsh Government 2017a, b, c; Wales Online 2017). The 504 responses to the call for evidence were varied but tended to favour greater clarity in the system as to the precise and distinctive roles of both the Welsh Language Commissioner and the Welsh Government; these roles, however, were reconfigured following the passage of the Welsh Language Bill (Welsh Government 2017d). The 2017 White Paper, Striking the right balance: proposals for a Welsh Language Bill, includes the following suggestions: • Establishing a Welsh Language Commission to organise and coordinate work to promote the Welsh language across all parts of Wales. • Making it clearer to people, public bodies, and businesses who they can turn to if they want to develop their use of the Welsh language. • Giving greater clarity for Welsh speakers as to which services bodies must provide in Welsh and to work to increase the use of those services. • Helping bodies develop their capacity to deliver services in Welsh. • Streamlining the processes involved in making and imposing Welsh Language Standards and removing the bureaucracy involved in handling complaints of bodies’ non-compliance with standards to ensure people receive a quick remedy. • Setting out the Welsh Government as responsible for imposing standards on bodies through regulations and compliance notices and the Welsh Language Commission as responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the standards.

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• Removing the restrictions in the current legislation so standards could be placed on any body, so long as it is within the Assembly’s power to do so (Welsh Government 2017d). In January 2018, Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh, published a written statement together with the full disclosure of the responses received and argued that the report on the White Paper proposals showed “that, with the exception of one question relating to the frequency with which the Welsh Government reports to the Assembly on our Welsh language strategy, our proposals were supported by those who responded to the consultation” (Welsh Government 2018). The major proposal is the absorption of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s functions into a new Commission, a body with both promotional and regulatory functions.7 Such an integrated agency would bring matters ‘in house’, and demonstrate the government’s commitment to being wholly responsible for matters relating to the Welsh language (Williams 2017). It is anticipated that the proposed Bill would be scrutinised by the National Assembly in late Autumn 2018 and should it be largely accepted that the new language regime would be operational towards the end of 2019. However, should a change of political climate or a government with a different agenda be elected on 6 May 2021, then the virtues of a dedicated, independent agency with a detailed brief could trump the current proposals and act as a bulwark against the emasculation or incorporation of the Commissioner’s functions. Such reforms have to be set within the broader legislative landscape and the maturation of the Welsh Assembly as a political chamber which has been transformed from a secondary to a primary legislative body. Section 107 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 gave the Assembly the power to make Acts, while Part IV of the 2011 Referendum gave the Assembly the power to make Acts in specific areas and enshrined the ‘conferred powers’ model. This mode of operating was further changed by the revised Wales Bill (2016), which strengthened Welsh devolution within the UK Constitution. It has instituted a ‘reserved powers’ model for the Assembly more akin to the Scottish and Northern Irish settlement. The consequence for such reforms in terms of language policy is that for the first time in Welsh history, it is the Welsh Government which is squarely responsible for the future of the Welsh language in terms of education, community development, planning, legislation, and public administration. Governance of the language now foregrounds direct government action on behalf of the language. However, while the regulatory system in Wales may occasion structural tensions and appear overly complicated, in several other jurisdictions the salience of a Language


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Commissioner as part of the governance framework is well established and has led to the formation of an international network which is examined below.8

The Role of Language Commissioners One direct consequence of the growth of the regulatory state has been the establishment of a suite of commissioners covering a wide variety of fields such as parliamentary conduct, children’s welfare, the police service, information, and official languages. The longest established office of Language Commissioner is that of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) based in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, which was established by the Official Languages Act 1969. More recently, Language Commissioners have been established in Ireland, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nunavut, and Wales, while equivalent bodies who have some responsibility for the investigation of breaches of language obligations exist in Catalonia, Finland, Kosovo, Flanders, South Africa, and elsewhere (Williams and Ó Flatharta 2012). Below we examine the contribution of the IALC, while here we describe the mandate and role of the Canadian Official Languages Commissioner and his office at OCOL as the example of best practice in the field. The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada is an agent of Parliament appointed by commission for a seven-year term. The Commissioner reports directly to Parliament and is supported by OCOL. The mandate, set out in Section 56 of the Official Languages Act, requires the Commissioner to (1) ensure the equality of English and French in Parliament, the Government of Canada, the federal administration, and the institutions subject to the Official Languages Act; (2) support the preservation and development of official language of minority communities in Canada; and (3) promote the equality of English and French in Canadian society.9 The Commissioner discharges a number of roles. As an Ombudsman, the Commissioner receives and reviews complaints and, where necessary, conducts investigations which relate to the right of any member of the public to use English or French to communicate with and receive services from federal institutions; the right of federal public service employees to work in the official language of their choice in designated regions; the right of all Canadians to equal opportunities for employment and advancement in federal institutions; the development and vitality of Canada’s official language minority communities; and the promotion of linguistic duality in Canadian society. As an auditor, the Commissioner conducts audits to measure federal institutions’ and other organisations’ compliance with the Official Languages Act and makes recommendations. In adopting a liaison role, the Commissioner partners

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with an official languages network to ascertain the concerns of communities, make relevant recommendations, and intervene judiciously in major official languages issues. In a monitoring role, the Commissioner may act pre-­ emptively by intervening at the stage where laws, regulations, and policies are developed to ensure that language rights are upheld. The Commissioner may also appear before the courts in any proceeding related to the status or use of English or French. The Commissioner has developed a promotional and educational role principally in raising awareness of the benefits of linguistic duality and by creating educational tools, commissioning research, and speaking to a wide variety of audiences. Finally, the Commissioner has a reporting responsibility as an annual report is submitted to Parliament that addresses current issues, findings, and recommendations. Clearly, the Commissioner operates within a context which relies on several other agencies to discharge their responsibilities with respect to official languages, among which are the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Canadian Heritage, Department of Justice Canada, Public Service Commission of Canada, and Canada School of Public Service, several of whose annual reports are monitored by the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages. OCOL is by far the largest and best developed model of a Language Commissioner; all the other more recent Language Commissioners have a much smaller staff complement, and some face real difficulty in fulfilling their mandates. Taken together, the various types of Language Commissioner face broadly similar issues and challenges. Their collective contribution to the regulatory landscape would be enhanced were additional detailed work undertaken on the following issues as raised by Williams (2013c). 1 . The value of a comparative perspective on Language Commissioners. 2. The interpretation of the differing, if at times overlapping, roles of Regulator, Ombudsman, and Commissioner. 3. The transfer of best practice as regards the investigation of complaints and the adoption of audits and report cards to evaluate the performance of government departments. 4. The role of standards as a new element in language legislation, policy, and implementation. 5. The relationship between the powers of various Language Commissioners and the Courts System. 6. The influence of language regulation on aspects of constitutional change in jurisdictions such as Canada, Ireland, Spain, the Republic of South Africa, and the UK.


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 he International Association of Language T Commissioners The most significant development in the field of language governance and regulation has been the establishment of a new, potentially influential international actor, the IALC, in Dublin in 2013.10 This occasion provided opportunities for the first formal meeting of Language Commissioners to enable them to showcase their role before a mixed audience of politicians, public servants, diplomats, academics, and representatives of the media.11 The dominant theme was the desire of Language Commissioners to encourage key agencies within the various jurisdictions to partner them in achieving the common aims of language promotion and protection.12 At the end of the meeting, representatives established the IALC and confirmed a common set of association aims and rules of engagement. Colin H. Williams, acting as the Conference Rapporteur, raised a number of crucial themes which would animate the future discussions of the IALC.  They are as follows: how are language rights articulated in practice? How may the effectiveness of Language Commissioners be measured? Where does power reside? How is influence diffused? What is the role of Supreme Courts and the legal system? While these are significant issues, there are broad gaps in our knowledge and understanding as to how these questions play out in particular IALC member jurisdictions, such as the Republic of South Africa and Kosovo. In addition, we recognise that it is difficult to measure and interpret the impact of IALC members and would argue that such tasks remain an urgent priority. Williams further argued that several essential issues had received less emphasis than they ought to and that future meetings and interchanges could focus on at least four elements which impacted on the world of Language Commissioners and the implementation of language rights, namely, the ­political context; economic imperatives; the world of work; and the bundle of issues which fell under skills, science, technology, and leisure (Williams 2013c). In a ‘Where Next?’ section, he argued that it would be advisable to formalise and detail how the international network of Language Commissioners and regulatory bodies should be regularised, which evolved into the preparation of a constitution for the IALC, whose discussions were led by Sean Ó Cuirreáin, (Ireland), Graham Fraser (Canada), and Pär Stenbäck (Finland). He also advised that the IALC should liaise with other international organisations so that it did not remain isolated but form part of a family of international agencies devoted to broader language issues, while upholding their

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compliance and Ombudsman functions. To avoid the tendency of being solely concerned with complaint handling, the regulation of statutory public service provision, and interaction with politicians, state committees, public servants, and the courts, he argued that members of the IALC should also give due attention to hitherto neglected elements of the formation of official language policy. These would include the potential to influence the professional discussion and discourse on official language regulation and stimulate a greater awareness of public involvement and buy-in to official language policy and the suite of language rights, together with articulating the role of civil society in mobilising pressure on improving the implementation of language rights and services. The inaugural conference of the IALC13 held in Barcelona, March 2014, focused on ‘Language Rights’ and was organised by Rafael Ribó, the Catalan Ombudsman, Sindic de Gruegs. Here, the emphasis was on the changes which pluralism and globalisation wrought on minority language education and the impact of the various Commissioners’ investigations on the delivery of public services in designated jurisdictions.14 The second IALC conference “Protecting Language Rights|Promoting Linguistic Pluralism” was held on 20–21 May 2015 in Ottawa, Canada, and organised by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute of the University of Ottawa, together with the OCOL. This meeting saw a wider range of Commissioners making presentations and was programmed to allow representatives from various Canadian federal and provincial government departments to reflect on their reaction to, and implementation of, the Official Language Commissioner’s and other Commissioners’ recommendations. This was a strategically crucial decision, for it allowed the audience to gauge how the respective duties, responsibilities, working cultures, ideas, and norms of Commissioners and senior civil servants related one to the other.15 The central themes of the conference were strategies and resources; measurement and evaluation; action and implementation; setting goals and changing behaviour; dialogue and communicating; post-conflict reconciliation; partnership and development; revitalising indigenous vitality; and international actors: mandate, goals, resources, and impact. What general lessons may be gleaned from the experience of the Language Commissioners gathered in Ottawa?16 The first is that context is all important, for political pressure is a constant. The second is that strategic decision-­ making and challenges are an important part of the mandate. When to intervene in a case, whether in respect of a court challenge or a departmental omission, can have both immediate and long-term implications. Are challenges to ministerial authority a calculated gamble or a statutory obligation


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determined by the evidence-based logic? What are the long-term consequences of such challenges to the Commissioner’s standing, independence, and credibility? Government reaction to constant criticism can result in financial and resource pressure which can lead to capacity stresses, to risk-averse behaviour, and to atrophy within the Commissioner’s office. But it can also force a rethink of the core mandate of the Commissioner and a re-evaluation of where Language Commissioners fit into the regulatory landscape. Language Commissioners are but one type in a growing family of regulatory agencies and actors, but the clear warning is that the growth of the regulatory state should not overshadow the vital promotional efforts of language activists and agencies. For the more established offices, it is evident that a Language Commissioner’s role changes over time. Thus, the question may be asked: how responsive are they to new challenges? This suggests that a great deal of internal evaluation and constant capacity-building and training is required by a Commissioner’s staff. Were this to be accomplished, then it would be more feasible to formulate professional benchmarks whose evaluation would enable a degree of impact assessment across the sector to be undertaken. We argue that one of the great virtues of membership of the IALC is that the combined efforts to produce best practice tools and instruments could be employed to make the Commissioner’s monitoring and interventions more effective both in public administrative/service delivery terms and in legal challenges to a Commissioner’s decision. This in turn would allow for a greater degree of evaluation as to the structural impact of any particular Commissioner’s actions and term of office. Enhancing capacity would also require a roadmap for action. This would involve consistent and regular data collection and the development of a range of evaluative techniques and practices to share among members. Outcome-­based approaches would require that the IALC develop techniques to evaluate changes in actual individual and institutional behaviour so that impact and success can be measured in a consistent manner. The same consistency is required in respect of supporting evidence and interpretation of policy, but precisely whose evidence and which policy might Commissioners most effectively influence by their recommendations, interventions, and challenges is a subject which requires sound judgement and strategic/political acumen. In turn, it would be advisable to devise a different set of measures by which the internal work and not just the external impact of Language Commissioners may be evaluated. One element of this which would be especially useful for newly established Language Commissioners would be the preparation of

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training and evaluation packages so that worked examples, guidelines, and best practices can be shared among members of the IALC. After several successful conferences which have showcased the work of Language Commissioners and the response of the principal government departments charged with implementing language rights and obligations, it is reasonable to ask where is the IALC headed. Given his concern for identifying possible future impact, Williams (2015) identified four areas of future work and projects that the family of Ombudsmen and Commissioners could initiate. The first requires systematic investigation to ascertain what powers, roles, tools, processes, and types of impact and interaction serve the responsibilities of Language Commissioners best. He argued that it was now time to conduct an audit on the impact of the various Language Commissioners to ascertain to what extent they are part of the mainstream or a tolerated sideshow in selected jurisdictions. It was also his conviction that the ‘regulatory state’—the prime legal and administrative context as characterised by Prosser et al. (2010)—also needs systematic investigation so that abuses of power or mission creep do not cloud or mask the core functions of the Ombudsmen and Commissioners. A third area of attention is an examination as to how international law plays out and influences the duties and actions of Language Commissioners in specific jurisdictions. A fourth area is a focus on the potential which Language Commissioners have in playing a useful role in post-conflict accommodation and reconciliation. There was sufficient evidence in the 2015 Ottawa conference to demonstrate the relevance of the idea of inaugurating a systematic regulatory agency in selected cases, but as both Sri Lanka and Kosovo made clear, without the supporting infrastructure and capacity to implement the recommendations of the Commissioner, language rights were more often than not a constitutional provision rather than a daily lived reality for so many citizens. A mature, well-­ regulated framework, such as currently exists in Switzerland, shows the added value and the advantages of linguistic skills, enables citizens and the state to understand their economic value, and can reinforce ‘national cohesion’. Clearly, it is recognised that the Swiss experience may well lie at one end of the continuum, while contexts such as Kosovo, Eritrea, Iran, and South Sudan lie at the opposing end, but it was indeed argued that part of the justification for the IALC is to have an impact within those targeted jurisdictions which have most to learn and gain from the transfer of sound ideas and best practices from mature, stable liberal democracies as represented by Switzerland and Canada. Several of these proposals made in Ottawa formed the basis of recommendations adopted at a private meeting of the IALC’s Language Commissioner


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members on 7 March 2016 in Galway.17 In his role as Conference Rapporteur, Williams (2016) outlined a series of key questions which relate to the performance and interaction of Language Commissioners with systems of governance and official language communities, namely: (a) How is the effectiveness of Language Commissioners measured? What instruments can be developed to assess this and is there a role for the IALC in this, or is it up to individual commissioners? (b) What does the existence of commissioners tell us about systems of language governance? How do they aid our understanding of governance as a theory? (c) How do we understand the work of commissioners for specific indigenous minority languages in increasingly pluralistic and globalised societies? (d) How do commissioners interact with dominant majority populations who do not necessarily speak the minority language but whose support for change is crucial? A pressing current issue is how the IALC interprets the discourse, strategy, and potential for enhancing language vitality by examining the relationship between majorities and new speakers. If growth is to be anticipated within the various systems represented within the IALC, then surely it is from ‘new speakers’ among the pluralist, often hegemonic majority population that such growth is to be garnered, as illustrated by O’Rourke et al. (2015).18

Case Study of Irish Although the new Irish state in 1922 declared that Irish was to be maintained as the community language in its heartland, the Gaeltacht, and revived elsewhere as the general means of communication, no Irish government has ever adopted a vigorous approach to achieving those aims. On the one hand, Irish is constitutionally both the ‘national’ and the ‘first official’ language of the state, and all children are obliged to study it for an average of 14 years at school. On the other hand, however, the principal legislation governing the delivery of services, the Official Languages Act (OLA) 2003, is weak by international standards, and Irish speakers have very limited rights to such services even if they are located in the Gaeltacht. Irish is mentioned in over 150 other pieces of legislation, revealing a complex and uneven framework of mostly limited or symbolic protection for the language with a notable restriction of language policy in

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recent decades (Walsh 2017). A recent policy initiative, the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, has been weakened by subsequent government decisions to undermine or dilute various policy supports for Irish, including the failure to enact a revised and strengthened OLA (Government of Ireland 2010). While the overt policy of the pre-eminence of Irish persists in a constitutional sense and is reflected in aspects of public discourse, the covert state policy continues to promote the overwhelming dominance of English, and Irish is treated as a minority concern of little practical importance to the work of government. The problematic position of Irish as simultaneously national, first official, and minority language has been discussed by various authors in the fields of law and sociolinguistics (e.g. Ó Conaill 2009; Nic Shuibhne 1999, 2000; Ó Giollagáin 2014). While establishing a statutory basis for public services in Irish for the first time since the foundation of the state, the OLA itself can be seen as reflecting slippage from an ideology of a national language deserving robust promotion to one of a minority language merely tolerated on the margins (Walsh 2015). The legislation, which aims to increase gradually the level of public services offered in Irish from virtually zero at the time of enactment, encompasses more than 650 public bodies ranging from government departments to local authorities and semi-state companies covering all aspects of life. It creates three categories of obligation: (1) direct obligations covering a limited range of publications and correspondence with the public (Section 9(2) and (3) and Section 10); (2) obligations based on ministerial regulations, related mostly to signage and oral announcements (Section 9(1)); and (3) obligations based on language schemes, internal language plans outlining how public bodies will increase services in Irish (Sections 11–18). Each language scheme is agreed between the public body and the Minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, and its implementation is then monitored by the Commissioner. Every scheme lasts for three years and is supposed to be replaced by another scheme guaranteeing additional services in Irish, thereby ensuring a cumulative improvement in services over time. There are limited requirements related to the language competence of public bodies serving the Gaeltacht but only as part of language schemes (Section 13(2)), and there is no obligation on the state to make Irish its primary language when dealing with Gaeltacht residents. Only a limited number of unambiguous rights are conferred on Irish speakers in relation to use of Irish in the Oireachtas (parliament) and the courts (Sections 6 and 8), and for the most part, the success of the legislation is dependent on the extent to which public bodies comply with their obligations. At the time of writing, a review of the Act was underway and Heads of a revised Bill (the outline of the new


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legislation) had been accepted by government (Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht 2017).

Language Commissioner The office of An Coimisinéir Teanga (Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla)19 was established on foot of the 2003 Act as an independent body with both regulatory and promotional functions in relation to this and other legislation. The current Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill (since 2013), oversees a small team in offices in the Galway Gaeltacht. The Commissioner’s functions and powers and the manner in which he or she will conduct investigations are described in Part 4 of the Act. Section 21 outlines the Commissioner’s six functions, which may be summarised as follows: (1) to monitor how public bodies comply with the Act, (2) to take all measures within his or her authority to ensure compliance by public bodies; (3) to investigate complaints related to failures by public bodies to comply with the Act; (4) to provide advice or assistance to the public regarding their rights under the Act; (5) to provide advice or assistance to public bodies regarding their obligations under the Act; and (6) to investigate complaints related to failures by public bodies to comply with any other enactment regarding the status or use of an official language. More than 150 pieces of legislation other than the OLA are covered by subsection (6), a small number of which have far-reaching implications for language policy in fields such as education and broadcasting (Walsh 2017). The time devoted to the advisory and compliance functions is roughly equal, although a stronger emphasis in recent years on the duties of public bodies (under Article 21 (e)) has led to an increase in the number of cases where advice is offered (Ó Domhnaill 2016, personal communication). The Commissioner’s powers are outlined in Section 22. Under this section, he or she may require that any person possessing information or records relevant to one of the Commissioner’s functions to appear before him or her and that such a person must comply. Anyone who fails to do so or “who hinders or obstructs the Commissioner in the performance of his or her functions shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both” (Section 22(4)). The Commissioner may bring proceedings under this section on himself or herself. No Commissioner has yet used this power, although it is occasionally necessary to remind public bodies of its existence (Ó Domhnaill 2016, personal communication). The

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Commissioner may also compensate any person who has appeared before him or her. Sections 23–25 are largely procedural and describe how the Commissioner will proceed if he or she proposes to carry out an investigation into a complaint that a public body has failed to comply with the Act. Section 26 relates to findings pursuant to an investigation and states that the Commissioner will issue to the public body, the minister and, if relevant, the complainant, a written report and recommendations as appropriate. If the Commissioner decides that the public body has not implemented the recommendations, he or she may report that failure to the Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament). By 2018, this power had been used on seven occasions since the establishment of the Commissioner’s office. Section 27 allows the Commissioner to establish a scheme of compensation under which a public body would pay a sum of money to any person affected by the failure of such body to comply with the OLA, although subsection (2) restricts such compensation to investigations made under the OLA only and not under other enactments related to Irish. Section 28 states that any party to an investigation of the Commissioner may appeal the findings and recommendations of an investigation to the High Court on a point of law within four weeks of the report’s issue. Of the more than 100 investigations conducted since 2004, this has occurred on only one occasion, in the case of the Revenue Commissioners. The High Court rejected the appeal. Section 29 allows the Commissioner to publish commentaries on the application of the Act, and Section 30 provides that he or she will publish a yearly report for the Minister on his or her activities. Such a report will be placed before the Houses of the Oireachtas. This section also allows the Commissioner to publish reports on any investigation or other function. So far two such commentaries have been published, a review of the Act and its weaknesses (2011) and an analysis of language schemes (2017; see below).

Implementation of Legislation The period from 2003 to 2008 can be characterised as one of gradual implementation of the legislation and bedding down of the apparatus to implement it. From 2008 onwards, increasing attention has been paid to the deficiencies of the OLA, particularly in relation to language schemes. Such criticism came to a head with the resignation of former Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin in 2013. This section examines both phases and looks at the changing discourse


C. H. Williams and J. Walsh

over time from a focus on implementing the existing legislation to greater criticism of its shortcomings. The OLA was not fully in place until 2008 when the Minister made regulations covering recorded oral announcements and signage erected by public bodies under Section 9 (1). The initial years of Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s tenure were characterised more by the promotional aspects of his functions, given the paucity of language schemes that had been ratified. Therefore, the early reports from 2004 to 2005 dealt largely with the provision of advice to public bodies on their obligations and to citizens on their rights in relation to the legislation. As not all provisions were in place, the Commissioner frequently attempted to resolve complaints by appealing to the ‘spirit’ of the legislation in his dealings with public bodies, on the basis that they would soon have to adjust to the full extent of the Act’s powers (see, for instance, An Coimisinéir Teanga 2005: 34). By the end of 2006, 43 schemes were in place, covering 71 public bodies. An analysis of the schemes during this period categorised them into (1) national bodies without a specific Gaeltacht remit and (2) those with a specific link to the Gaeltacht. It found that the first category of schemes envisaged only very minimal provision of services but that the second category at least had the potential to create employment for Irish speakers in the bodies in question (Walsh and McLeod 2008). However, the study also identified a number of problems with the schemes related to (1) competence of front-line staff in Irish, (2) emphasis on written rather than oral communication, (3) recruitment of Irish-speaking staff, and (4) stimulation of demand for services (2008: 31). As we see below, ten years later these concerns have only worsened. In his annual reports from 2008 onwards, Seán Ó Cuirreáin expressed concern about the slow institutionalisation of the system of language schemes which, as the principal measure to provide Irish language services, were supposedly at the heart of the legislation (see, for instance, An Coimisinéir Teanga 2008: 27; 2009: 7; 2010: 7). In 2011, of the 105 schemes which had been ratified by the Minister, 66 of them had expired. About 20 per cent of the schemes had expired for more than three years and another 20 per cent by two years. Twenty-eight public bodies had been asked to prepare a draft scheme by the Minister, but by 2011, these had still not been ratified, and the delay was more than five years in the case of ten bodies. The Commissioner was strongly critical of the situation (2011b: 6). An analysis of the beliefs and ideologies associated with the schemes ratified in 2007 uncovered a number of key ideological stances that were deemed to undermine their effectiveness in enhancing the delivery of services in

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Irish. There was widespread reliance on a training policy of teaching existing staff a minimal amount of Irish rather than recruiting fully bilingual staff, despite the limitations of such an approach to serve fluent Irish speakers. Furthermore, the schemes revealed the belief that there was little public demand for Irish and that services would only be made available when requested rather than on the basis of the Canadian system of ‘active offer’. An overarching ideology of the cúpla focal (the few words of Irish) was dominant if implicit in the schemes, meaning that for the public bodies concerned, a very limited service in Irish was deemed adequate to fulfil their statutory obligations. This is reflective of a widespread, if largely undocumented, ideology in Ireland that a tokenistic display of Irish will suffice in all cases, whereas those who had campaigned for the OLA wanted legislation that would guarantee a comprehensive level of state services in Irish. The Act was supposed to overcome such a limited position for Irish, but through its reliance on minimalist language schemes, it has in fact institutionalised it (Walsh 2012). In a detailed analysis of the OLA in 2011, published under Article 29, Seán Ó Cuirreáin recommended that public bodies be categorised according to “their range of functions and their level of interaction with the public in general, including the Irish language and Gaeltacht communities, and that the level of service provided in Irish should depend on that classification.” The language schemes should be replaced by a system of language ‘standards’ based on statutory regulations, such as in Wales. He also recommended that services be made available in Irish on a statutory basis in the Gaeltacht and called for a new system of training and recruitment in order to deal with the lack of staff competent in Irish, which he described as “the most fundamental difficulty with the provision of state services through Irish” (An Coimisinéir Teanga 2011a: 3–4).

Review of the Official Languages Act In the autumn of 2011, the government announced a review of the OLA, in line with a commitment made during the general election the previous spring. A short time later, and in the absence of any meaningful progress with the review, the government announced that the Commissioner’s office was to be merged with that of the Ombudsman, ostensibly as an economic measure in response to the financial crisis. Following a public outcry, that decision was dropped but two years later, when the review of the Act had still not been published, Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned in protest at government inaction over


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the legislation and Irish language policy in general (Walsh 2015). The Heads of Official Languages (Amendment) Bill was finally published in 2014 but was strongly criticised by Irish-language organisations as failing to deal with the main deficiencies of the existing legislation. In 2017, following more campaigning by Irish-language groups, revised Heads of Bill were accepted by government. Among the proposed amendments were the replacement of the system of schemes with language ‘standards’, a provision dealing with names and addresses in Irish, and, critically, measures to increase the proportion of new recruits to the public service who are Irish speakers to 20 per cent and to ensure that public offices in the Gaeltacht operate through Irish (Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht 2017). Several years after the government promised to conduct a review, the OLA remains at crossroads. The legislation that civil society activists hoped would create a framework for the provision of state services in Irish has had only limited success. More public services in Irish are available now than in 2003, and the Commissioner’s annual reports indicate that there is greater awareness among public bodies in general of their direct obligations under the Act. However, the ongoing problems with language schemes are reflected in the fact that over one-third of all complaints received in 2015 related to non-­compliance with a provision of a scheme. A second commentary on the Act, based on a detailed analysis of 40 language schemes ratified in 2015 and 2016, concluded that the system was failing to achieve its stated objective. Commissioner Rónán Ó Domhnaill found that there were significant delays—an average of three and a half years—between the time when a public body was requested by the Minister to prepare a scheme and the date when the scheme came into effect, with delays as long as nine years in some cases. The Commissioner also noted a problem of ‘regressive modifications of commitments’ in subsequent language schemes: instead of enhancing services in Irish, only a small minority of the second- and third-language schemes agreed in 2015 and 2016 contained a significant improvement to services. In almost two-thirds of the schemes investigated, a commitment which was the subject of an investigation by the Commissioner was diluted or removed in a subsequent scheme, a situation described as ‘extremely unsatisfactory’ and confirmation of the “dysfunctional nature of the system” (An Coimisinéir Teanga 2017: 6). It remains to be seen what will transpire from the review of the legislation, but it appears that there is now a consensus that language schemes are to be phased out. Overall, the development of the OLA has been stymied by the failure of successive governments to see through the legislative process that would bring about a new Act as promised in 2011. There is ample evidence of the low

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political prioritisation of Irish in the governmental agenda, ranging from weak implementation of the 20-Year Strategy to the sluggish progress of the legislative review. For instance, the placing of ‘Gaeltacht’ at the end of the title of the Department for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht is not a coincidence and reflects the physical location of the Gaeltacht division in Connemara, far removed from the locus of power in Dublin. Former Minister Heather Humphreys (2014–2017) was criticised on numerous occasions for failing to engage with Irish-language organisations since her appointment, and the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, had limited competence in Irish when appointed although he improved with effort over time. The dominant ideological backdrop is that of a centre-right government with a neo-­ liberal hue and without any particular interest in Irish beyond its limited referential function as a symbol of Irishness. This position, reflected in the widespread cúpla focal ideology, undermines policy initiatives which are aimed ostensibly at serving fluent Irish speakers rather than those who wish to use a little Irish in order to satisfy a desire to mark their identity in a symbolic fashion. Therefore, although technically most of the population is “in favour of Irish” (e.g. see Ó Riagáin 1997, 2008; Darmody and Daly 2015), the Commissioner’s core constituency is a much smaller but vocal minority of habitual Irish speakers who wish to live their lives through Irish as much as is possible. Such a constituency agitated for the legislation in the first place, as they had done on numerous previous occasions when civil society campaigns brought about important Irishlanguage institutions such as Irish-language radio and television stations. It is important to point out that such initiatives, ranging from the media to the OLA itself, did not come about due to proactive measures by the state but in response to persistent and dogged pressure from civil society. The oppositional pressures of official but reluctant state recognition and civil society agitation are among the ‘multilevel influences’ that have to be managed by the Commissioner, as pointed out at the Galway meeting of the IALC (see above). The 2016 Census returns for Irish showed a decline, for the first time since 1946, in all key statistics about knowledge and use of the language. The most dramatic decline was recorded in the Gaeltacht, where the number of daily speakers outside education fell by 11 per cent from 23,175 or almost 24 per cent in 2011 to 20,586 or 21.4 per cent in 2016 (Central Statistics Office 2017). It is not clear to what extent the decline can be attributed to the policy context, but the sluggish pace of implementation cannot be expected to yield positive demographic results. The census figures are a stark reminder that the ongoing increase in numbers of Irish speakers over the past 70 years cannot be taken for granted.


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Conclusion Our focus on the vicissitudes of language policy and planning for selected nonhegemonic languages has demonstrated that the rise of the regulatory state has shaped a new context within which statutory interventionist actors deploying a new discourse of rights and expectations have real potential to transform the fortunes of previously marginalised speakers. However, a clear implication of both the emergence of the IALC and the experience derived from the Irish case study is that while in many cases the supportive infrastructure for language promotion, protection, and regulation may be in place, the acid test of the adequacy of such developments is their implementation within the relevant jurisdiction and full incorporation into the machinery of government. The yawning gap between the constitutional and legislative status of Irish and the failure of successive governments to fulfil more than the minimal requirements of statutory obligations should be a clear warning that in contradistinction to many other aspects of public policy, minority language-­specific enactments are more difficult to embed within the culture and machinery of the modern state, unless successive governments are fully committed to the political project. This may be clearly illustrated by contrasting the fortunes and standing of official language policy in Ireland with the more integral and politically salient Canadian experience. Conceptual frameworks of both governance and governmentality need better to account for these imbalances in public policy implementation, and greater attention to the ideological stance of the permanent government of the civil service may go the same way towards providing an explanation. In our judgement, the role of public servants in implementing official language policy is a relatively neglected area, and the replication elsewhere of studies such as those conducted by Savoie (2013, 2017), which evaluate the relationship between Canadian politicians and public servants in the formulation and discharge of policy, would surely pay dividends. Issues of implementation and the respecting of language rights depend ultimately on the desires of the citizenry as demonstrated either through the ballot box or by acting in concert in civil society. Yet so often, rather than being a medium for the pursuit of other policy objectives, minority languages tend to be positioned as a competitive and too easily emasculated consideration in a crowded policy arena. Acknowledgements Colin H.  Williams wishes to acknowledge the support of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant ES/J003093/1 which allowed Dr. P. Carlin, Prof D. Mac Giolla Chríost, and Prof Colin H. Williams to examine the role of Language Commissioners in comparative perspective. John Walsh would

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like to thank the Irish Language Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, for his comments on a draft. Work on this material was facilitated by the authors’ membership of the COST Action IS1306 ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges’. Both authors were also members of the team Les Savoirs de la gouvernance communautaire led by Prof Linda Cardinal, Political Science, University of Ottawa, and we are grateful to our colleagues in Ottawa for sharing with us their Canadian expertise. This chapter has been improved by the critical comments of an anonymous reviewer for which we are grateful. We would like to dedicate this chapter to our former colleague Dr Peadar Ó Flatharta of An Cheathrú Rua, Galway and Dublin City University. Peadar dedicated his life to working tirelessly for language rights for Irish speakers but died prematurely in 2016 before his mission was complete. He is greatly missed. Go raibh suaimhneas síoraí aige.

Notes 1. We are concerned here with minority languages in jurisdictions such as the Basque Country, Catalonia, Ireland, the UK, and Canada; although they may have achieved constitutional status as official languages, they are still considered in need of protection and formal regulation in order to remain vital elements of everyday life. 2. Alliance de recherché universités-communautés/Community-University Research Alliance. 3. Prior to UK devolution, the Welsh Office discharged its remit on language promotion and regulation through the non-statutory WLB a quango, established by the UK Conservative Government in 1989, to act as a sounding board for the development of Welsh-medium services. 4. Williams questioned the original settlement of the Welsh Language Act 1993 and concluded that in vesting public institutions with language obligations, whilst eliding over the issue of individual language rights, the 1993 Act had fallen far short of establishing Welsh as a co-equal language (Williams 1994, 2000). 5. The 11 Board members were appointed by the Secretary of State for Wales and they devoted two days a month to the activities of this quango. The dayto-day work of the Board was undertaken by initially 30, subsequently 84, staff members divided into seven areas, namely, policy, public and voluntary sector, grants and private sector, education and training, marketing and communication, finance, and administration. 6. The NAfW TWF project came to an end in 2016; for details please visit 7. The proposed Commission would follow the logic and be broadly similar to the revised version of a model suggested by the WLB as its successor agency in April 2012.


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8. The IALC made a powerful submission to the review process in 2017 pointing out from international experience some of the ways in which promotion and regulation may be better integrated; for details see 9. For access to OCOL’s Annual Reports please visit 10. The initiative followed advice given by Peadar Ó Flatharta and Colin H Williams to the founding Coimisinéir Teanga, Sean O Cuirreáin to co-operate with other similar office holders, and together they organised a conference on the theme of Language Rights in Dublin in May 2013 during which they proposed the establishment of the IALC. 11. The presentations are available at php?page=news&news_id=118&lang=eng 12. Williams acted as rapporteur and adviser on future directions; please see read/f07e30fc-8c14-4709-b3d5-07d5e0a497be. For an independent critique of the conference please visit international-conference-on-language-rights-dublin-may-24-2013/ 13. For details on the IALC please visit 14. For details on the conference please visit http://www.languagecommissioners. org/documents/PROGRAMME_DELEGATES_INTERNATIONAL_ FINAL.pdf. For a video record of the proceedings please visit http://www. For a report on the conference please visit 15. For the programme see Program_EN.pdf 16. For information please visit the IALC Website at 17. and a for a copy of the programme please visit 18. For details please visit COST Action IS1306 New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges: isch/Actions/IS1306 19. This translates as ‘the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ but is referred to in its Irish form in the English version of the legislation. The English text refers to the holder of the office as ‘An Coimisinéir Teanga’ and states that the individual is referred to as ‘the Commissioner’ in the Act.

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References Ahmed, T. (2011). The Impact of EU Law on Minority Rights. Oxford: Hart Publishing. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2005). Tuarascáil Bhliantúil/Annual Report. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Tuarascail_Bhliantuil_2005_4MB.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2008). Tuarascáil Bhliantúil/Annual Report. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Tuarascail_Bhliantuil_2008.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2009). Tuarascáil Bhliantúil/Annual Report. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Tuarascail_Bhliantuil_2009.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2010). Tuarascáil Bhliantúil/Annual Report. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. TuarascailBhliantuil2010.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2011a). Review of the Official Languages Act 2003: Report by An Coimisinéir Teanga under Section 29 of the Act. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. arACHTnadTEANGACHAOIFIGIULA_OifiganChoimisinearaTeanga.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2011b). Tuarascáil Bhliantúil/Annual Report. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Tuarascail_Bhliantuil2011.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. An Coimisinéir Teanga. (2017). Tráchtaireacht ar Chóras na Scéimeanna Teanga/A Commentary on the Language Scheme System. Report by An Coimisinéir Teanga in Accordance with Section 29 of the Official Languages Act, 2003. [online] An Spidéal: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga. Accessed 1 Feb 2018. BBC News. (2017). Welsh Language Commissioner Role to be Scrapped [online]. http:// Accessed 9 Aug 2017. BRDO. (2013). Mapping the Regulatory Landscape in Wales. London: Better Regulation Delivery Office. Brezigar, B. (2010). From Maastricht to Lisbon. The Development of Language Legislation in EU Treaties. Cardinal, L., & Forgues, É. (Eds.). (2015). Gouvernance communautaire et innovations au sein de la francophonie néobrunswickoise et ontarienne. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Cardinal, L., & Hudon, M.-È. (2001). La gouvernance des minorités de langue officielle au Canada: une étude préliminaire. Ottawa: Commissariat aux langues officielles.


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Mac Giolla Chríost, D. (2016). The Welsh Language Commissioner in Context. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Mac Giolla Chríost, D., Carlin, P., & Williams, C. H. (2017). Preparing for a Welsh Language Bill Pursuant to the Written Statement of 31 January 2017 by the Minister for Lifelong Learning and the Welsh Language. Cardiff: Briefing Paper for Language Policy, Planning and Research Unit, Cardiff University. Morgan, K. (2004, Winter). Bonfire of the Quangos: The Missing Debate, Agenda, pp. 2–7. National Assembly of Wales. (2011). Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011. Cardiff: National Assembly for Wales. Nic Shuibhne, N. (1999). Ascertaining a Linguistic Minority: Ireland as a Case Study. In D. Fottrell & B. Bowring (Eds.), Minority and Group Rights in the New Millennium (pp. 87–110). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff. Nic Shuibhne, N. (2000). Rethinking Irish Language Policy: A Legal Perspective. In B. Clarke, J. McMahon, & R. Clark (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Irish Law and Politics: Volume 3 (pp. 36–53). Dublin: Round Hall. Normand, M. (2015). L’innovation dans la gouvernance communautaire. In É. Forgues & L. Cardinal (Eds.), Gouvernance communautaire et innovation au sein de la francophonie néobrunswickoise et ontarienne (pp. 123–145). Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec. Normand, M. (2016). Les commissaires linguistiques au Canada: comparaison de leur capacité d’agir sur le projet du bilinguisme canadien. In Le bilinguisme canadien comme projet: L’histoire d’une utopie et de sa réalisation. Ó Conaill, S. (2009). An Ghaeilge mar theanga oifigiúil seachas teanga mhionlaigh: an dearcadh mícheart? [Irish as an Official Language Rather Than a Minority Language: The Right Attitude?]. In E. Fahey & C. Ní Chonchúir (Eds.), Súil ar an Dlí (pp. 29–34). Baile Átha Cliath: First Law. Ó Domhnaill, R. (2016, November 30). Personal Communication. Ó Giollagáin, C. (2014). Unfirm Ground: A Re-assessment of Language Policy in Ireland Since Independence. Language Problems and Language Planning, 38(1), 19–41. Ó Riagáin, P. (1997). Language Policy and Social Reproduction: Ireland, 1893–1993. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Ó Riagáin, P. (2008). Irish-Language Policy 1922–2007: Balancing Maintenance and Revival. In C. Nic Phaidín & S. Ó. Cearnaigh (Eds.), A New View of the Irish Language (pp. 55–65). Dublin: Cois Life. O’Rourke, B., Pujolar, J., & Ramallo, F. (2015). New Speakers of Minority Languages: The Challenging Opportunity – Foreword. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 231, 1–20. Prosser, T., Rawlings, R., & Oliver, D. (Eds.). (2010). The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1997). Understanding Governance: Policy Networks, Governance, Reflexivity and Accountability. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press.


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Savoie, D. (2013). Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? Kingston/Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Savoie, D. (2017). What Is Government Good At? A Canadian Answer. Kingston/ Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Spolsky, B. (2004). Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Spolsky, B. (2009). Language Management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wales Online. (2017). Welsh Language Commissioner Role to be Scrapped and Replaced with New Body. [online]. Accessed 9 Aug 2017. Walsh, J. (2012). Language Policy and Language Governance: A Case-Study of Irish Language Legislation. Language Policy, 11(3), 323–341. Walsh, J. (2015). The Irish Language Regime and Language Ideology in Ireland. In L.  Cardinal & S.  Sonntag (Eds.), State Traditions and Language Regimes: Conceptualizing Language Policy Choices (pp. 62–78). Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Walsh, J. (2017). Enactments Concerning the Irish Language, 1922–2015. Dublin University Law Journal, 39(2), 449–466. Walsh, J., & McLeod, W. (2008). An Overcoat Wrapped Around an Invisible Man? Language Legislation and Language Revitalisation in Ireland and Scotland. Language Policy, 7(1), 21–46. Weiler, J. H. (2016). Living in a Glass House. In C. Closa & D. Kochenov (Eds.), Reinforcing Rule of Law Oversight in the EU (pp. 313–326). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Welsh Government. (2017a). Written Statement. Summary Report of Responses for a Call for Evidence: Preparing for a Welsh Language Bill. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Welsh Government. (2017b). A White Paper on Proposals for a New Welsh Language Bill. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Welsh Government. (2017c). Preparing for a Welsh Language Bill. Call for Evidence: Summary of Responses. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Welsh Government. (2017d). Striking the Right Balance: Proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. Cardiff: Welsh Government. files/consultations/2018-02/170807-overview-en.pdf Welsh Government. (2018). Written Statement-Summary of Responses to the Consultation on the White Paper Striking the Right Balance: Proposals for a Welsh Language Bill. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Williams, C.  H. (1994). Called Unto Liberty: On Language and Nationalism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Williams, C.  H. (2000). Governance and the Language. Contemporary Wales, 12, 130–154. Williams, C.  H. (2007). Articulating the Horizons of Welsh. In C.  H. Williams (Ed.), Language and Governance (pp. 387–434). Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Williams, C. H. (2009). Foras na Gaeilge and Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg: Yoked but Not Yet Shackled. Irish Studies Review, 17(1), 55–88.

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Williams, C. H. (2013a). Minority Language Promotion, Protection and Regulation. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Williams, C. H. (2013b). Perfidious Hope: The Legislative Turn in Official Language Regimes. Journal of Regional and Federal Studies, 23(1), 101–122. Williams, C.H. (2013c). Reflections: Rapporteur’s Presentation. International Conference on Language Rights. Dublin: Irish Language Commissioner, Fiontar and Cardiff University, May 23–24. Williams, C.  H. (2015). New Perspectives and Challenges on Protecting Language Rights: Promoting Linguistic Pluralism. Rapporteur’s Address to the Annual Conference of the International Association of Language Commissioners, University of Ottawa, May 22, 2015. Williams, C. H. (2016). Whither Language Rights and Language Commissioners in the Mosaic of Mutual Influence? Rapporteur’s Report on the 2016 Galway Conference for the International Association of Language Commissioners. Cardiff: International Association of Language Commissioners. commissioners_in_the_mosaic_of_mutual_influence.pdf Williams, C. H. (2017). Wake Me Up in 2050! Formulating Language Policy in Wales, Language, Society and Policy [online]. wake-me-up-in-2050-formulating-language-policy-in-wales. Accessed 1 Jan 2018. Williams, C. H., & Ó Flatharta, P. (2012). The Office of the Language Commissioner, Ireland: The Impact of the Commission on Irish Language Policy and Official Strategy. In C.  Brohy, T. du Plessis, J.-G.  Turi, & J.  Woehrling (Eds.), Law, Language and the Multilingual State (pp. 291–312). Bloemfontein: SUN MeDIA. Williams, G., & Morris, D. (2000). Language Planning and Language Use in a Global Age. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Part II Recognition, Self-Determination, Autonomy

5 The Recognition of Ethnic and Language Diversity in Nation-States and Consociations Christian Giordano

Introduction: Regimes of Toleration and Politics of Recognition In tackling the question of the recognition of ethno-cultural diversity, Michael Walzer put forth an important distinction between tolerance as a political-­ philosophical principle that can be expressed in avowals, attitudes, stances, or social representations of an ideal or indeed abstract nature and toleration. Toleration as the actual performance of tolerance is instead a concrete social practice grounded in peaceful coexistence, even if barely agreeable, among human groups with different histories, cultures, and identities, thus in most cases with different religions and idioms (Walzer 1997, 1998). This chapter deals especially with this second form of essentially practised tolerance. Walzer (1997) developed five types of political communities in which highly diverse regimes of toleration may be observed. Examining five types of political organizations, especially in which five different regimes of toleration are in place, he distinguishes the following: 1. Multinational empires, such as the Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman ones (Walzer 1997: 15–19); 2. International community institutions that promote and endeavour to establish the practice of toleration. These supranational organizations set global C. Giordano (*) Department of Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



C. Giordano

standards, in theory at least, for good practices of toleration (Walzer 1997: 19–24); 3. Consociations in which toleration amongst their different ethnic groups arises in everyday life without requiring a centralized political-bureaucratic intervention (Walzer 1997: 22–24). Thus, consociations are cradles of federalism; 4 . Nation-States whose political organization currently represents the overwhelming majority at a global level and must ensure toleration between the majority and minority communities (Walzer 1997: 24–30); 5 . Immigration societies, that is, societies that emerged in the course of various migratory waves in sparsely populated territories such as Canada, which, however, was the homeland of autochthonous peoples with their own specific culture (Walzer 1997: 30–36). Clearly, Walzer developed ideal types along the lines of traditional Weberian ones (Weber 1968: 234–260). Though ideal types are known to be intellectual abstractions not present in empirical reality, they significantly help analysis of analogous yet distinct social phenomena. This is true of both the consociations and the Nation-States, where the current presence of immigrant communities allows observation of a number of similarities between these two types of regimes of toleration and the immigration societies. In this chapter, we empirically analyse different regimes of toleration. Therefore, we chose two types expressly mentioned by Walzer that are currently significant in modernity’s complex societies, that is, the Nation-States, highly prevalent in Europe, and the consociations, exceptionally present in Europe (e.g. in Switzerland and Belgium) but more widespread in various post-colonial African States (e.g. Ghana and South Africa) and particularly in Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, and perhaps in a not too distant future, Myanmar). To the Nation-States and consociations, we also added immigration societies (such as Canada), since socially and politically they ultimately appear to be very similar to the first two. In essence, over the last 60 years, classic Nation-States and traditional consociations, especially in old Europe, have slowly acquired some of the characteristics of immigration societies. Our analysis does not include the first two types cited by Walzer because multinational empires belong to a now distant past, whereas the institutions of the international community are by definition multistate if not indeed extra-state, such as the United Nations, the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and so on. By analysis of specific cases, this choice allows us to show empirically that the politics of recognition (Taylor 1992) of ethnic and cultural diversity, on which every regime of toleration is founded, is not an effortless, self-evident or

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trouble-free process. Indeed, the diverse politics of recognition and distinct regimes of toleration in both Nation-States and consociations are characterized precisely by tensions, dissent, exclusions, discriminations and, at times, conflicts, yet also by negotiations, talks and concessions. This chapter is marked specifically by this disenchanted anthropological vision that aims to corroborate Walzer’s philosophical pragmatism through the analysis of two specific forms of political community mentioned above, which are the most widespread types in the present-day world, where the regime of toleration and the politics of recognition in terms of linguistic diversity are particularly important yet also controversial.

 ation-States, Monoethnic Territory, N and the Inopportune Linguistic Diversity In this section, we analyse the regime of toleration and the politics of recognition in the European continent starting from observing that Nation-States, despite being a global phenomenon, have undisputable European origins (see also McDermott and Nic Craith, this volume). Therefore, we focus, in particular, on the historical evolution of the current situation of this continent inasmuch considered as father of the Nation-States. Europe’s current political layout is still based in the main on Nation-States being fiercely protective of their sovereignty, though the latter has been slightly limited lately by regionalist and autonomy demands. This political layout is the outcome of the proliferation of such States at the end of the eighteenth century and thereafter and of the project to establish a Europe of nations as theorized and solicited by the then President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, in the aftermath of the First World War. Nation-States, which we must keep in mind still determine Europe’s political order, were established mainly by means of two models first conceived in France and in Germany (Brubaker 1992). Clearly enough, in this chapter, these models are taken into consideration as Weberian ideal types.

The French Model It has often been remarked that the French model of national State is based on the idea of a political nation. According to this widespread opinion, the national State would be the outcome of a political agreement or, better yet, of a pact, that is, a contract between its citizens. On the subject, Jules Renan has spoken, somewhat rhetorically, about the nation, thus about its political


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organization, as un plebiscite de tous les jours. This well-known formula highlights that the political nation of French derivation is an elective community, implying the existence of a patrie ouverte in which religious and/or ethnicrelated differences are irrelevant (Dumont 1991: 25). Under this aspect, the national State represents the outcome of a declaredly voluntary act of each citizen that mirrors the viewpoint expressed by baron Charles de Montesquieu in his pensées, for whom Je suis nécessairement homme…et je ne suis français que par hazard (Montesquieu 1949: 10). Nowadays, we are aware that the non-ethnic concept of nation that stemmed from the French Revolution was markedly modified and relativized rather soon, since it was merged with ideas that were not utterly devoid of ethnicizing tendencies. The French experts who have delved into this matter point up that, according to the 1791 and 1793 constitutions, any foreigner living in France could be granted citizenship without having to prove that he had acquired a French identity. In other words, this meant that obtaining citizenship came before obtaining nationality, that is, before acquiring that sum of cultural stances and social rules regarded as typically French (Weil 1988: 192; Lochak 1988: 78; Weil 2002; Weil and Hansen 1999). The sequence citizenship-nationality was all but reversed in the course of the nineteenth century. This fundamental shift occurred together with, and was justified by, the introduction of further ethnicizing concepts by which the prerequisites to belong to the elective nation and its State were increasingly defined by ethno-­ cultural criteria, such as knowledge of the French language and acquisition of the way of life specific to the country. Though weakened, the original idea of citoyenneté was never totally set aside. In particular, the subjective, thus individualistic vision of the nation (Sundhaussen 1997:79), by which any foreigner living in France can take advantage of the apparently trouble-free mechanism of assimilation to become a citizen, remained unchanged. According to this scenario, any ethno-cultural differences, identities and boundaries are never inescapable and insurmountable. Each human being, if he deems it worthwhile, is intrinsically able to adapt and consequently become a full-fledged member of the cité wherein all relationships between individuals, as well as all relations between people and public institutions, are regulated by a social contract, which, in theory at least, has no room for ethnicity and culture. Whether ethnic, cultural or national, for the French model, any type of belonging is never definitively set; on the contrary, it can be modified through acculturation processes that lead to integration via the assimilation of those who are not regarded as foreigners. The assimilation process, which clearly entails significant changes in the individual’s cultural identity, legitimizes

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welcoming the xenos (English: stranger, foreigner) to the bosom of the community and the national State. This brief presentation already highlights that the French type of national State is associated with the concept of a more open society than other models of political-administrative organization. This fact is further substantiated by the actual, albeit incomplete, application of the jus soli in the French juridical system. On the other hand, we ought to bear in mind that the significant openness in welcoming foreigners is counterbalanced by the surprisingly weak appreciation for ethno-cultural differences within its own national territory. Eugene Weber (1976) has aptly shown how the French national State’s various governments between the end of the revolution and the First World War set up an extensive assimilationist apparatus aimed at reducing ethno-cultural differences between its various regions as much as possible (yet was unable to do so completely). As expressed in the original title of Weber’s work, peasants with their local characteristics would have been transformed (and to some extent they were) into more or less standard French citizens. Minorities in France, that is, groups within the country that on the strength of real or purported ethno-cultural criteria demand the recognition of their diversity and may voice claims to territorial autonomy (e.g. see Corsica and Brittany) are ignored or kept out of sight to this day. At best, they represent an awkward though perforce acknowledged reality. Moreover, the law known as Loi Pasqua, which reformed the renowned code de la nationalité, one of republican France’s juridical institutions, came into force on January 1, 1993. Without delving into its legal technicalities, this law makes obtaining nationality more difficult, especially for immigrants. Consequently, there is a creeping ethnicization that puts present-day France increasingly in contrast with the revolutionary ideal of patrie ouverte, thus also with the one of political nation. We can rightfully wonder whether France is undergoing a Germanization.

The German Model The national State-based on the German model is often described as ethnic, in this context mainly with a negative connotation. The use of this adjective expresses, rightly or not, the fact that the German model of national State is based on genealogy, that is, on the shared origin of its citizens.


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Arguably, linking the German model with the notion of Volk, which not always has an ethnicizing overtone, would be more appropriate from an historical viewpoint. It is common knowledge that Gottfried Herder, together with the Grimm brothers, popularized the idea of Volk and its derivatives such as Volksgeist, Volksseele and so on. Therefore, viewing Herder as the first zealous advocate of the ethnic variant of the concept of Volk, thus stigmatizing him as the inventor of the most dangerous explosive of modern times (Talmon 1967: 22; Finkielkraut 1987: 56 ff.), would be both misleading and somewhat incorrect. In fact, Herder believed that the genuine expressions of Volksgeist, thus also of the Volk, were principally the language and its literary evidence, such as fairy tales, poems, proverbs, phraseology and so on. This author was rather a representative of Germanic cultural patriotism and one of the creators of the concept of Kulturnation (Pierré-Caps 1995: 79 ff.). Undeniably, however, during the nineteenth century several intellectuals, including renowned politicians, artists, jurists, philosophers, historians and, last but not least, folklorists (Volkskundler) increasingly defined the culturalistic notion of Volk in ethnicizing terms. Descent and origin, no longer regarded symbolically but strictly physiologically, became the inherent characteristics of the Volk, by then understood to be my people (the German one, clearly). Yet, for a long time this ethnicization of the idea of people and nation in Germany would circulate solely in intellectual circles and would not have juridical consequences on the right to citizenship. As pointed up by historian Rudolf von Thadden, a definitive shift towards the institutional birth of a German ethnic nation only took place in 1913 with the introduction of a restrictive variant of the jus sanguinis` principle in the Reich’s juridical system (Pierré-Caps 1995: 112; Gosewinkel 2001). Accordingly, what became known as the German model of the national State, determined by the formula the people as an ethnic entity is the essence of fully entitled citizens, became a reality only at this time (Grawert 1973: 166). Thus, descent and origin become the two fundamental criteria to define who belonged to the nation and who was excluded. The escalation of nationalism over the next years led to a gradual ethnicization of the German model, which, via National Socialism and its infamous Nuremberg Laws, inevitably led to the racialization of the notion of Volk and of the national State. After the abominable aberrations of the Nazi period, post-war Germany, though never a strictly ethnic State, renewed its links with the previous model of national State in which ethnicity overrides culture. To corroborate this last statement, we need only mention the notion of citizenship in the Federal Republic at the time of the two Germanys (1945–1990). As constitutionalist Böckenförde (1968: 424) aptly noted, the Federal

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Republic recognized one citizenship only, that is, the German one, regardless of all the changes that occurred after 1945 with the division of Germany into two separate States. Before the reunification, therefore, neither a specific citizenship of the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD) nor one of the German Democratic Republic (DDR) was recognized. Instead, only one German citizenship was juridically considered as such, that is, the expression of both the unchangeable ethnic unity of the Volk and the continuity of the national State born in 1866. The power of ethnicity in the German model was noticeable also after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the country’s subsequent reunification, especially by comparing the situation of the Aussiedler, re-immigrants of German origin that wished to settle permanently in Germany, to that of immigrants mainly from Southern Europe, Turkey and other African and Asian countries. In fact, by virtue of the ethnic notion of Volk and of the jus sanguinis principle, the Aussiedler could acquire German citizenship nearly automatically, that is, by proving to have had even remote ancestors from Germany in the past centuries. Until the red-green coalition headed by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder passed new laws, nationality was granted solely on the grounds of descent, regardless of potential links to the German culture. The other immigrants, instead, despite their lengthy residency and even their birth in Germany including their acculturation and integration process in German society, still had to go through complex naturalization procedures to be granted nationality. To remedy this paradox, on June 23, 1999, the German parliament led by a red-green majority ratified a new law on nationality that in essence sought to partially de-ethnicize the German model. The reaction of the opposition’s centre-left parties (CDU, CSU and FDP) and most of the population was very negative. Yet, despite their initial opposition, the centre-right governments that replaced the red-green coalition did not repeal the law. German citizenship is currently based on the idea of belonging to a cultural collectivity and not a genealogical one. Under this aspect, the German model has been somewhat Gallicized.

F rench Model Versus German Model: Differences and Similarities European Nation-States have far too often been regarded as sheer geographical expressions. Though not completely off the mark, this approach is exceedingly reductive since it overlooks the fact that a nation’s political-institutional


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architecture is also and foremost a social organization. In particular, as Rogers Brubaker aptly remarked, it disregards the fact that in the first place the national State is a political association of citizens to which the latter belong owing to specific attributed or acquired shared (mainly cultural) prerequisites (Brubaker 1992). Accordingly, not everyone can be fully entitled to belong to a given national State. Drawing on a well-known formula by Max Weber (1956: 26), we could say that as a rule, a nation’s political organization is an association partially open to the outside. Clearly enough, this limited openness towards the outside, namely towards the foreigner, that is, most often the culturally other, implies creating institutional mechanisms of social selection to regulate belonging and foreignness. Citizenship and/or nationality are the fundamental instruments to indisputably determine who is fully entitled to belong to a national State and who is not. Therefore, citizenship and/or nationality are closely linked to practices of inclusion and exclusion. If we focus on the practices of inclusion and exclusion towards the culturally different, we can observe an essential analogy, despite obvious dissimilarities, between the French and the German model with reference to the recognition of ethno-cultural diversity. Through the subjective and individualistic vision of belonging, buttressed by the jus soli principle, the French version of the national State is grounded in the principle that a person’s otherness may and ultimately should be wiped out. Once assimilation has occurred and been substantiated, the former alien is granted political citizenship, thus is welcomed into the national community. The German version of the national State, with its objective, naturalizing and collective concept of difference strengthened by the jus sanguinis doctrine, inevitably and unchangeably determines the alien’s belonging to an ethno-­ national group that is clearly dissimilar to the Volk’s one. The alien is in principle denied the chance to obtain nationality, thus to become a full-fledged member of the German political community. Yet, these apparently very dissimilar terms of exclusion and inclusion actually pursue the same goal, that is, establishing, maintaining or at best restoring cultural and ethnic homogeneity on the entire national territory. In fact, a national State’s territory that is not monocultural or monoethnic is perceived as an anomaly that needs to be modified somehow, if not indeed eradicated. For this reason, ever since their advent, both the French and the German models have revealed a considerable incompatibility with pluriethnicity and multiculturalism, along with serious troubles in managing either. This emerges very clearly in the problematic stance towards minorities and immigrants to whom the national State offers the alternative between assimilation and the supposed resulting passage from one identity to another (as in the French

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model), and the more or less permanent marginalization from the civic and political community (as in the German model). The propensity for territorial homogeneity common to both in their own Nation-States stems from the fact that the prime movers of both models drew on the Staatsnation doctrine, a term much in use in the Germanic area, which, strangely enough, is of French origin (Pierré-Caps 1995). In this context, we need to highlight that this principle is based on the incisive formula one nation, one State, one territory (Altermatt 1996), that is, on the nearly untouchable and indisputable axiom by which the area occupied by a nation must coincide with the state’s territory. If the two models of Nation-States just described adhere to the abovementioned postulate, then clearly the logical corollary is the achievement of ethno-cultural homogeneity in their territory. Yet, we need to stress that the French or the German models referenced in this chapter were a crucial source of inspiration for most State-building activities in Europe. However, such models are Weberian ideal types, and they do not exist in a pure form. This is especially true nowadays, since the recognition politics of ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity have become, at least in theory, widespread throughout Europe, albeit not always voluntarily but rather under the pressure of international bodies such as the EU. We need only mention post-Francoist Spain, Italy’s law on linguistic minorities, Finland’s bilingualism and, to some extent, post-socialist Romania. Ever since their establishment, these four Nation-States had drawn inspiration from both the German and the French models. However, by now, they have enacted rather efficient legislative measures concerning the recognition of cultural diversity as well as decentralization and devolution, thus softening their initial maximalism and centralism to some extent. It is no coincidence therefore that Spain now defines itself a supranaciόn, that is, a nation of nations, much more akin to a consociation than to a classic Nation-State. We should also mention the case of the recognition of cultural and linguistic diversity in the UK, which historically, however, has more characteristics of a consociation than of a politically and culturally uniform Nation-State. Still, these examples may be considered rather exceptional for there are paradigmatic cases of Nation-­ States, especially in Eastern and South-eastern Europe (Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria and Macedonia just to mention seven of them), where laws regulating the recognition of minorities, chiefly introduced under pressure from the EU, have been enacted but are hardly, if not indeed arbitrarily, enforced. The ideal of a culturally homogeneous Nation-State, as in the French and the German model, currently appears to have regained popularity through the new populisms. This comes after the disappointments caused by globalization


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and its proposals to overcome the localist logic inherent to the principle of a single State for a single nation, as well as the massive influx of immigrants and refugees.

 ation-States and the Politics of Ethno-Cultural N Homogenization: Assimilation, Elimination, Minorities and Linguistic Standardization. Europe’s Drama After these theoretic considerations, we now turn to the empiric reality. A reconstruction and analysis of modern European history shows that during this period, Nation-States constantly endeavoured to make their territories and societies increasingly homogeneous, both ethnically and culturally as well as linguistically. In fact, the past two centuries, in particular, were characterized by ongoing efforts to turn each national territory into a gradually more homogenous one in terms of ethnicity, culture and language, especially in Central and Eastern Europe where the Staatsnation principle was introduced much later than in Western Europe, that is, only after the collapse of the multinational empires (Vielvölkerstaaten). These processes of ‘ethno-cultural recomposition’, aimed at making the Nation-States ‘ethnically pure’, are achieved through a dreadful, ongoing and far-from-over series of boundary revisions, forced assimilations, banishments, targeted and planned immigrations, deportations, ethnic wars and cleansings, genocides, reinstatements and secessions. A periodization of the various processes of ‘ethnic separation’, in which more or less all European Staatsnationen were involved during the past two centuries, will reveal roughly four surges whose virulence would be fraught with consequences for the entire continent’s layout (Giordano 2015, Vol. 8: 277). The first surge struck the Balkans, in particular, soon after the creation of the first Nation-States in the nineteenth century. Major population contingents of Turkish origin or simply of Muslim religion were forced to leave the region. As administrators and civil servants of the Ottoman Empire, they did indeed represent the hated occupiers, but members of social strata that had nothing or little in common with the ruling class were involved in the expulsion process as well. During the great crisis in the Orient, which led to the bloody Russian-Turkish war, between 1875 and 1878 alone a million and a half people were repatriated. At that time and for the area involved, it was an exceptional movement of people (Giordano 2015, Vol. 8: 277).

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The second virulent phase took place between 1913 and 1925. It was characterized by the forced transfer of entire minoritarian ethnic groups, yet it was internationally recognized and guaranteed. In the diplomatic language of those days, it was euphemistically termed ‘population exchange’. Some ­examples illustrate the ‘homogenization’ strategies through ‘ethnic separation’. Substantial groups of Albanians from Kosovo and Western Macedonia were transferred to Turkey at the end of the Balkan Wars (on August 10, 1913) mainly because of their religion. These in turn were substituted by Serbian, Montenegrin, Croatian and Slovenian people, especially after the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, with the intention of ‘re-­Slavizing’ the region. The alleged ‘population exchange’ between Greece and Turkey was even more dramatic. It was decreed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which ratified a series of reciprocal expulsions and hasty repatriations caused by the Greek military catastrophe during the reckless campaign in Asia Minor. After the tremendous defeat, Greece was overrun by refugees from the coasts of Western Anatolia as well as Greeks (and also Armenians) from the Black Sea area and the Caucasus who had been fleeing the new Bolshevik regime’s repressions since 1917. A country with a population of 4.5 million was faced with the arrival of 1.3 million refugees. At the same time, the ‘population exchange’ provided for the departure of the ‘inhabitants of Muslim religion’, mostly Turks but also Albanians (Giordano 2015, Vol. 8: 277). The third ethnic homogenization surge spanned the period between 1940 and 1945 that was prevalently marked by the Nazi policy of annihilation, transfer and expulsion of entire ethnic communities. Stalinist deportations and purges between 1945 and 1953 continued these strategies of extermination. Along with the holocaust of the so-called transnational minorities (Kende 1992: 13 ff.), namely Jews and Roma, there were massive population movements in all of Central and Eastern Europe that would considerably alter the ethnic map of this part of the continent. A total of 11.5 million Germans were expelled from the Ostgebiete, while 3 million Poles, 2 million of which from the regions that were assigned to the Soviet Union after the Second World War, would settle in Silesia and in the southern part of Eastern Prussia. As a result, Poland became an almost monoethnic country, quite consistent with the Staatsnation ideal. The treaties between Czechoslovakia and Hungary and between the latter and Yugoslavia, which likewise provided for reciprocal ‘population exchanges’, date back to the same period immediately after the Second World War (Giordano 2015, Vol. 8: 277). Finally, Stalin consolidated his conquests in the Western part of the Soviet Union through a policy of ‘planned’ and often imposed ‘mobility’. On the


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one hand, this involved the deportation of populations considered ‘accomplices of the enemy’, thus ‘traitors of the great patriotic war’ (Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians etc.), to Siberia or Central Asia. On the other hand, it involved substituting them with immigrants mainly of Slavic origin such as Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians, who were considered more ‘reliable’ (Conte and Giordano 1995: 28 ff.). The fourth virulent phase of ethnic homogenization, which may be termed the return to the national State, is the wave of ethnic separations that devastated Central and Eastern Europe throughout the 1990s. It can be traced back to Socialist Bulgaria with its alleged solution of the nationality issue, namely with the expulsion and/or forced assimilation of the ‘ethnic Turks’ in the second half of the 1980s. This phase continued with the disintegration of the three countries born after the First World War (Yugoslavia, Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia) via a multiethnic and multinational ‘logic’. All the new and old States generated by this process are based on the Staatsnation principle. Thus, the war in Bosnia was fully in line with this tragic but centuries-old logic of homogenization. Given the historical antecedents, it would have been rather surprising if the war had not broken out, while the Dayton Agreement (1995), despite obvious formal differences, is but a new version of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) dissembling a project of ethnic recomposition. Present-day Bosnia, in fact, is a sham multicultural State since it is divided into two different ethno-political entities. On the one side is the Muslim-Croat Federation in which the two communities are territorially and socially separate and, on the other side, the Republika Srpska with its practically autonomous political life (Giordano 2015, Vol. 8: 277). The war and the independence of Kosovo have notoriously led to a double ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. At first, the Serbs tried to annihilate or expel the ethnic Albanian population from the region. Then, when Slobodan Milosevic lost the war declared on him by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a Kosovar State with a vast Albanian majority was created. At the same time, most of the ethnic Serb population was expelled. The entire process of the double ethnic cleansing was once again in accordance with the founding principle of European Nation-States: ethnic homogeneity. The separation between Serbia and Montenegro had a similar ethnic connotation, though for once there was no violence involved. The long-standing conjuncture is not over yet! In any case, thanks to these homogenization policies in the name of the ideal of a monoethnic and monocultural national State, the multiculturality of many European regions has dwindled, if not disappeared over the past two centuries.

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L anguage: A Symbol of Identity and National Unity In Europe’s Nation-States, both in the long-established ones and especially in the ones that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the national language has become a symbol of identity, cohesion and, ultimately, national unity. In these cases, religion remains undoubtedly relevant in terms of identity and national building but is still secondary to language. We ought to bear in mind that ‘nation’ as a concept is a product of eighteenth-­century Enlightenment (see also McDermott and Nic Craith, this volume), thus it always has a more or less secular connotation. This is especially true of Euro-American Nation-States rather than those in other continents where the influence of Western secularization processes was slighter or nil. We need only mention the classic case of Thailand where language and Buddhism are equally important pillars in the national community’s collective imagination (Kosonen and Person 2014: 200–231). Consequently, it stands to logic that the national language as a symbol of the country and society’s unity is crucially important in most of today’s Nation-States. In national education policies, teaching in the language of the community that is regarded as the titular nation becomes central. Knowledge of the national language also becomes a means to appropriate national culture because it is the foundation of social cohesion within a given Nation-State. Yet, as mentioned above, Nation-States, with few exceptions such as Portugal and Iceland, for example, were not and to this day are not culturally homogeneous political entities. Indeed, cultural as well as ethnic homogeneity is more of an abstraction, an ideal, a goal to be achieved rather than a sociological reality. The nearly generalized presence of linguistic plurality in a state entity that views itself as homogeneous generates embarrassment and frustration, as mentioned above. If not through attempts or actual processes aimed at eliminating cultural and linguistic diversity via drastic measures, such as a ban on teaching or using a minority idiom, at the very least a hierarchical system between the titular nation’s language and the minorities’ languages will be established. This hierarchical order is already noticeable after the First World War in the first policies of recognition of linguistic diversity within Europe’s Nation-­ States with the emergence of the question of the protection of minorities implemented via the failed Minderheitschutz policy under the aegis of the League of Nations (Horak 1985: 7 ff.). One of the most important points of this policy,


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which ultimately boiled down to a feeble moral pressure exerted by the League of Nations, was the protection of linguistic minorities. However, the need of protection implies a danger. At the time, in fact, especially in the new Nation-­ States born of the ashes of multinational empires and echoing the French or German model, linguistic discrimination was systematic and could even reach the point of prohibiting the use of any other language except the titular nation’s one. At the time, the predominant stance was what Hungarian historian Istvan Bibό (1993: 172) aptly called the right of supremacy of the titular nation. Circumstances are rather different nowadays; most Nation-States, at least in Europe, slackened their strings several years ago and the recognition of linguistic diversity is no longer unthinkable, though in France and Germany, that is, the two Nation-States par excellence, linguistic plurality remains questionable or at the least hardly fashionable. To this day, however, minority languages are tolerated in Nation-States but nearly never on a par with the titular nation’s language. This gives rise to a hierarchical situation in which the titular nation’s language takes on a hegemonic role, whereas minority idioms end up being subordinate. This occurs even in Italy, which probably has one of the world’s most progressive statutes in terms of the recognition of linguistic minorities. However, Italy’s rather unique situation, which concerns all of the country’s linguistic minorities (Germans in Alto Adige/South Tyrol [see also McDermott and Nic Craith, this volume], French in Aosta Valley, Slovenes in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Arbëreshë/Albanians in Sicily and Calabria, Sardinians in Sardinia, Croatians in Marche and Abruzzi, Greeks in Apulia etc.), is chiefly the upshot of the international agreement with Austria on the recognition of German in Alto Adige/South Tyrol, rather than a heartfelt belief in the added value of a rich linguistic diversity. Finally, we need to emphasize that current territorial disputes, such as the one regarding Transylvania that is souring relations between Hungary and Romania, often involve the failed recognition of a minority language. To this day, nearly all the Nation-States born of the ashes of multinational empires, renowned for their rather lax thus scarcely regulated multilingualism, coerce minority groups, even by resorting to structural and often also physical forms of ethnic violence, to learn and use the language of the new titular nation that had recently taken control of the territory by military action or thanks to international treaties. Thus, language and its enforcement by the State becomes the paramount symbol of power.

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 onsociations: A Different Way of Ensuring C a Regime of Toleration, Politics of Recognition and Linguistic Diversity? The Nation-State model of European origin has undeniably spread all over the world. We need only look at the structure of the international community’s individual institutions where it is almost a given that they essentially consist of classic Nation-States. Yet, as mentioned in the introduction, there are also other empirically observable political associations, which, albeit very dissimilar from the Nation-States, can ensure specific regimes of toleration and politics of recognition in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity. We are referring to consociations, which, though far less common worldwide than Nation-States, are both structurally and politically very different from the latter, thus can neither be likened nor associated with them. Accordingly, consociations ought to be viewed as political, yet also social alternatives to Nation-States. What makes a theoretical conceptualization of consociations highly complex is their marked diversity. We need only think about the enormous differences between six classic consociations such as Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Ghana, South Africa and Malaysia. On analysing the Nation-State type, we can notice that despite variations, which we took into account in the previous sections about Germany and France, one tends to reduce complexity, as Niklas Luhmann (1989) would say. Thus, uniformity and institutional rigidity increase through simplification. Consociations, instead, tend to be more adaptive and flexible, thus situational. Clearly, this encourages the production of unique arrangements with a structural and institutional specificity. Yet, given the marked cultural diversity inherent to each consociation, these brief observations already point up that consociations are structurally fragile political communities. Though certainly more fragile than Nation-­ States, thanks to their flexibility, they prove to be more mindful of cultural and linguistic diversity in societies with a more marked multiethnic structure than that of Nation-States. The regime of toleration and consequently the politics of recognition are far more differentiated. Bearing in mind the specificities of the individual consociations, thus of their diversity, and in avoiding sweeping generalizations, we now illustrate how consociations envision the regime of toleration and the politics of recognition through a case study analysis of a paradigmatic example.


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Malaysia: A Paradigmatic Case of Consociation In this section, we discuss a very particular case of consociation: Malaysia. This country, independent since 1957, is characterized by a remarkable ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, which poses a threat to social cohesion nearly on a daily basis. Yet, by opting to establish itself politically as a consociation, Malaysia has been able to maintain its unity and cohesion to this day despite the almost daily rate of misunderstandings as well as the permanent tensions between the different ethnic groups that make up its society.

 thno-Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Complexity E of Malaysian Society Malaysia as a current political subject is the upshot of British colonial domination (Hirschman 1986: 330 seq.). In fact, the present-day marked ethno-­ cultural differentiation of this society is the result of the politics of immigration under the colonial regime. The British believed that the local population of Malay origin was hardly inclined or indeed unable to perform tasks beyond cultivating rice. This is why the arrival of a significant number of Chinese, chiefly from the south of the former empire, and Indians, Tamil in particular, but also Punjabi and Sikh, was encouraged and organized. With the exception of the scarcely populated territories in Northern Borneo, the effects of this colonial immigration policy are highly noticeable to this day in Peninsular Malaysia (see also Sercombe, this volume). In this territory, the British had devised a clear division of labour by which the Chinese mainly dealt in trade (including opium) and skilled crafts. The Indians, instead, were employed as manual workers on the vast sugar cane and rubber plantations, in port infrastructures and, at times, as subordinate clerks in the colonial administration. Finally, they were also active as small retailers. The Malays, scarcely appreciated by colonial authorities, who regarded them as unreliable, were recruited as farmers on rice paddies; thus, their task was to ensure basic nutritional needs. To this day, this policy of immigration and division of labour heavily influences the country’s multicultural structure as well. In fact, the Malays represent 50% of the population, in contrast to the Chinese and Indians (who total 23% and 7%, respectively). The remaining 20% consists chiefly of indigenous peoples (the orang asli) plus small quotas of other groups, amongst which the Ibans and the Bidayuh of Sarawak (see also Sercombe, this volume) and the Kadazans of Sabah. Finally, we need to mention the Jawi Peranakan and

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the Baba Nyonya, two mixed-race communities resulting, respectively, from intermarriages between Malay and Indians of Muslim faith and the latter between men of Chinese origin and Malay women. This triad consisting of Malays, Chinese and Indians, which must be regarded as the backbone of this country’s society, is characterized by a complex diversity, especially in terms of religion and language. The Malays, in fact, are by definition Muslim (Sunni), and their language consists of a series of local variants of Bahasa Malaysia, despite the existence of an official, nationally standardized Bahasa Malaysia. The Chinese adhere to what inaccurately goes by the name of Chinese Religion in Malaysia, that is, a syncretic combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Hailing from Southern China, they learn and currently resort to Mandarin as a foreign language, mainly for convenience (Teh 2017: 21). However, in everyday communications within their own community, they chiefly use the idioms of their region of origin, that is, Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese. Finally, since the Indians are chiefly Tamil, a vast majority is Hindu of Shivaist tendency with their specific festivities such as the spectacular Thaipusam. Among the Indians, however, there are also relatively small religious communities of Muslims (such as the Chulia, skilled and often wealthy traders in gems and other precious articles), of Catholics and of Sikhs. The everyday spoken language is chiefly Tamil, not Hindi, which remains a foreign language for the Tamil community despite certain attempts to promote it.

 alaysia: Cult of Cultural Diversity, Interethnic Tensions, M Intercommunity Negotiations and Compromises John S. Furnivall (1944) coined the term plural societies to describe the colonial Malaysian society. By means of this concept, Furnivall pointed up a crucial aspect of plural societies, that is, their marked cultural diversity. In his analysis of these societies, Furnivall drew from a theorem formulated by the nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill, which the utilitarian philosopher summarized in this famous passage: Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. (Mill 1958: 230)


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In line with this philosophical tenet, Furnivall upheld that plural societies consist of two or more elements or social orders which live side by side, yet without mingling, in one political unit. (Furnivall 1944: 446)

Given the lack of shared values and mutual fellow feeling, these societies are unable to develop a satisfactory social cohesion, thus are doomed to live in a constant state of social disorganization and political uncertainty. This is how Furnivall described the likely scenario of social life in plural societies. As a proper British public servant, Furnivall evidently voiced the need for the presence of a colonial power to prevent disruptive conflicts between the various ethno-cultural communities. Yet, Furnivall’s gloomy predictions were not much off the mark since some plural societies, as, for example, the Fiji Islands, proved to be politically and socially fragile precisely because of their divisions along ethnic lines strengthened by socioeconomic imbalance between the various communities. Furnivall’s hypothesis, however, is not generalizable since several plural societies, such as Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa, proved to be much more stable and cohesive than expected. Most likely, Nelson Mandela is right when he speaks about rainbow nations, and this formula can almost certainly characterize Malaysia as well. In fact, since its independence, this country experienced a definite socioeconomic growth and an unexpected political stability. The deadly ethnic riots thematized by American political scientist Dan Horowitz (Horowitz 1985, 2001) occurred solely during a severe crisis, as in the renowned and now distant May ethnic riots of 1969. The disorders between Malays and Chinese at that time have become a sort of negative national myth, that is, an incident that must never happen again, although, at times, similar, yet far less disruptive conflicts have occurred between ethnic communities in the recent past and most probably will occur again in the future, since these interethnic tensions are inherent to societies such as the Malaysian one. We need to mention, however, that deadly ethnic riots have been occurring evermore frequently in the United States, the UK, France and also in the latest countries of immigration such as Italy, Spain and Greece. Contrary to some stances, I uphold the apparently paradoxical hypothesis that the coexistence of the different ethnic communities that make up Malaysia, especially the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities, was feasible thanks to a veritable cult of difference, thus thanks to the recognition of ethno-cultural diversity. Though not fulfilling everyone’s expectations, the

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consociative social contract in force since independence, and subsequently redefined, is based on a prudent, if not indeed a wary variant of the concept of a Malaysian Malaysia as opposed to a Malayan Malaysia. The latter case would have meant establishing a national State along the lines of European ones with an entitled nation, the Malay, and extranational minorities, namely, the Chinese, Indians and so on. The former case, instead, worked towards a more open and inclusivist political solution, since, as Bellows (1970: 59) aptly points out: ‘A Malaysian Malaysia means that the nation and the state is not identified with the supremacy of any particular community or race’. This citation shows how Malaysia as a consociation differs from classic Nation-States based on the European model since it takes into account the country’s polyethnic and multicultural structure of society and acknowledges all ethnic groups on the federation’s territory at independence as members of the political community with equal rights without drawing a distinction between titular nation and minorities. The constitution of 1957 represents the core of a consociative-like identity bargaining that has created a very specific type of ethnically differentiated citizenship (Hefner 2001: 28) grounded in the fundamental distinction between natives (i.e. Malays) and the other communities regarded as indigenous and immigrants (first of all, Chinese and Indians). Since the natives are economically and professionally the most disadvantaged group, they were granted a special statute concerning economy, education and property rights (especially with respect to land and house ownership). As per Articles 89, 152 and 153 of the constitution, specific territories are reserved for them. They are also granted house purchase deductions and special regulations for commercial licenses and concessions, in addition to quotas in higher education. Immigrants are granted full Malaysian citizenship, as well as specific rights of religious and linguistic expression within a secular State in which Islam, however, is the State religion. This institutional compromise is, as two experts of this region, Milton J. Esman (1994: 57f ) and Robert W. Hefner (2001: 23), have aptly pointed out, the outcome of defensive strategies that are ascribable to reciprocal fears and mistrust that still characterize Malaysian society’s different ethnic communities. Which fears troubled the different ethnic communities? The Malays and the other indigenous groups, being bumiputera, (‘sons of the earth’), thus natives, feared that due to their patent socioeconomic inferiority, they would be overcome by the Chinese and Indian enterprise and suffer the same miserable plight of the red Indians in North America, as some members of their elites stated verbatim (Esman 1994: 53). The Chinese and Indians, instead,


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were concerned about the future of their flourishing economic activities and of their cultural identity in a State with a strong Islamic connotation. The message conveyed by this instrument is that, though culturally different, we are all Malaysians; better yet, we are all Malaysians precisely because we can all cherish our diversity in this country. Most likely, the doctrine of national harmony, that is, the principle known as rukun negara, was invented because of these widespread fears. This ideological construct, though not very conspicuous in social practices, undoubtedly has a strong symbolic significance. It is a way to proclaim unity in diversity, though, in practice, it is a less optimistic unity in separation. These inventions, however, are also necessary to legitimize the government’s power, which to some extent is what has occurred for the past 50 years. At this point, we need to add that, in the context of the above constitutional compromise, public life abides by the ethno-religious boundaries. Because of these borders, the non-bumiputera have almost tacitly accepted the political pre-eminence of the bumiputera community, especially the Malay one, in exchange for their own economic freedom and supremacy. Consequently, Arend Lijphard speaks of hegemonic consociativism with reference to Malaysia (Lijphart 1977: 5). However, this asymmetry is far from complete, or speaking about consociativism would be misleading. In fact, the federal government has always been a coalition of the three ethnic parties (plus a few minor ones) denominated National Front (Nasional Barisan). From the very start, this coalition has compulsively pursued, better yet striven, to stage a spirit of consensus (musyawarah) that is difficult if not impossible to attain. Moreover, representatives of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) as a rule serve as cabinet ministers, although representatives of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) always hold the key ministries. Accordingly, the office of prime minister is customarily entrusted to a Malay who must, however, be able to play the role of great mediator in case of interethnic conflicts that could jeopardize the nation’s unity. We should also bear in mind that Malaysia is an elective monarchy but that becoming king (Yang Dipertuan Agong) is the exclusive prerogative of the sultans of only nine states (out of 13) of the Federation. Though a purely representative post, it has a strong symbolic value since it signals the political predominance of the Malays over the non-bumiputera and the other bumiputera. Over the years, the compromise elaborated by the constitution has proven obsolete and, on several occasions, new forms of negotiated agreements have changed the character of Malaysia’s ethnically differentiated citizenship. Despite

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contrasts and permanent tensions among the various communities, a collegial and consensual solution has always been reached. Thus, after the May 13, 1969, ethnic riots, a New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched granting further social rights to the Malays whose socioeconomic situation over the 12 years of independence had worsened compared to middle and higher strata that mainly comprised non-Malays (Faaland et al. 1990: 17 ff.; Gomez 1999: 176 ff.). In 1991, after a period of sensational and dizzying economic growth, which, apparently at least, somewhat lessened social differences between the bumiputera and non-bumiputera, the coalition government launched the project Vision 2020, whose primary goal was to finally establish a bangsa Malaysia, that is, a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny (Hng 1998: 118). In political practice, this would have meant establishing a consensual, community-oriented democracy (ibid.) that would guarantee the existence of a tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practice and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs, and yet feeling that they belong to one nation (Hng 1998: 119). Vision 2020 aimed at making the concept of ethnically differentiated citizenship more inclusive by means of the notion of bangsa Malaysia, which would have brought together the various communities in a single civic body. Through the pursuit of excellence, Vision 2020 endorsed a less ethnic and more meritocratic idea of citizenship. From this point of view, Malaysia drew on Singapore’s model of nation based on the combination of two founding myths, that is, multiracialism and meritocracy (Hill and Lian 1995: 31–33). When the current prime minister came to power, the project Vision 2020 (Mahathir 1991, was shelved and substituted with the one denominated 1Malaysia (, which, though endeavouring to distinguish itself from Vision 2020, maintains some of its goals, especially the ones related to the creation of a more cohesive national society where ethno-cultural diversity still remains an essential element. Summing up the above observations, Malaysia will probably continue to be an ethnically divided society, that is, a multiethnic and/or multiracial entity based on consensual separation and sociocultural inequalities between natives and immigrants, and between the single ethnic communities. The ongoing tensions and disputes, the permanent negotiations and subsequent compromises and, last but not least, the symbolic and political significance of the cult of diversity with its various stagings, will still be the cornerstones of the complex construction of both national and local social cohesion in this country founded on unity in separation.


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The process is not over yet, however, because with its fast-paced economic development, Malaysia is rapidly becoming a country of immigration and will have to tackle this phenomenon that makes the country even more ethnically and culturally diverse. But this new situation is a challenge to the current regime of toleration that will need to be addressed in the near future. After this brief analysis of the Malaysian consociation’s political set-up, we need to examine its highly variegated multilingualism, which in everyday life is actually far more flexible and less regulated than in the classic Nation-States. In fact, formally Bahasa Malaysia is Malaysia’s standard official language. Yet, in everyday practice, this language’s regional and local differences are rather noticeable. Bahasa spoken in Penang and more in general along Peninsular Malaysia’s Western coast is different from the one of the Eastern coast or Borneo territories (see also Serecombe, this volume). Unlike Malaysia, in Indonesia, the Bahasa language, which is different from the Malayan Bahasa, was enforced more strictly in schools and became prevalent nearly throughout the country’s vast territory thanks to the rigidity of its educational system. With regard to the Chinese, there is a growing number of schools that teach Mainland China’s official language Mandarin, though linguistic practices are much more diversified in everyday life. In fact, the Chinese community is highly diversified in terms of language since in everyday life the Chinese will use one of the five vernaculars of their place of origin (Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Hainanese). Since these five vernacular languages are not alike, the Chinese of the various communities will often resort to English. Indians, too, are not alike linguistically although the majority speaks Tamil, a Dravidian language, whereas some relatively small communities speak Punjabi, which instead is an Indo-Aryan language. Any foreigner arriving in a Malaysian city will immediately notice the country’s linguistic diversity thanks to the many writing systems used in everyday life. In fact, there are four principal writing systems: the Jawi alphabet of Arab origin, the Latin alphabet for Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese ideograms and characters of Sanskrit origin for the languages spoken by the Indian community. At the end of the day, ever since independence, Malaysian governments have been unable, or probably never wanted, to impose a linguistic uniformity. Yet, in practice, their remarkable toleration has been outstanding, though to a Western observer, especially if from one of Europe’s classic and ostensibly monolingual Nation-States, this may seem disconcerting. In fact, in everyday life, one hears a constant switching from one language to another or English, the one true lingua franca, interspersed with multilingual phrases, whereas Bahasa, despite being the official and bureaucratic-administrative language, remains a rather abstract entity.

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 onclusions: Nation-States and Consociations: C Two Incomplete and Imperfect Types of Political Communities Our analysis reveals that the Nation-States tend to lessen cultural diversity, thus also linguistic diversity, by resorting to different strategies, such as a more or less compulsory assimilation or integration (as in the French model) or exclusion (as in the German model). Therefore, Nation-States have a universalist scope linked to Enlightenment philosophical current and are based on the premise that cultural conformity will create solidarity among its citizens, thus ensuring long-term social and political stability. This, however, entails limiting the regime of toleration and consequently curtailing the corresponding politics of recognition in terms of cultural and linguistic differences. As the example of Malaysia shows, consociations are definitely more tolerant but also more divisive because the various cultural and linguistic communities are not inclined to mingle, thus neither to blend into a single society. This is why Furnivall rightly spoke of plural societies, though his diagnosis is too pessimistic as well as ethnocentric for there were Europe’s Nation-States at the back of his mind. On the other hand, thanks to negotiation strategies and to the ability to reach often complex and difficult compromises, consociations have been able to ensure a sui generis interethnic and intercultural cohesion grounded in the unity in separation paradox, as illustrated not only by the case of Malaysia but also, without delving further into the matter, by the case of Switzerland. Consociations show a greater toleration of cultural and linguistic diversity but are also more fragile, as the existence of highly problematic if not failed consociations, such as Belgium, former Yugoslavia and several others, goes to show. In conclusion, Nation-States are clearly imperfect, given their major difficulties in the recognition of ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity, but are also much more stable. Consociations, instead, are much more mindful and tolerant in their management of the abovementioned differences but are also at risk of gruelling secessions and dissolutions. Their survival can be ensured only thanks to complex negotiations and compromises between their various ethno-cultural and linguistic components. Deciding which of the two most important forms of political community of modernity may be most suitable for the recognition of cultural and linguistic diversity is tantamount to the vain illusion of being able to solve a sphinx’s riddle.


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References Altermatt, U. (1996). Das Fanal von Sarajevo. Ethnonationalismus in Europa. Zürich: Verlag NZZ. Bellows, T. J. (1970). The People’s Action Party of Singapore: Emergence of a Dominant Party System, Southeast Asia Studies, Monograph Series, No. 14. New Haven: Yale University. Bibό, I. (1993). Misère des petits Etats d’Europe de l’Est. Paris: Albin Michel. Böckenförde, E.-W. (1968). Die Teilung Deutschland und die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit. In H. Barion, E.-W. Böckenförde, E. Forsthoff, & W. Weber (Eds.), Epirhosis. Festgabe für Karl Schmitt. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot. Brubaker, R. (1992). Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Conte, E., & Giordano, C. (1995). Sentiers de la ruralité perdue. Etudes rurales, 138/140, 11–33. Dumont, L. (1991). L’idéologie allemande. France-Allemagne et retour. Paris: Gallimard. Esman, M. J. (1994). Ethnic Politics. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press. Faaland, J., Parkinson, J. R., & Saniman, R. (1990). Growth and Ethnic Inequality: Malaysia’s New Economic Policy. London/New York: Hurst & Co/St. Martin’s Press. Finkielkraut, A. (1987). La défaite de la pensée. Paris: Gallimard. Furnivall, J. S. (1944 [1939]). Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy. New York: Macmillan. Giordano, C. (2015). Europe: Sociocultural Overview. In J.  W. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Vol. 8, 2nd ed., pp. 273–279). Oxford: Elsevier. Gomez, E. T. (1999). Tracing the Ethnic Divide: Race, Rights and Redistribution in Malaysia. In J. Pfaff-Czarnecka, D. Rajasingham-Senanayake, N. Ashis, & T. E. Gomez (Eds.), Ethnic Futures: The State and Identity Politics in Asia. New Delhi/ Thousand Oaks: Sage. Gosewinkel, D. (2001). Einbürgern und Ausschließen. Die Nationalisierung der Staatsangehörigkeit vom Deutschen Bund bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht. Grawert, R. (1973). Staat und Staatsangehörigkeit. Verfassungsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zur Entstehung der Staatsangehörigkeit. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot. Hefner, R. W. (Ed.). (2001). The Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Hill, M., & Lian, K.  F. (1995). The Politics of Nation Building and Citizenship in Singapore. London/New York: Routledge. Hirschman, C. (1986). The Making of Race in Colonial Malaya: Political Economy and Racial Ideology. Sociological Forum, 1(2), 330–361.

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Hng, H.  Y. (1998). CEO Malaysia: Strategy in Nation-Building. Subang Jaya: Pelanduk Publications. Horak, S.  M. (Ed.). (1985). Eastern European National Minorities 1919–1980: A Handbook. Littleton: Libraries Unlimited Inc. Horowitz, D. (1985). Ethnic Group in Conflict. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press. Horowitz, D. (2001). The Deadly Ethnic Riot. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press. Kende, P. (1992). Comment gérer le problème des minorités en Europe centrale et orientale. La Documentation française, 13–25. Kosonen, K., & Person, K. R. (2014). Languages, Identities an Education in Thailand. In P.  Sercombe & T.  Ruanni (Eds.), Language, Education and Nation-Building: Assimilation and Shift in Southeast Asia, Studies in Minorities, Languages and Communities (pp. 200–231). Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Lijphart, A. (1977). Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press. Lochak, D. (1988). Etrangers et citoyens au regard du droit. In C. Withol de Wenden (Ed.), La citoyenneté (pp. 73–85). Paris: Edilig-Fondation Diderot. Luhmann, N. (1989). Vertrauen. Ein Mechanismus der Reduktion sozialer Komplexität. Stuttgart: Enke Verlag. Mahathir, M. (1991). Malaysian: The Way Forward (Vision 2020). http://www.epu. 28 Mar 1991. Mill, J. S. (1958 [1861]). Considerations on Representative Government. New York: Liberal Arts. Montesquieu, Ch., de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu. (1949). Mes pensées. In Oeuvres complètes (Vol. 1, pp. 975–1574). Paris : Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Pierré-Caps, S. (1995). La multination. L’avenir des minorités en Europe centrale et orientale. Paris: Odile Jacob. Sundhaussen, H. (1997). Nation und Nationalstaat auf dem Balkan. Konzepte, Konsequenzen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. In J. Elvert (Ed.), Der Balkan. Eine Krisenregion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (pp.  77–90). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Talmon, J. L. (1967). Destin d’Israël. Paris: Calman-Lévi. Taylor, C. (1992). Multiculturalism and “the Politics of Recognition”. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Teh, L. (2017, July 25). Keeping Mandarin Alive. The Sun, Malaysia Daily Newspaper, p. 21. Walzer, M. (1997). On Toleration. New Haven/London: Yale University Press. Walzer, M. (1998). Traité sur la tolérance. Paris: Gallimard. Weber, M. (1956). Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr & Siebeck. Weber, M. (1968). Die “Objektivität” sozialwissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis. In W. Max (Ed.), Soziologie, Weltgeschichtliche Analysen, Politik (pp.  186–262). Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag.


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6 Linguistic Recognition in Deeply Divided Societies: Antagonism or Reconciliation? Philip McDermott and Máiréad Nic Craith

Linguistic diversity has been championed as a notion by a number of organisations such as the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the Council of Europe (CoE)  (McDermott, 2011; Spiliopoulou Åkermark, 1997). The European Commission, for instance, notes that: “the harmonious co-existence of many languages in Europe is a powerful symbol of the EU’s aspiration to be united in diversity, one of the cornerstones of the European project” (European Commission 2016). Likewise, the CoE has been ­instrumental in celebrating the “European Day of Languages” each year on 26 September, while the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in its Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights has noted the importance of finding a way “to guarantee the promotion and respect of all languages and their social use in public and in private” (UNESCO 1996). This declaration “advocates policies of cultural pluralism in the world’s increasingly diverse societies: suggesting that such pluralism is essential for harmonious interactions among groups with dynamic cultural identities” (Nic Craith 2006: 165). P. McDermott (*) School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, Ulster University, Derry, Northern Ireland e-mail: [email protected] M. Nic Craith Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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Rhetoric such as that noted above suggests that there is a widening perception that the application of language rights is crucial for the fostering of peace, stability and security in all regions of the world. Within such an understanding, language rights are perhaps even more crucial in the context of societies which are deeply fractured along ethnic lines and which are transitioning from a period of conflict to peace. In this chapter, we define a deeply divided society as one where there are deep cleavages between ethnic groups on issues relating to questions of dominance, power, territory or national sovereignty. In such societies, these contestations will largely have manifested in overt intergenerational antagonism and/or conflict. Cultural artefacts such as flags, emblems, cultural traditions, rituals and, significantly for the purposes of this piece, language become part of a process by which communities create boundaries between themselves and their ‘other’ (Ross 2012). The durability of these practices over generations is often reflective of the potential for conflict to emerge again even in times of relative stability and ‘peace’, thus indicating why issues on cultural questions such as language relate to wider questions on social stability and security. In post-conflict societies where there continues to be contestation over statehood, cultural and ethnic identities have often become central to wider political struggles. For instance, the very speaking and/or promotion of a particular language by an individual or a community can be viewed as an antagonistic act. Similarly, macro-decisions such as the recognition, or indeed non-recognition, of a language by a government in public policy can itself be viewed by different sides of an ethnic conflict as a highly emotive issue. In other words, the politics of language matters in deeply divided societies and linguistic conflicts within wider political contestations are considered as having the potential to destabilise embryonic peace processes. From the Balkans to South Africa, from Rwanda to the Basque Country, from Northern Ireland to Guatemala, the issue of language and language planning has been a controversial topic which authorities have aimed to address within peace agreements and other associated constitutional measures. Given that the efforts to solve ethnic conflicts have often focused on the alleviation of unequal power relationships between groups, it is unsurprising that international standards in minority rights protection, which developed in the aftermath of World War II, have frequently been utilised within peace processes. This chapter, therefore, considers the ways in which language rights have been recognised within peace processes, treaties or new constitutions and explores how these rights have then been applied. The case studies which we use to illustrate the points in this chapter are not exhaustive but are a means of identifying certain trends that have emerged.

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In our evaluation, we consider the different roots to recognition taken by minority languages in deeply divided societies, alluding to both the transformative and disruptive potential of such approaches. First, we consider the theoretical notion of recognition and indicate how these debates are particularly relevant to post-conflict regions. Then, we illustrate the different ways that language rights are applied or ignored at different levels. We start with the idea of non-recognition and the potential contribution of this to conflict. We then consider how language movements have been influenced at different levels. This includes input from grassroots movements, alterations to restrictive attitudes at national level and the influence of global politics in the application of language rights in deeply divided societies.

Discourses of Recognition Recognition of one’s language is hardly a matter of everyday concern for a majority/host community. For linguistic minorities, however, recognition of one’s language is more problematic and can be seen as a gauge by which the minority is accommodated and accepted within the majority community. In divided societies which are emerging from conflict, the broad question of recognition takes on greater significance and can become a major negotiating point within peace processes or new post-conflict constitutional arrangements. However, the term recognition itself encompasses a number of competing concerns under one ‘umbrella’. Recognition, on the one hand, can include ensuring that the system of individual rights for each individual citizen is adhered to (Kloss 1971). The political theorist Charles Taylor (1994) has referred to this as the politics of universalism, which requires that every citizen has identical rights (cf. Nic Craith 2003a). Proponents of the politics of universalism seek non-discrimination so that every individual receives equal treatment. They “seek to protect against harm caused by prejudice and discrimination, and therefore to restore and maintain a level playing field” (Packer 1999: 259). This process is perceived as essentially neutral and could be regarded as ‘culture-blind’ or even utopian, given social inequalities. However, in certain contexts, it is groups rather than individuals which are recognised which Taylor terms the politics of difference. Taylor (1994: 38) suggests that the politics of difference emphasises the distinctiveness rather than the sameness of each individual or group and focuses on positive discriminatory practices in order to ensure equality. “With the politics of equal dignity, what is established is meant to be universally the same, an identical basket of rights and immunities; with the politics of difference, what we are


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asked to recognize is the unique identity of this individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else” (Ibid). Advocates of the politics of difference seek positive or reverse discrimination for collectivities in order to ensure that no one suffers disadvantage. Their concern is “to protect against harm caused by identity through the effects of the normal majority rule, and also to facilitate the equal opportunity for persons belonging to minorities to maintain and develop their identity/ies” (Packer 1999: 259). Peace processes have often advocated this politics of difference by recognising the claims of those groups which have felt unjustly treated in the course of a conflict. Examples might include attempts to address unequal social and cultural opportunities against minority groups. Other types of recognition might include the representation of a minority group’s culture or language in the public space. In some instances, the quest for recognition might involve the legitimation of a minority’s language and/or cultural traditions. Failure on behalf of a majority group to recognise a particular minority community’s cultural identity can first and foremost be construed as a failure to recognise that group’s separate and distinctive identity, which might include its own trajectories, narratives and values. As Margalit and Raz state, “Individual dignity and self-respect require that the groups, membership of which contributes to one’s sense of identity, be generally respected and not be made a subject of ridicule, hatred, discrimination or persecution” (1995: 87). Non-­ recognition, therefore, could constitute an exclusion of the value and worth of these separate cultural identities (Wolf 1994: 75), which may create the conditions for conflict to emerge again (see Nic Craith 2003a).

Non-recognition The emergence of nation-states in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was often coterminous with grand claims of cultural homogeneity. Where cultural homogeneity did not exist, as was the case in most polities, civic bureaucracies and social institutions were called upon to create this. Part of this process was the embedding of a myth of ‘national’ language, often channelled through structures such as organised education systems, which, over a period of the past 200 years, rigorously obliterated regional distinctions and variances in language use. In channelling systems of power and authority through its institutions, preferred  language ‘norms’ were promoted by the state, whilst other forms of mutually intelligible speech (or dialects) were rendered marginalised, or, in the most extreme cases, ‘deviant’. In other examples, where languages from different linguistic families were spoken on the national

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territory, these were viewed as even more incompatible with the apparent ideals of national unity and thus speakers of such tongues were expected to assimilate (Nic Craith 2007). The most common example cited in the literature is France which, after the revolution in 1789, set about an ongoing process of assimilating the hundreds of mutually intelligible regional idioms into a common standard national ‘language’. At the same time, speakers of very distinct languages from different family branches, such as Basque and Breton, were expected to put civic patriotism before linguistic identity and accept standard French for overall national cohesion. As Phillipson (2007) notes, such processes were replicated elsewhere, regardless of political system, with monarchical Britain, republican France and Fascist Spain all complicit in suppressing linguistic diversity in a drive towards national cohesion. Essentially, these historical processes were the ultimate in a game of ‘recognition’ versus ‘non-recognition’ and were intricately linked with power. Of course, many, arguably all, conflicts are driven by competition for power. Ownership of the means of communication is an important element in legitimising one’s own world view while negating that of another. Therefore, language is not merely a prop used in the competition between communities, as might be the case with other cultural artefacts such as flags and icons. The non-legitimation of a language might be construed as an attempt to strip a community of its very mode of expression. Kymlicka (1995) describes how membership of a shared societal culture “provides its members with meaningful ways of life across the full range of human activities” (Kymlicka 1995: 76). Language especially plays a strong part in this concept as recognition of a community’s means of expression ensures that individuals who belong to minority groups feel a sense of belonging within a wider political union. Therefore, non-recognition of a language by a state can lead to, contribute to, or be an element in the instigation and/or maintenance of conflict. While the inherently monolingual state is no longer the norm at the beginning of the twenty-first century, conflicts over non-recognition, or very limited ­recognition, of a language are still evident. Perhaps the most prevalent case is the issue of recognition for Kurdish within the Turkish state. Since the establishment of Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, extreme policies of Turkification were implemented by successive governments. This included the promotion of the Turkish language in a process of state centralisation which did not recognise minorities such as the Kurds in official discourse and in applied language policy. Skutnabb Kangas’ concept of ‘linguicide’ has often been applied to the situation of the Kurdish language in Turkey (Skutnabb


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Kangas, 2000). It is only in recent decades (especially the 1980s and ­prolonged periods of violence between different parties) where policies of ‘linguicide’ reached their zenith (Zeydanlıoğlu 2012). While some reforms have taken place as Turkey has sought membership of the EU, it is the issue of recognition for Kurds and their culture which has been criticised within the international community.

Grassroots Recognition In reaction against a perception of non-recognition by the state, minority groups have sought to improve the status of their language through ‘informal’ means. By creating community spaces in which a minority language would be given profile, the dominant linguistic narrative of the state could be challenged. We view this as a form of recognition from ‘within’ communities themselves, at grassroots level and essentially a first step towards legitimation at national or transnational levels. Historically, European examples of a language maintaining its survival at grassroots level have included Trentino-South-Tyrol where German was suppressed when the region became a part of Italy as a consequence of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. Speakers of German, despite the prohibition on the language by Mussolini’s fascist regime, maintained the use of the language at home and in secret catacomb schools (Alcock 2001: 3). The ferocious defence and subsequent survival of the German language at grassroots level despite pressure from both Hitler and Mussolini was an important factor in the current context where German is a recognised language within this region of the Italian state (Kockel 1999; see also Giordano, this volume). During the early years of the Franco regime in Spain (1939–1975), the suppression of Catalan and Basque and other varieties was counteracted by grassroots reactionary movements. Following the decline of the Franco regime, grassroots movements became more sophisticated in their articulation of the significance of language for identity (May 2001). The emergence of ­‘community elites’ in the Basque Country, for example, facilitated debates about the inextricable link between the Basque language and Basque identity. Urla points to examples of community activism such as public lectures and publications (academic and political) which drew on the field of linguistics to legitimise claims for further recognition of the Basque language. She notes that a more organised form of discussion in the regions “has grounded the demand for language planning” and was “indispensable for the very survival of Basque culture” (1988: 114), including improvements in language policy.

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Another context in which grassroots activity has been prevalent has been in the case of the conflict and subsequent peace process in Northern Ireland. The early days of the conflict were characterised by calls by the Catholic/nationalist community for an affirmation by the state of their Irishness, which included calls for recognition of the Irish language. Since the establishment of Northern Ireland in the 1920s, the Irish language had received no state recognition and indeed the last enclave of native Irish speakers in Northern Ireland died out in the 1950s (Ó Gadhra 1988). In the early 1970s, parents of children in nationalist areas mobilised and established private Irish-medium schools as part of a revival movement which was itself a reaction to the conflict against the British state. The non-recognition of Irish at this time took on a political and countercultural approach, which was further exemplified through the adoption of the Irish language by nationalist prisoners in the Maze prison (Nic Craith 2002). Prisoners had vigorously protested against the British withdrawal of their political status and several embarked on a hunger strike. Initially, most inmates had little knowledge of Irish, but before long, many of them were studying the language. This was a symbolic challenge to the authorities of both the prison and the wider British system. In addition, the Irish language became associated at grassroots level with the politics of Sinn Féin and the wider nationalist campaign. The groundswell of interest in Irish at grassroots level created a situation where the British government could no longer ignore demands for more official recognition, which ultimately led to the inclusion of recognition of Irish in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (Nic Craith 1999). Stipulations were placed on better provision in areas like media, education and public service delivery which, although not always accepted as sufficient by Irish speakers, have been continually evolving. This ethos of intercultural dialogue, whilst still unsatisfactory for many, has started to seep into the public space (cf. McDermott et al. 2015). Grassroots movements are normally a first step to acceptance at the community level and frequently the first step on the path to legitimation/recognition. Such movements  are a local/community reaction against ‘non-recognition’ by the state which often achieve a level of sophistication that cannot be ignored by the authorities. This can, in some instances, create counter-reactions from other communities. For instance, in Northern Ireland, the emergence of Ulster-Scots as a language movement/dialect has frequently been perceived as a protestant reaction against catholic nationalist Irish (Nic Craith 2000, 2003a). At the time of writing, the language issue in Northern Ireland has become so fractious that it has been one of the key stumbling blocks in furthering the


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peace process. The provision of formalised legislation on the Irish language was a central demand of nationalist parties in early 2017. This became a hugely contentious question, following the pattern of the past decade. However, in this instance, the failure to implement a formal language act for Irish has resulted in the collapse of the local government, and the return to direct rule from Westminster in London.

State Recognition In this section, we look at the manner in which states have officially recognised languages in the public space. Recognition from within the state in which the language is spoken is a political act and does not always necessarily result in actual implementation of government policy in all areas. Nonetheless, incorporating minority languages into the realm of officialdom is a key (and necessary) step towards better provision. In the context of deeply divided societies, recognition might come in the form of a peace treaty which places emphasis on the rights of a minority language to exist and flourish. For instance, at the end of the bloody civil war in Guatemala, a new constitution was formed which emphasised equality between the indigenous and Ladino communities (Plant 1998). The indigenous population has been considered under the umbrella of Mayan identity and up until the mid-1990s, Mayan identity had little recognition in the public space. Whilst Spanish was the language of dominance, Mayan was considered incompatible with modern life. The Mayan identities were mobilised by grassroots organisations—so much so that they gained recognition in the peace legislation of the mid-1990s. In 1995, an “Agreement on Identity and Rights of the Indigenous Peoples”, which was part of the Guatemalan Peace Process, recognised the cultural identity and languages of indigenous Guatemalans, with those from within the Mayan communities the major beneficiaries. The agreement specifically referred to better provision and protection of the languages of indigenous communities in the education system, the judiciary and the public sector, including the translation of all important documents into the Mayan language (see Holmlund 1999: 37). While this process has created the conditions for a rejuvenation of Mayan culture, it was viewed with less enthusiasm by the dominant Spanish-speaking Ladino community. As Barrett notes, though vibrancy has emerged in Mayan culture, this “has not challenged the general Ladino/indigenous binary understanding of ethnic ­identity” (2008: 146).

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It is important, however, to note that state recognition of languages can occur directly as a result of the outcome of a conflict—especially in relation to those conflicts which have a clear victor. In such circumstances, the process of recognition does not necessarily guarantee equality for speakers of different languages. An example of such a multi-tiered language policy has occurred in the setting of post-genocide Rwanda, where the three most significant languages of English, French and Kinyarwanda have been accorded different levels of recognition. As a Belgian colony until 1962, French had held a particular status of privilege in Rwandan society, but this has recently waned. After the civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis and the ensuing genocide, which resulted in almost 1,000,000 deaths (see Hatzfeld 2005), French status was challenged by the encroachment of English as the dominant lingua franca. This was exemplified by the Rwandan government’s 2008 decision to remove the teaching of French in state education. Whilst English is upheld by the government as a more ‘neutral’ language than that of the former Belgian coloniser, the current framing of language preferences can be understood by the historical backdrop to the conflict and the victors in that conflict. President Paul Kagame and other political elites, who had been part of an exiled Tutsi community residing in neighbouring Uganda, had a preference for English as this was the language that they had grown up with in exile. This group, which constitutes a mere 5% of the population, returned permanently as a result of the Rwandan Patriotic Front victory in the civil war of the mid-1990s. By contrast, Samuelson and Freedman note how even today French continues to be viewed as “the language of Hutu who lived in Rwanda prior to the wars and genocide” (2010: 194). A period of Hutu political dominance from the late 1950s to the 1990s, alongside French’s status as the language of administration at this time, had cemented this position. Consequently, the removal of French clearly had undertones of identity politics. What is clear is that Rwanda has witnessed a geopolitical shift from being in a Francophone to an Anglophone sphere of interest (Kiwuwa 2012). Although the Rwandan government has ostensibly promoted a more equal society, it has at the same time stripped away the right to self-identity. Ethnic terms such as ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’ have been prohibited in an attempt to create national cohesion. Moreover, the process of language recognition has largely ignored Kinyarwanda, the language spoken by the majority of Rwandans across various ethnic groups. Indeed, the  Kinyarwanda language has not been seized upon as a unifying symbol in areas such as education (Ibid: 192). Instead, the political elites have replaced one former colonial language with another. While this may also have been motivated by economic factors, identity politics has played a huge role in creating multi-tiered and unequal levels of recognition in Rwanda.


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This is quite different to the situation in South Africa, where in the post-­ apartheid era, the language of the state has become “arguably the most ­progressive constitutional language provision on the African continent” (Bamgbose 2003). In that instance, the languages of 99% of the population were accorded equal status with the former colonial languages, English and Afrikaans. Not only has recognition been provided, but constitutional measures for previously marginalised languages have also been put in place. This has included the establishment, through an Act of Parliament, of the Pan South African Language Board, whose remit is to promote multilingualism in South Africa and improve status language planning, education in the official languages, place name recognition and interpreting and translation at state level (Beukes 2004: 7; Pan South African Language Board 2016). This undeniably increased the status of those languages which had not been officially recognised during the Apartheid regime—an issue which we return to later in this chapter.

Transnational Recognition In some cases, language policy in post-conflict societies is influenced by geopolitics from beyond the state’s borders. This might include influence from a more powerful state like the USA, Russia or indeed a supranational body like the EU, CoE or UN. In this section, for purposes of illustration, we draw on the manner in which the EU and other European human rights bodies, such as the CoE, have influenced language recognition policy in post-conflict societies. As noted above, in Rwanda, the Kinyarwanda language had been largely considered at a lower status than English and French (Sibomana 2016). In 2016, UNESCO promoted the wider teaching of Kinyarwanda at all levels of schooling—not just early years, through its International Mother Language Day. The day, which followed the global theme on quality of education and language of instruction, championed an improvement in the status of the indigenous language. The Head of the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture was present and noted that it was “a good occasion to ponder about the value of Kinyarwanda language as the channel of national unity and development” (Mbaraga 2016). This shows the potential influence an international body can have on local attitudes towards indigenous languages which may eventually overturn dominant government attitudes. Another example is the case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia). In this instance, the EU and the USA were heavily involved in the drafting of the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement. This peace treaty

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aimed to end a period of paramilitary-style conflict between state forces and elements of the Albanian minority (McEvoy 2011). With regard to language rights, the peace framework has facilitated the official use of Albanian (and others) in those local jurisdictions where 20% or more of the local population speak that language. This has benefitted speakers of minority languages in such jurisdictions through improved public sector provision and in the education sector which has seen an increase in the amount of bilingual and multilingual schooling. Monitoring of the Framework arguably has taken place through European Human Rights Mechanisms, particularly the CoE’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM) (CoE 1995; cf. Spiliopoulou Åkermark), which FYR Macedonia became a party to in 1997. A recent report by the Advisory Committee of the FCPNM affirmed the development of a strong presence of minority languages in education (CoE 2011: 2). However, the monitoring process is not without criticism of language policy and noted the tensions caused by the introduction of compulsory Macedonian language classes for all children, regardless of ethnic background, from the first year of schooling. The decision, it is noted, was subsequently reversed due to social protest (Ibid: 17). It also criticised the lack of intercultural dialogue on public media (Ibid: 7). These examples illustrate the potential utility of transnational influence on language policy in post-­ conflict societies. This impact has also been felt in other regions like Northern Ireland (McMonagle and McDermott 2014). International influence in language planning is also evident in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where both the USA and the EU played a direct and indirect role with regard to language planning decisions in the region. Prior to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the language of the state was defined as Serbo-Croat, a Slavic language spoken throughout the region with its own distinct yet mutually intelligible regional variations. However, in the years of rumbling discontent in the lead up to the civil wars and immediately after, the politics of language has been emblematic of animosities in the region (cf. Tollefson 2002). Croatia, Serbia and, to an extent, Slovenia, in the 1980s and 1990s, set about defining what had previously been regarded as distinct variations of the same language into separate languages. The role of academies, lexicographers, linguists and politicians were crucial in each region in a process which was essentially concerned with emphasising each vernacular’s unique characteristics—a process that could be likened to the language ­movements of nineteenth-century romanticism in Europe (see Barbour and Carmichael 2000).


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For much of the period prior leading up to the war, the language spoken in Bosnia had been accepted by linguists as a dialect of Serbo-Croat, which reflected the region’s geographic location in-between Serbia and Croatia. This ‘in-betweeness’ had created an idiom reflective of connections to Serbia, Croatia and the Ottoman Empire. As a result, borrowings from Serbian and Croatian were common, as was a certain prevalence of Turkish and Arabic loanwords (see Greenberg 2004: 144; Naylor 1978). It was only in the period after 1992, amidst the animosities from a fragmenting Yugoslavia, as well as the development of the language movements in the other regions, that more sustained demands for a recognition of a separate Bosnian language emerged— one which rejected the label of dialect. The work of linguists such as Senahid Halilović (Greenberg 2004) was responsible for providing scholarly impetus in the legitimation and recognition of the emerging Bosnian language in the early 1990s. However, at a political level, the publication of the 1995 Peace Accords, drafted in Dayton, Ohio, has been regarded as a seminal moment in the recognition of Bosnian’s linguistic status. The agreement set out the blueprint for the peace process, with the ensuing constitutional arrangements largely enforced from above, especially under the watch of the EU and USA. However, the actual peace talks held in 1995 provide a particular point of recognition for Bosnian (see Askew 2011). First, the US authorities provided interpreters in Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian despite the ability of delegates to fully understand each other’s speech varieties. Second, when the accords were published officially, they included written versions in the Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian standards. Indeed, these processes have led some observers to note that “the Dayton Process gave the Bosnian language legitimacy and international recognition” (Ibid: 136). In the post-conflict Bosnian state, whose largest communities are Serbians, Croatians and Bosniaks (Muslims), international agents such as the EU continue to shadow/chaperone the peace process. While no official language is denoted in the constitution, the Bosnian language has grown in acceptance almost exclusively amongst Bosnian Muslims, whilst this idiom has largely been rejected by the Bosnian-Croats and Bosnian-Serbs who prefer to refer to their own varieties of speech as Croatian and Serbian, respectively. Such fragmented definitions have created antagonisms in fields such as education which have been played out through a zero-sum game of language identification. In some cases, especially in the western part of Bosnia close to the Croatian border, communities have articulated demands for their children “to be taught in their own Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language” and for this to be provided through “funding of separate schools or classes”, which often creates

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segregation along language and ethnic lines in the same school building (Pupavac 2006: 75). Other recent examples of linguistic antagonisms have also been evident in Slovenia and Croatia. In Slovenia, it is still the case that those who speak Slovene but whose first language is Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian have felt under immense pressure to speak with no trace of an accent from their mother tongue so as to avoid ethnic discrimination. In Croatia, the language issue appeared to have dissipated by the mid-2000s but has resurfaced amidst insecurities created by the 2008 financial crisis and the recent Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Language has come to the fore again as a key marker of the ‘nation’, particularly in the town of Vukovar where veterans of the 1990s wars have resisted the introduction of Cyrillic  (Serbian) street signs. At the national level, the heavy promotion of Croatian publications as a criterion for academic tenureship is only one example of this resurgence of language politics (see Hodges 2017).

Critique of Current Approaches Our earlier examples in this chapter focused on issues of non-recognition of languages in the public space. Theorists of liberal multiculturalism note that the non-recognition of cultural and linguistic minorities forces groups to maintain their own identities in clusters rather than encouraging wider participation in the public space. Iris Young (2002) states that non-recognition of cultural difference has led to the oppression of many minority groups and that recognition of groups is required to address this. In relation to linguistic diversity in particular, Kymlicka states that language is one form of a societal culture and that providing minorities access to such cultures is vital because of the role language “plays in enabling meaningful individual choice and in supporting self-identity” (1995: 105). Therefore, advocating group rights that support wider participation is “not only consistent with liberal values, but is actually promoting them” (Ibid: 106). At the same time, critics of multiculturalism argue that it is precisely the advocacy of these rights which creates such silos in the first place (cf. Barry 2001). This is an argument frequently referred to in academic, media and policy discourses. In the case of divided societies, the notion of “high fences make good neighbours” is frequently employed as a critique of peace processes which advocate a politics of difference. Therefore, the fundamental question that comes to the fore in both arguments is an absence of focus on intercultural dialogue. The examples cited in our chapter exemplify issues relating to


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language in contested public spaces and have focused on attempts of individuals or groups to assert their identity in their language of choice. However, enabling individuals to use their language of choice or indeed the imposition of a “language of choice” does not necessarily encourage dialogue and understanding across the divide. It is such dialogue which is necessary for conflict amelioration or resolution. A simple, inflexible principle of recognition for diverse cultural groups can be perceived as having serious implications for the identity of a majority and can be viewed as a threat. If a cultural other is to receive recognition (however small), the larger community may lose its historical prerogative to dominance. However, such historical prerogative needs to be managed if societies in conflict are to move forward. As Habermas (1996: 289) notes, if “different cultural, ethnic and religious subcultures are to co-exist and interact on equal terms within the same political community, the majority culture must give up its historical prerogative to define the official terms of the generalized political culture, which is to be shared by all citizens, regardless of where they come from and how they live” (see also Giordano, this volume). Given these theoretical concerns, we end our chapter with a discussion on whether language recognition in post-conflict societies problematises matters further and contributes to conditions of further conflict or serves to alleviate them. In simple terms, does recognition of language rights antagonise or reconcile? It is clear that, in some instances, recognition of language rights has heightened rather than softened political views. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance, the increasing politicisation of language and identity has, some critics argued, heightened tensions and drawn metaphorical and actual boundaries between communities. There has been an increasing use of ‘language rights’ rhetoric which has been drawn upon by various populations to further the recognition of their own identities—such as in the case of education or the recognition of a particular language used in public signage. However, some observers have been critical of these processes for merely creating linguistic boundaries between communities where previously they did not exist (Pupavac 2006). This polarises a divided society rather than creating the conditions which would lead to further conflict resolution. However, in many cases, political elites in divided societies have apparently manipulated the system of language rights itself in a game of ‘zero-sum’ politics. In the Ukraine, for example, contestations over territory and power have often been reflected in language politics. Whilst Russian is widely utilised as a language of the “Ukrainian business, cultural and political elite” (Charnysh 2013: 6; Kulyk 2011: 630), it is still a contested symbol for many. This is particularly pronounced in those regions along the Eastern border where large

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sections of the population self-identify as ethnic Russian. This has been further complicated by splits between Ukrainian parties whose ideological positions prioritise relationships either with Russia or the EU. In 2012, the pro-Moscow government introduced a law which elevated the status of languages spoken by over 10% of regional or city jurisdictions. Although this might appear to be an attempt to recognise language rights of minority communities, the primary beneficiaries of this were in fact the Russian-speaking minority who were not inherently disadvantaged in a society which (as noted above) privileged Russian in public and commercial spaces. Moreover, the approach was justified in that this was merely meeting the expectations of language rights contained in documents such as the CoE’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (CoE 1992; cf. Nic Craith 2003b). In this instance, the geopolitics of the day was used to frame debates on language rights within wider antagonistic debates on Ukraine’s relationship with Europe and Russia. Although the language law “claimed to promote the norms enshrined in the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages (1992), the furtive manner in which it was passed and the 10% threshold designed to benefit the least disadvantaged minority  – Russians – suggest other motives were at play” (Charnysh 2013: 1). Attempts to repeal the Language law ensued in February 2014 after the pro-Moscow government of Viktor Yanukovych was overturned. There was much criticism of this move from transnational organisations that argued again that the best approach was to accommodate the different language groups, which would include consolidating the position of the Ukrainian language. These debates and the threat of repeal contributed to unrest and antagonised the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and arguably played a part in the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014. Unsatisfactory language recognition was one of the issues which contributed to the growing discontent among both Russian and Ukrainian speakers who felt that not enough has been done to solidify their language status. The relinquishment of power is frequently a key issue to negotiate in the application of language rights in deeply divided societies. Earlier in this ­chapter, we noted how the post-apartheid era in South Africa had been characterised by an ethos of plurilingualism. This has not gone without difficulty—particularly for those who had previously been in positions of dominance. The advocacy of plurilingualism has gone hand in hand with discourses of decolonisation that have arguably problematised the recognition of all languages in South Africa. Recently, the social mobility of Black South Africans has increased student numbers from this section of society at u ­ niversities. Subsequently, calls have


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been initiated to remove the teaching of courses through the Afrikaans language, which has deeply angered sections of this formerly dominant group. Therefore, in this case, the concept of plurilingualism has been viewed as the domain of the previously dominated. Here, the communicative function of Afrikaans has been trumped by the symbolic perceptions of others towards the language. Whilst structures for language recognition have been put in place, attitudinal issues towards languages and their speakers are still key barriers in the journey towards reconciliation (cf. BBC 2016). Despite reservations held by some towards the application of language rights in deeply divided societies, we feel that the importance of this process is a requirement in the journey towards reconciliation. Monolingualism is a denial of social reality, and a misrecognition is deeply embedded in unequal systems of power which themselves cause conflict. At the beginning of this chapter, we mentioned some historical examples of monolingualism which have successfully achieved a balance between language recognition of a majority and a minority language and have accommodated the demands of different language groups. Such examples include the case of South-Tyrol in Italy, Schleswig-Holstein on the German-Danish border and, to an extent, Catalan in Spain (cf. Kockel 1999). In some of these instances, ‘language conflict’ is played out through democratic processes which distinguishes these examples from those which have witnessed recent armed conflict. Both authors’ research has spanned the period of the peace process in Northern Ireland and both have lived there and conducted research on the development of policy for the Irish language. In the early years of the peace process, there were key difficulties in the sharing of narratives and the ownership of symbols and cultural artefacts (Nic Craith 2002; McDermott et al. 2015). However, the Northern Irish government, with support from the EU, has continually engaged in building an ethos of ‘shared space’. This has included the development of infrastructural projects in places like city centres as well as advocating the idea of sharing narratives on contested symbols, including languages. An example which illustrates investment in such cultural infrastructure includes the increased public funding of spaces for language learning and dissemination, such as Irish-language cultural centres (Gael Arais) in cities like Belfast and Derry. The state funding of Irish-medium schooling has also been significant (Nic Craith 1999). Indeed, these processes of ‘normalisation’ have paid dividend in reaching out to the ‘other’. In Belfast, for example, state funded Irish language classes have been established for Protestant unionists to learn the language. This has been a radical departure as, traditionally, Protestants had distanced themselves from a language they viewed as correlating with the politics of Irish

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nationalism, thus threatening their constitutional position within the UK. Such an alteration has been made possible through the promotion of a more complex historical narrative which draws attention to the efforts made by the Protestant intelligentsia of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in saving the Irish language in a period of steady decline. This is a small example of interculturality in a deeply divided society which would not have been possible had it not been for the formal accommodation of the Irish language in the public space.

Conclusion At the beginning of this chapter, we noted the significance of international organisations such as the EU, the UN or the CoE for championing linguistic diversity. In an increasingly diverse and divided world, the recognition of language rights at all levels cannot be ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. At a transnational level, the linguistic landscape is volatile. The vote in the UK in 2016 to leave the EU and the consequent removal of most of the native speakers of English from the Union will inevitably have consequences for the status of English—not just within the EU but also on a world stage. Although Spanish is the second language of the USA, that language has disappeared from the White House website. The UN regards the protection of minority languages as a human rights obligation, but this does not always extend to speakers of different languages worldwide. A 2017 handbook on the language rights of linguistic minorities developed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority issues noted the significance of language rights in conflict amelioration. The Report noted that if not properly addressed in a balanced, reasonable way, linguistic rights issues “can lead to sentiments of alienation or marginalization and potentially instability or conflict” (United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues 2017: 6). It argued that “ethnic tensions and conflicts within a state are more likely to be avoided where language rights are in place to address the causes of alienation, marginalization and exclusion” (Ibid: 9). Our chapter has evidenced that language issues are at the core of conflict in many divided societies. Recognition of language rights can do much to alleviate tensions. However, it seems that despite the widening perception that language rights are crucial for stability, many governments at the beginning of the twenty-first century still underestimate the significance of language for issues of identity and stability. This chapter has outlined many of the key debates in relation to the application of language rights in deeply divided societies. Processes of recognition


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can create conditions for neighbours to live side by side in peace. Language rights on their own, however, do not necessarily create dialogue between groups, which we feel is an essential next step in the journey towards peace. In writing this chapter, it became apparent that prominent examples of communities engaging with the language of their other in post-conflict societies are somewhat limited whilst, ironically, immigrants in such societies have been more open to engaging with the linguistic diversity even though their own languages often go unrecognised (cf. McDermott 2017). It is still often the case that indigenous groups in divided societies view the languages of competing groups as symbolic of the antithesis of their own political identity. Perhaps monitoring processes of international law have been largely satisfied when communities can live side by side in ‘peace’. Yet, this rumbling discontent hardly creates the conditions for intergenerational stability. Therefore, we would advocate a more transformative position on language rights—one that actively champions using language diversity as a prism through which to promote intercultural understanding. We recognise that this is a huge challenge. However, given that language issues have been so integral in contributing to the conditions for conflict to emerge, as indicated in this chapter, it is a challenge which cannot be ignored.

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Charnysh, V. (2013). Analysis of Current Events: Identity Mobilization in Hybrid Regimes: Language in Ukrainian Politics. Nationalities Papers, 41(1), 1–14. CoE. (1992). European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Strasbourg: CoE. CoE. (1995). Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Strasbourg: CoE. CoE. (2011). Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Third Opinion on “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Adopted on 30 March 2011. Strasbourg. ACFC/OP/III(2011)001. European Commission. (2016). European Commission Website: Languages and Linguistic Diversity. Available on WWW at linguistic-diversity/index_en.htm Greenberg, R. D. (2004). Language and Identity in the Balkans: Serbo-Croatian and Its Disintegration. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Habermas, J. (1996). The European Nation-State: Its Achievements and Its Limits. In G. H. Balakrishnan, & B. Anderson (Eds.), Mapping the Nation (pp. 281–294). London: Verso. Hatzfeld, J.  (2005). Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Hodges, A. (2017). A Slow Conservative Revolution? Academia, Clientelism and the  Right in Croatia. Available on WWW at Holmlund, A. K. (1999). Indigenous Rights in Guatemala – The Observance of the Agreement on Identity and Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. Unpublished Masters Thesis University of Lund, Sweden. unc=downloadFile&recordOId=1558383&fileOId=1564635. Accessed 15 Dec 2016. Kiwuwa, D. (2012). Ethnic Politics and Democratic Transition in Rwanda. London: Routledge. Kloss, H. (1971). Language Rights of Immigrant Groups. International Migration Review, 5(2), 250–268. Kockel, U. (1999). Borderline Cases: The Ethnic Frontiers of European Integration. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Kulyk, V. (2011). Language Identity, Linguistic Diversity and Political Cleavages: Evidence from Ukraine. Nations and Nationalism, 17(3), 627–648. Kymlicka, W. (1995). Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Margalit, A., & Raz, J. (1995). National Self-Determination. In W. Kymlicka (Ed.), The Rights of Minority Cultures (pp. 79–92). Oxford: Oxford University Press. May, S. (2001). Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity. Nationalism, and the Politics of Language. London: Pearson. Mbaraga, J. (2016). Rwanda to Mark World Mother Language Day. The New Times. Accessed 17 Dec 2016.


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McDermott, P. (2011). Migrant Languages in the Public Space: A Case Study from Northern Ireland. Munster: Lit Verlag. McDermott. (2017). Language Rights and the Council of Europe: A Failed Response to a Multilingual Continent? Ethnicities, 17(5), 603–626. McDermott, P., Nic Craith, M., & Strani, K. (2015). Public Space, Collective Memory and Intercultural Dialogue in a (UK) City of Culture. Identities, 23(5), 610–627. McEvoy, J. (2011). Managing Culture in Post-conflict Societies. Contemporary Social Science, 6(1), 55–71. McMonagle, S., & McDermott, P. (2014). Transitional Politics and Language Rights in a Multi-ethnic Northern Ireland: Towards a True Linguistic Pluralism? Ethnopolitics, 13(3), 245–266. Naylor, K. E. (1978). The Eastern Variant of Serbo-Croatian as the Lingua Communis of Yugoslavia. Folia Slavica, 1(3), 456–460. Nic Craith, M. (1999). Irish Speakers in Northern Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 20(6), 494–507. Nic Craith, M. (2000). Contested Identities and the Quest for Legitimacy. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 21(5), 399–413. Nic Craith, M. (2002). Plural Identities, Singular Narratives: The Case of Northern Ireland. New York: Berghahn. Nic Craith, M. (2003a). Culture and Identity Politics in Northern Ireland. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Nic Craith, M. (2003b). Facilitating or Generating Linguistic Diversity: The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In G.  Hogan-Brun & S.  Wolff (Eds.), Minority Languages in Europe: Frameworks, Status, Prospects (pp. 56–72). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Nic Craith, M. (2006). Europe and the Politics of Language: Citizens, Migrants, Outsiders. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Nic Craith, M. (2007). Languages and Power: Accommodation and Resistance. In Language, Power and Identity Politics (pp. 1–20). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Ó Gadhra, Ó. (1988). Irish Government Policy and Political Development of the Gaeltacht. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 1(3), 251–261. Packer, J.  (1999). Problems in Defining Minorities. In D.  Fottrell & B.  Bowring (Eds.), Minority and Group Rights in the New Millennium (pp.  223–274). Amsterdam: Kluwer Law International. Pan South African Language Board. (2016). Official Website. http://www.pansalb. org/. Accessed 17 Dec 2016. Phillipson, R. (2007). Linguistic Imperialism: A Conspiracy, or a Conspiracy of Silence? Language Policy, 6(3–4), 377–383. Plant, R. (1998). Ethnicity and the Guatemalan Peace Process: Conceptual and Practical Challenges. In R.  Siedler (Ed.), Guatemala After the Peace Accords (pp. 80–96). London: Institute of Latin American Studies.

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Pupavac, V. (2006). Language Rights in Conflict and the Denial of Language as Communication. International Journal of Human Rights, 10(1), 61–78. Ross, M. H. (Ed.). (2012). Culture and Belonging in Divided Societies: Contestation and Symbolic Landscapes. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Samuelson, B.  L., & Freedman, S.  W. (2010). Language Policy, Multilingual Education, and Power in Rwanda. Language Policy, 9(3), 191–215. Sibomana, E. (2016). “Kinyarwanda Doesn’t Have a Place in Communication at our Schools”: Linguistic, Psychological and Educational Effects on Banning One’s Mother Tongue. Rwandan Journal, 3, 23–40. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000). Linguistic Genocide in Education  – Or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? Mahwah/London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Spiliopoulou Åkermark, A. (1997). Justifications of Minority Protection in International Law. London: Kluwer. Taylor, C. (1994). The Politics of Recognition. In C. Taylor (Ed.), Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (pp. 25–73). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Tollefson, J. W. (2002). Language Rights and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. In J. W. Tollefson (Ed.), Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues (pp.  179–199). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. UNESCO. (1996). The Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights. Barcelona: UNESCO. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. (2017). Handbook by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. Linguistic%20Minorities%20–%20A%20practical%20Guide%20for%20implementation.pdf Urla, J.  (1988). Ethnic Protest and Social Planning: A Look at Basque Language Revival. Cultural Anthropology, 3(4), 379–394. Wolf, S. (1994). Comment. In A. Gutman (Ed.), Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (pp. 75–85). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Young, I. M. (2002). Inclusion and Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zeydanlıoğlu, W. (2012). Turkey’s Kurdish Language Policy. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 217, 99–125.

7 National Cultural Autonomy and Linguistic Rights in Central and Eastern Europe Federica Prina, David J. Smith, and Judit Molnar Sansum

This chapter examines the theory and practice of non-territorial National Cultural Autonomy (NCA) from the perspective of linguistic rights of national minorities in four countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Russia, Estonia, Hungary and Serbia.1 The NCA concept was first developed in the twilight of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is based on the “personality principle”—the notion that ethno-linguistic communities can be autonomous (and sovereign) within a multi-ethnic state, regardless of their members’ place of residence. In its original conceptualisation, it envisaged the establishment of self-government in the spheres of culture and education, where local languages would be employed. Subsequent practical application of the NCA concept has been limited to only a few cases, with the closest approximation to the original model being found in Estonia during the 1920s (Coakley 2016; Smith and Hiden 2012). The notion has, however, intermittently formed the object of wider discussion, with a rediscovery particularly since the 1990s. In addition to raising the interest of academics (Malloy et al. 2015; Nimni 1999, 2005, 2007; Nimni et al. 2013; Roach 2005; Smith and Cordell 2008), NCA has been incorporated into the law and practice of several CEE post-Communist countries. As an alternative form of diversity management, NCA is explored here as a potential vehicle to advance the linguistic rights of national minorities and F. Prina (*) • D. J. Smith • J. M. Sansum Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]; Judit. [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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linguistic pluralism in CEE. Following an overview on NCA’s original model, the chapter outlines the practice of NCA in Russia, Estonia, Hungary and Serbia. These countries were chosen in light of the fact that they all have adopted NCA legislation in the post-Communist period.

 on-territorial Cultural Autonomy and Linguistic N Rights Non-territorial autonomy has been described as “one policy tool of a greater family of statecraft tools”—including the more well-known and widely researched forms of territorial autonomy (e.g. Hannum 1990; Lapidoth 1997; Suksi 1998; Weller and Wolff 2005)—that “aims to consolidate the state and promote social unity through accommodating ethno-cultural demands and requirements” (Malloy 2015: 1). There are two main approaches to non-­ territorial cultural autonomy: as a general principle of an ethnic group’s autonomy in managing its internal (primarily cultural and linguistic) affairs and as a system of ethnicity-based institutions that manage autonomously public competences (again, in the cultural and linguistic realm), regardless of place of residence (Osipov 2013b: 9). We focus here on the second approach, in the sense of cultural (also known as “personal”) autonomy (Lapidoth 1997: 37–40). This type of arrangement is clearly auspicious when multiple ethnic groups inhabit same territory, which precludes territorial solutions to diversity management. While there have been historical precedents of NCA—for example, in the shape of the millet system in the Ottoman empire2—a theory was only elaborated by Austro-Marxists Karl Renner and Otto Bauer, starting with Renner’s 1899 article State and Nation.3 The publication of State and Nation had been preceded already by decades of social transformation in CEE. These changes created a crisis of what had been “constants” of the socio-political order since the Middle Ages. Modernising reforms indirectly strengthened ethnic identity, which also translated into a struggle for linguistic equality, as non-dominant groups came to see a connection between their social inequality and linguistic difference. Meanwhile, new forms of group solidarity compensated for the crisis of decaying “constants” (Hroch 2007a, b): language connected individuals of the same ethno-linguistic background by creating a sense of community (Stokes 1974: 536–7). Language was then placed at the forefront of national movements, from its codification/standardisation to the struggle for national schools and the use of non-dominant languages in public administration (Fishman 1972;

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Gellner 1987: 24; Hroch 2007a, b). The link between nationalism and language resulted in the belief that a nation’s existence was directly menaced by a possible loss of its language (Fishman 1972: 54; Hroch 2007b: 93) and, in turn, that language preservation was a prerequisite for the survival of national identity. In this context, national movements were believed by the Austro-Marxists as likely to dismember the state.4 The problem was linked to territoriality— namely, the fact that a numerical minority tends to be subjected to the domination of the majority within a state, with the routine imposition of its legal system as well as its language (Renner 2005 [1899]: 27–8). Renner started from the premise that “the territorial principle […] can only produce struggle or oppression, because its essence is domination” (Renner 2005: 28): specifically in relation to language, Renner referred to the postulate of cuius region illius lingua, which caused the “state language” to become “a perennial source of strife” (Renner 2005: 30). The proposed solution was a shift of emphasis from territory to nations (as personal associations) and, consequently, from states to peoples. Indeed, in Renner’s opinion, problems associated with the “national question” stemmed from the fact that “[w]e still cannot rid ourselves of the patrimonial approach to the state constitution, according to which an administrative authority is above all attached to a region to which in turn … people belong” (Renner 2005: 36). By turning this paradigm upside down, each community would be afforded the agency to organise the (cultural) life of the nation by exercising their collective rights. Clearly, one cannot completely do away with territory: institutions are physically located in particular districts, and factors such as geographical density of individual settlements do play a role in the organisation of such communities (Renner 2005: 31). At the same time, NCA would incorporate a novel feature: the differentiation between spheres of general administration (involving the country—and its nations—as a whole, such as security and the military) and cultural issues (pertaining to each nation). This would lead to (a cultural form of ) self-determination, while not infringing upon the state’s (politico-administrative) competences. In practice, in multi-ethnic areas, various ethnicities would form national councils (NCs) to deal with ethnicity-related matters autonomously, while the municipality’s politico-administrative functions would be distributed partly to the national community and partly to joint colleges headed by a state functionary (Renner 2005: 35–6). NCs would include representatives democratically elected on the basis of national registers, following enrolment on the basis of self-identification. This system envisaged the ethnic community’s own language as the working language in national self-administrating bodies.5


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Consequently, even if persons belonging to minorities employed a lingua franca as a means of (inter-ethnic) communication,6 minority languages would continue to be widely employed in local institutions, also in light of the fact that education (up to tertiary level7) would be available in these languages (Renner 2005: 39, 43–5). Communities were to be equipped with their own finances to sustain their institutions (including schools) operating in local languages through a portion of the taxes paid by members of the community themselves. As Nimni (1999: 298; 2007: 348–9) argues, the resulting cultural autonomy would free a nation from the condition of “minority” in need of protection, as “[t]he status of national minorities is a by-product of a national state that has a sovereign national majority” (Nimni 2007: 348). In this way, the Austro-Marxists attempted to create an innovative model, overcoming age-old practices by transcending territoriality-centred approaches. It was an effort “to break out of normative straightjackets”, as Nimni (1999: 295) writes. Some features of the NCA model are ­forward-­looking, even by today’s standards: NCA upheld the notions of minorities’ empowerment and collective rights by arguing that these communities ought to control their cultural destiny and actively participate in the affairs of the state. This can seem particularly aspirational in today’s world, where minorities’ collective rights remain controversial, a state’s monolingualism is often considered desirable—as it simplifies and expedites state administration—and states (rather than nations) remain the principal actors in international relations. In this sense, NCA has been seen as a hope for greater accommodation of the rights of nations (Nimni 1999, 2007), including their linguistic rights, while also reflecting the modern criticism of the nation-state’s “sovereign territorial ideal” that routinely places minorities in a subordinated position vis-à-vis the majority (see, e.g. Nootens 2006). Indeed, the nationstate, even when purporting to treat all citizens equally, tends to be fundamentally assimilationist (Ra’anan 1991: 20–25): state “neutrality” vis-à-vis various communities has then been described by Nimni (2007: 351) as a “chimera”, while others (Kymlicka and Grin 2003; Kymlicka and Patten 2003; Wright 2001: 48) have pointed out that the choice of a state language can never be considered “neutral” (in the sense of fulfilling a purely communicative—and thus “instrumental”—function). Rather, this choice carries an underlying social and political significance: it can then become a “perennial source of strife”, as Renner (2005: 30) argued. In the 1990s, the post-Communist states considered in this chapter were—like the Austro-Marxists nearly a century earlier—attempting to find new solutions to old problems. They were grappling with drastic socio-political changes while also having inherited a highly complex

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(socio-)linguistic situation (Paulston and Peckham 1998; Pavlenko 2008; Sloboda et  al. 2016) with a striking politicisation of language issues (Kamusella 2009).8 The resulting instability created new fears of societal fragmentation along ethnic, social and political lines. Apprehension over a possible torrent of demands of territorial autonomy was particularly evident in Russia. In Estonia, the primary concern was regulating relations between the substantial minority (and former dominant group) of ethnic Russians and the titular majority group. In Hungary, the priority was the creation of a system of reciprocity which, by safeguarding the rights of Hungary’s ethnic minorities, would simultaneously act to promote the rights of Hungarian co-ethnics residing outside Hungary. Claims by the local Hungarian minority were in turn a key driver behind the adoption of NCA legislation in neighbouring Serbia, as it sought new ways of accommodating ethno-linguistic diversity following the dissolution of the federal union with Montenegro and the secession of Kosovo.

 CA Laws and Practice in Central and Eastern N Europe During the period of post-Communist transition, CEE countries reached out to various models to stabilise their inter-ethnic relations. The countries considered in this chapter made the choice to incorporate NCA in their strategies for diversity accommodation. As different motivations guided the governments of these states, NCA can be seen as having fulfilled—at least partially— a historically determined political function. At the same time, this chapter focuses on another possible function: the potential role played by NCA in enhancing the linguistic rights of minorities, including by reflecting the spirit of the original NCA model.

Russia Russia is an exceptionally vast multi-ethnic and plurilingual country. Cultural, linguistic, ethnic and linguistic diversity has been a feature across the tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras. In the 2010 census, as many as 19.1% of the population declared themselves non-Russian. Census data list 193 minority groups and subgroups, of which the largest are Tatars (3.87% of the population), Ukrainians (1.40%), Bashkirs (1.15%), Chuvashes (1.05%) and Chechens (1.04%).9 The census recorded 169 languages10 besides Russian.


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Characteristic of Russia is also its ethno-territorial federalism, introduced during the Soviet period. In light of this legacy, the Law “On National Cultural Autonomy”11 (hereinafter “the NCA Law”) was adopted in 1996 as a form of extra-territorial accommodation of minority interests, with a view to pre-empting claims for supplementary ethnicity-based territorial f­ ormations from the numerous ethnic groups which had not been “assigned” a territory during the Soviet period.12 At the same time, NCA has continued to coexist with ethno-territorial federalism. Thus, for example, the Republic of Tatarstan exists alongside a network of Tatar national cultural autonomies (NCAs).13 In fact, the NCA system aims at complementing ethnic federalism: NCA provisions apply to groups “in a situation of minority”:14 this means titular nationalities outside “their own” territorial units and those without a territory named after them (“non-titular” nationalities), no matter how small. The provisions contained in the NCA Law are, for the most part, vague and declarative. For example, Article 4 stipulates that an NCA “has the right to receive support from the organs of state power and the organs of local self-­ government, that are necessary for the preservation of national distinctiveness (samobytnost’), the development of national (native) language and national culture”. Even though the expression “right” is employed, this and other related provisions have not been interpreted as conferring corresponding ­obligations on the state (i.e. to provide funding for their realisation). Similarly, the Law refers to NCAs’ “right” to establish media outlets operating in ­minority languages, receive and impart information in such languages and establish minority educational institutions, but no specific mechanisms are envisioned.15 NCA in Russia was meant to streamline interaction between the state and minority communities by creating an integrated system comprising institutions at the local, regional and federal level. At the same time, there is no clear differentiation in terms of role, rights or responsibilities between NCAs and other institutions promoting minority languages and cultures (such as cultural centres and NGOs that have opted not to register as NCAs). This results in only partial streamlining of efforts towards the preservation of cultural and linguistic pluralism and of exchanges between government and minority representative institutions. Since the NCA Law’s adoption in 1996, there has been few tangible effects resulting from its implementation (Osipov 2013a; see also Bowring 2005, 2007). At the regional and federal levels, NCA institutions have remained at the periphery of the formulation of state policies. And generally, opportunities for civil society to feed into decision-making have been much restricted through legal and policy changes under Putin.16 Moreover, there is no legal obligation to elect representatives in NCAs; while many have

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opted to do so, electors are persons who have chosen to affiliate themselves to NCA institutions and participate in their activities rather than the ethnic community in the wider sense, which can raise issues of representation. Unlike in Renner’s model, Russia’s NCAs do not directly run their own educational institutions. NCAs’ activities remain frequently linked to inter-­ ethnic festivals, with an ethnographic, folkloristic flavour typical of the Soviet period. At the same time, in Russia, language has historically been considered a highly salient ethnic marker, and NCA representatives recognise it as indissolubly linked to identity preservation.17 Consequently, today, NCAs devote considerable attention to language issues. Their activities in this sphere have included teaching of languages (through NCA institutions themselves), cooperation with schools (e.g. in producing teaching materials, including textbooks for the teaching of minority languages)18 and monitoring the fulfilment of legal obligations in the sphere of minority-language education. Language tuition outside the formal education system is often provided directly by NCAs. This involves the teaching of minority languages, particularly through Sunday schools, by volunteers but also by teachers remunerated by NCAs. In the case of migrants moving to Russia for work and better financial prospects—who mostly originate from Central Asia and the South Caucasus—NCAs fulfil a dual role by aiding their integration and preserving their linguistic distinctiveness. The Russian government’s official position, however, has seen the balance between linguistic integration and plurilingualism tipping towards the former, with a strong emphasis on the promotion of the state language.19 This trend is exacerbated by the fact that, in the presence of trying economic conditions, the younger generations—and their parents— often prioritise fluency in the state language, or marketable foreign languages such as English, over the inter-generational transmission of minority languages. Unlike in the original NCA model, most of the funding for NCA institutions derives from the state: grants are accessed through project applications or, in some cases, regular (if unsubstantial) state financing. Financial resources also originate from private sponsors and/or from community members. Overall, financial resources are very limited, which cause NCAs to operate in precarious conditions. While NCAs’ cultural “autonomy” per se is limited, a form of partial autonomy—including with regard to cultural matters affecting minorities—is, instead, found in the Russian Federation’s territorial arrangements: some of the titular languages are legally required to be studied in the ethnic republics20 (in some cases by all residents, including ethnic Russians), and most (republican) legislation recognises titular languages as co-official alongside Russian.21 At


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the same time, there are considerable disparities between the conditions of various titular groups in “their” territorial formations in terms of numbers and resources. And, while Russia is de jure a federation, its political centralisation has meant that policies and legislation affecting national minorities, including minority-language education, have been primarily conceived at the central, federal level.22 Autonomy in managing cultural matters has, overall, decreased in the Federation’s subjects, with a generalised tendency to reduce the teaching of (and through the medium of ) minority languages and increasing switching to Russian (Alòs i Font 2014; Chevalier 2012; Prina 2016; Zamyatin 2012). This has resulted in assimilatory tendencies,23 even in a republic such as Tatarstan, where—compared to other regions—the titular nationality has been in a strong position financially and demographically.24 It is in situations of extra-territoriality—outside titular groups’ “own” territorial formations—that a greater need for NCA exists. For a titular group such as the Tatars—the second largest ethnic group after the Russians—NCA could fulfil the significant role of promoting the interests of co-ethnics residing outside the republic (approximately two thirds of Russia’s entire Tatar population). Yet, the limited impact of NCA has been particularly apparent outside the ethnic republics, as it is primarily within the republics that (some) resources exist  for the teaching of titular languages.25 Meanwhile, there are clearly logistic difficulties in reaching out to non-titular groups that are territorially dispersed, such as Georgians or Armenians. If a school introduces a course for the study of a minority language, it is likely that only a small number of students will live sufficiently close to make their regular attendance viable.26 Particularly challenging are cases of highly vulnerable languages, such as those of Russia’s numerically small indigenous peoples.

Estonia Estonia’s Law on National Minority Cultural Autonomy, adopted in 1993, has since been implemented by the country’s small Ingrian Finnish (2004) and Swedish (2007) minorities. It has also featured in debates on the status of the Russian language, spoken as a mother tongue by a quarter of the country’s current 1.1 million inhabitants. The contemporary Republic of Estonia is a restored state: established in 1918, it was forcibly annexed by the USSR in 1940 and was under Soviet rule until August 1991, when it re-attained de facto sovereignty. The current legislation on NCA is portrayed as a restoration of the more famous one previously in force during 1925–1940,27 when small, territorially dispersed German

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and Jewish communities created Cultural Councils (public-legal bodies with devolved state funding and tax-raising powers, elected through voluntary enrolment on national registers) with direct responsibility for running public schools teaching in the relevant language(s) of the minority group (Smith 2016). This system, however, was not restored into existence in 1993. The current law, the National Minorities Cultural Autonomy Act (“NCA Act”), gives “persons belonging to German, Russian, Swedish and Jewish minorities and persons belonging to national minorities with a membership of more than 3,000” (Article 2(2)) the right “to establish cultural autonomy in order to achieve the cultural rights given to them by the constitution” (Article 2(1)). Autonomy bodies are elected but lack public-legal status and clear funding guarantees. They cannot assume control of public schools but only establish private ones (Article 25). There is, therefore, little to differentiate the rights of NCAs from those of regular NGOs, which are far easier to establish (Poleshchuk 2013, 2015; Smith 2014).28 Restoring a more substantial variant of NCA was never likely given the legacies of a Soviet period that saw the ethnic Estonian share of the population decline from 88% to 61%, principally due to mass settlement by mainly Russian-speaking Soviet citizens. The official emphasis on knowledge of Russian as the lingua franca of the Soviet state meant that new settlers were neither required nor encouraged to learn Estonian. Ever more prevalent use of Russian in an urban context gave Estonians the consciousness of an embattled minority within a larger state, facing the prospect of longer-term assimilation. Post-1991, state policy has therefore prioritised making Estonian the dominant medium for communication within society. Within this context, the NCA Act was not intended for use by the Russian population, which could already access a full publicly funded system of education in its native language. A more pressing task was to increase the proportion of Estonian-­ language teaching in existing Russian schools to facilitate integration into the structures of a restored nation-state. NCA was intended for minorities “whose problems derived from their small size”,29 though even here the NCA Act had little immediate instrumental value: Estonia’s policy of granting automatic citizenship only to citizens of the inter-war Republic and their descendants left 30% of the population without full citizenship in 1993. Since the NCA Act defines persons belonging to national minorities as citizens of the Estonian Republic, smaller ethnic groups have struggled to meet the minimum threshold of 3,000 members: divided along citizen/non-citizen lines, most opted to create cultural NGOs.


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For the groups in question, high levels of assimilation into the Estonian or Russian linguistic sphere mean that language learning has mainly been confined to organising extra-curricular hobby schools (huvikoolid).30 The Estonian state has encouraged such initiatives, which help to counter claims of a single, homogeneous “Russian-speaking minority”. It also funds a Jewish Gymnasium in Tallinn (teaching in Russian and Hebrew) and secondary and vocational schools in western Estonia teaching in Swedish, while in some schools, students can study other smaller minority languages for a couple of hours a week.31 The NCA Act has thus been described as an entirely “performative law” designed to assert symbolic continuity with inter-war democracy and underscore a tradition of tolerance towards “genuine” national minorities (Smith 2000; Aidarov and Drechsler 2011). “Small, motivated” Finnish and Swedish groups have since implemented NCA (Poleshchuk 2013: 157), but in practical terms, this has had little added value for minority language preservation. The Finnish minority (12,000-strong during the early 1990s) has undergone a steep demographic decline (largely due to migration to Finland), and activists underscore the challenge of encouraging younger people to learn the language.32 In the Swedish case, most registered members of the NCA actually reside in Sweden rather than Estonia: these are inter-war citizens (or descendants thereof ) evacuated en masse to Sweden during World War II.33 For all this, Finnish and Swedish activists regard NCA as important in terms of conferring status and giving greater potential voice in shaping minority policy.34 Both maintain that autonomy bodies should be given public-legal status, enhanced powers and greater funding.35 Yet, the state seems unwilling to develop the legal base of NCA any further, fearing that this might give rise to Russian minority institutions susceptible to external manipulation from Russia.36 The rejection of four separate applications for Russian NCA since 1996 indeed suggests that autonomy is securitised. At the same time, none of these applications reflected broad support for cultural autonomy among Russian minority activists. The latter have criticised a political system which, they claim, denies equal opportunities for political participation within the state. Russian elites had no say in the 1993 NCA Act, and since Russian speakers could, at that time, already draw on existing institutional supports, the vague and minimalist framework of NCA offered them nothing—indeed, it ran the risk of “ghettoising” Russians.37 Recent calls for Russian NCA have cited education reforms obliging upper secondary schools teaching in Russian to switch to a bilingual Estonian curriculum from 2011. Here, though, critics rightly pointed out that adopting NCA would in no way assist efforts to maintain

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Russian-language tuition within state schools.38 Indeed, when the state consulted an umbrella organisation of Russian cultural NGOs over NCA in 2009, it declared its opposition. For most Russian activists, attaining greater voice and influence in political decision-making remains more important.

Hungary Hungary was part of a multi-ethnic monarchy until the end of World War I. Its ethnic composition then changed significantly due to the loss of territory under the 1920 Trianon Treaty. As a result of deportations, population exchanges during and after World War II and a policy which promoted assimilation of national minorities during the Communist period, the proportion of Hungarian citizens whose mother tongue was a language other than Hungarian fell from 10.4% (1920 census data) to 1% by the 1980s (only rising to 1.5% in recent decades). However, there has been a more significant growth in the proportion of persons self-identifying as national minorities since 1980 (0.5%), especially between 2001 (3.1%) and 2011 (5.6%). Although the real size of the minority population may in fact be double the official figure, the number of people with a mother tongue other than Hungarian is relatively small. For most national minorities, the biggest concern is loss of their mother tongue and ethno-linguistic assimilation. Act LXXVII of 1993 on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities (hereinafter the “1993 Minority Law”) included regulations on the rights of national minorities (as individuals and as communities), minority self-­ governments, the national minority representative’s role as spokesperson in municipal self-governments, cultural and educational self-administration of nationalities, minority language use and financial affairs of Nationality ­Self-­Governments (NSGs).39 Article 13 declared that “Persons belonging to a minority have the right to (a) learn, foster, enrich and pass on their mother tongue, history, culture and traditions; (b) participate in education and cultural activities in their mother tongue”. Chapter 7 of the Law expanded on language-related provisions, by guaranteeing the right to freely use one’s mother tongue, and the use of minority languages in courts and the public administration. A new law, Act CLXXIX of 2011 on the Rights of Nationalities,40 retains the same provisions on language use but more clearly defines the parameters for their implementation according to the percentage of the national minority within the local population (10% or 20%). The legislation provides for the creation of NSGs in a settlement where at least 25 people have declared to belong to one of the nationalities recognised under


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Hungarian legislation.41 Members of NSGs are established through democratic elections held at the same time as local elections. NSGs function at three levels: locally, regionally and nationally. These minority institutions aim to support minorities in their cultural and educational needs; indeed, activities relating to culture, tradition, language and education are considered crucial by NSGs’ representatives.42 NSGs have also directly taken over the management of educational and cultural institutions (ACFC 2016: §67, 70); consequently—compared to the Russian and Estonian systems—the Hungarian NSG institutions more closely resemble the original NCA model. There were 75 preschools/schools run by NSGs in 2015, 39 of them by German NSGs. Altogether, in the same year, 846 preschools/schools offered programmes taught in a minority language. If an NSG runs a minority school, it receives additional financial support from the government equivalent to the funding given to regular state schools offering minority-language programmes. There has been a growing trend towards NSGs taking over the management of schools, with a view to avoiding centralisation and increasing local community oversight. Despite this, Dobos (2013) observes a tendency whereby Hungary’s national minorities have become  increasingly Hungarian-speaking (while, however, preserving their distinct ethnic identities, cultural particularities and traditions). There are several factors behind the relatively rapid loss of mother tongue competence. First, minorities live scattered across the country. Second, nationalities represented in larger numbers (e.g. Germans, Slovaks and Croatians) have been speaking regional dialects and, because they settled before industrialisation, their vocabulary did not generally develop to keep pace with modernisation. This has resulted in obstacles to their effective communication and hence increased pressure to assimilate linguistically (Demeter Zayzon 2003). Third, under Communism, the Hungarian government’s minority policies largely neglected national minorities’ identities and languages (Dobos 2013), which accelerated the movement towards assimilation. In light of these factors, the revival of minority languages has been extremely challenging in Hungary. A generation has grown up without speaking their mother tongue, while society as a whole has not become accustomed to national minorities using their native languages. Although the 1993 Minority Law guaranteed the right of minorities to use their mother tongue in public institutions and courts, in most cases the conditions for this have not been developed. Within the existing NSG system, the Roma are the most disadvantaged among the 13 national minorities recognised under Hungarian law, given their social marginalisation. Those nationalities which are organised, have kin

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states and are better integrated into society seem to be in a position to advance the interests of their communities even in the presence of unfavourable circumstances, although the greatest threat continues to be advanced assimilation, which is likely to only intensify in the future. While the new spokesperson system in parliament43 can count some successes,44 persons belonging to minorities seem to be generally dissatisfied with national minorities’ parliamentary representation.45 Indeed, despite having guaranteed access to parliament, nationalities’ spokespersons have no right to vote therein. There are two different types of funds to support NSGs: the “operational” fund and the “task-based” fund. Although in 2015 the government raised the “operational fund”, financial support is relatively low. It is also independent of the size of minority communities, as every NSG is allocated the same amount. The “task-based fund” depends on how active each NSG is (as noted, additional funding is provided when an NSG manages a school). However, it has often been considered unclear how the “task-based” funding for individual NSGs is calculated.46

Serbia The Law on National Councils of National Minorities (hereinafter “NC Law”47) was introduced in Serbia, after substantial delays, only in 2009, much later than elsewhere in CEE.48 The Law was not met with full consensus: a number of its provisions were later contested in the Constitutional Court (ACFC 2013: §190; Beretka 2014; Korhecz 2015; Surová 2015), resulting in rulings that have diluted the original Law’s provisions.49 Practical difficulties have further stemmed from some contradictions between the NC Law and other Serbian legislation (ACFC 2013: §15).50 Despite this, compared to other laws considered in this chapter, it provides much broader competences in the management of minority languages and cultures by minority representatives themselves. The nC Law stipulates that national minorities may elect NCs in order to realise their “rights to self-government in culture, education, information and official use of language and script” (Article 2). “Self-government” is to be understood in the sense of (partial) autonomy in managing cultural and ­linguistic matters. NCs have the right to express opinions on all issues concerning culture, education, information and language use of national minorities, including curricula (Article 13). Article 23 imposes sanctions on state bodies that do not respect the rights of NCs, and the Hungarian NC has successfully pursued lawsuits against local authorities that did not comply with this


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­ rovision (Beretka 2014: 269). At the same time, this role is essentially advip sory.51 The Law further contains provisions on funding of NCs’ activities and highly detailed regulations (Articles 44–109) on the election of representatives. Overall, NCs are the main institutions promoting minority rights in Serbia.52 They have engaged in a range of activities, including designating the traditional names (in minority languages) of local self-government units and settlements (Article 22, NC Law); funding minority-language newspapers (CoE 2016: §16, 59, 197); involvement in the provision of (minority-­ language) textbooks53 (Article 14). NCs have also been active in expanding the teaching of minority languages at various levels of education. The (Council of Europe) Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) referred to a “broad offer” for the teaching in and of minority languages in schools in Serbia, while some schools provide bilingual education (ACFC 2013: §42; CoE 2016: §69). However, attempts to introduce minority languages as new subjects have not been successful in some schools (CoE 2016: §64, 69, 80), and there have been limited efforts to implement the legislation on minority-language education in some localities. The resulting shortcomings in minority-language education have led, in some cases, to parents transferring their children to schools functioning in the state language (ACFC 2013: §42; 153–4). The NC Law presents some similarities with the original NCA model inasmuch as it contains provisions on participation of minorities in elected bodies and the administration; yet, in practice minorities—particularly numerically smaller ones—have been under-represented in these institutions (ACFC 2013: §30–31, 176–9, 183). Elections to NCs have taken place in 2010 and 2014, when 19 and 21 such bodies, respectively, were established. As in the original NCA model, elections occur following enrolment into special ­electoral registers on the basis of self-identification.54 Unlike other countries analysed in this chapter, only one NC is elected for each minority for the country as a whole, with no smaller representative bodies at the local level. This is despite the fact that some initiatives concerning minorities (and their languages) occur at the local level, such as declaring a minority language official within a municipality.55 Practical difficulties in implementing language-­ related legal provisions also exist at the level of municipalities and are linked to insufficient numbers of staff proficient in (official) minority languages and inadequate resources for the translation of documents (ACFC 2013: §26, 139, 196). With regard to funding, 30% is divided equally among all registered NCs, and 70% is allocated on the basis of the number of NCs of a particular minority and the number of persons they represent56 (Korhecz 2014; Beretka 2014:

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268). NCs receive less funding from the authorities if the language of the ethnic communities they represent have not been introduced in local official use. Moreover, there are discrepancies in the funding available across the country: the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina benefits from more far-­ reaching programmes for the promotion of minority languages and cultures and greater funding opportunities, while minorities whose NCs are located outside Vojvodina have in practice been at a disadvantage (ACFC 2013: §14, 88, 138, 195; CoE 2016: §15). In sum, particular circumstances in Serbia—including Yugoslav legacies, a desire to engage with the EU and the need to consolidate a newly sovereign state after years of political struggle and ethnic conflict (Purger 2012)—contributed to the creation of an NCA system which is, by regional standards, very far-reaching. However, autonomy remains politically contested and has been reduced in scope since 2013. The question therefore remains—as Korhecz noted in 2014 in “Quo vadis Serbia?”—whether or not the country’s continued engagement with the EU integration process will entail stronger guarantees for respect of minority rights, including the protection and promotion of minority languages.57 In this regard, Petsinis (2012) observes that the NC Law selectively applied elements of the federal legacy of the former Yugoslavia: these were reformulated and adapted to more recent European trends in minority rights protection as part of Serbia’s engagement with the EU and other international organisations after 2000. Moreover, as in other cases considered by this chapter, most authors suggest that the system in place is far more effective in the case of larger and more territorially concentrated minorities—especially those, such as the Hungarian one, with support from external kin states—which can draw upon greater resources and have more options in respect of representation in the national parliament and local councils (Beretka 2014; Purger 2012; Surová 2015).

Conclusion The practices of NCA in the four countries analysed here have considerably distanced themselves from the theory first elaborated by Renner and Bauer. The Austro-Marxists’ model of NCA would have created a mosaic of multi-­ ethnic communities, united by a set of common interests within a polity, but with exclusive competence over the exercise of their linguistic and cultural rights. The reality in the four countries is that the levels of actual cultural autonomy afforded to minority communities are limited. Restricted is also NCA institutions’ influence on policymaking on (cultural or other) matters


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affecting minority communities, while resources remain a problem in all cases. Meanwhile, minority languages continue to be used only marginally, rather than being the working languages of self-administering communities. At the same time, there are some variations between the four countries, as NCA is considerably affected by historical legacies and local circumstances. While in the 1990s the countries in question shared a need to respond to emerging challenges posed by ethno-linguistic diversity, the motivations behind the introduction of NCA, and the type of NCA chosen, differed. For example, in the case of Estonia, the drive for the restoration of pre-Soviet conditions has been highly significant. NCA institutions’ reliance on folklore and ethnography in post-Soviet states reflects a prolongation of Soviet practices. NCA’s potential in the promotion of minority languages is circumscribed by the choices made by the relevant governments with regard to its application, which, while referring to the principles of “autonomy” or “self-­ government”, have often effectively curtailed them. Local circumstances have further influenced the conditions surrounding minority languages and the way they may be protected and promoted. In all four countries, there is a tendency towards linguistic assimilation, exacerbated by the breaking up of linguistic communities: emigration, population decline and, generally, the disappearance of areas once densely populated by speakers of minority languages—which created linguistic oases akin to those envisaged by the NCA theorists—lead to the use of the state language by default. Often, the younger generations (and their parents) opt to learn languages that offer prospects for financial well-being rather than marginalised minority languages. Overall, the opportunities offered by NCA are limited in the sphere of language revitalisation if one considers that the successful promotion of a minority language would require not only enhancing language skills (e.g. through language tuition) but also providing opportunities and a desire to use it (i.e. raising its prestige of the language) (Grin and Moring 2002: 74). In practice, it is those minority communities that have a kin state and (paradoxically) are territorially concentrated that have most benefited from NCA. Meanwhile, Russia and Estonia have seen a drive to promote their state languages in an effort to consolidate national (majority) identities. In this sense, the scepticism58 with reference to a presumed state neutrality in the treatment of ethno-linguistic groups does not seem unjustified. At the same time, in the four countries, NCA institutions have made use of opportunities available to them to promote minority languages and to see these languages and cultures—at a minimum—recognised within their societies despite the restricted opportunities to participate in public affairs. Moreover, the cases of Serbia, Hungary and inter-war Estonia point to the fact

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that NCA-based systems tend to be more viable when they are closer to their original concept: by providing minorities not just with the option to engage in cultural and/or folkloristic events but to be involved in the running of cultural and educational institutions, with the support of public resources. Admittedly, translating the original NCA model into reality would present considerable logistical difficulties, given its ambitious framework. Yet, the original NCA model identified very real concerns of minority communities: the need for steady, guaranteed—rather than intermittent—funding; the importance of representation and participation in decision-making; and the value of (long-term) minority-language education, including in the case of dispersed groups. It brought to the fore questions that still remain unresolved, such as the definition of the scope of collective rights and of mechanisms to institutionalise the status of minority communities, particularly for those groups that are disadvantaged by their being territorially dispersed. NCA continues to remind us that the space between the individual and the state—and occupied by ethnic communities—can be easily neglected. Finally, Renner’s argument that the designation of a state language (and confining other languages to an inferior status) is a “source of strife” still rings true today. The concerns raised by minority communities in CEE today59 tend to resemble those that Renner had regarded as crucial: particularly, a drive to make minority languages more prominent and the importance of participatory processes in devising and implementing linguistic policies. The spirit of the Austro-­ Marxists’ theory—inasmuch as it calls for minorities’ empowerment and autonomy in managing their cultural and linguistic uniqueness—has not ceased to be relevant.

Notes 1. The research for this chapter was largely carried out under the project “National Minority Rights and Democratic Political Community: Practices of Non-territorial Autonomy in Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe” (2014–2017), supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/L007126/1]. The data will be deposited with the UK Data Service, Collection Number 852375. The research used semi-structured, indepth interviews, mostly conducted in 2015 and 2016, with representatives of NCA institutions and NGOs, academics and public officials (76 in Russia, 19 in Estonia, 37 in Hungary, 18 in Serbia). 2. See Lapidoth (1997: 37–40). 3. The theory was later developed by Otto Bauer ([1907] 2000).


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4. As noted, the Austro-Marxists based their theory on the circumstances surrounding the Austro-­Hungarian empire. 5. Ethnically mixed districts would have a requirement of bilingualism for civil servants. 6. Renner conceded that the language of communication between the multiple nations’ institutions would be German. 7. Similarly, the (Council of Europe) Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) has recommended that education in minority languages be provided up to university level so as to enable students to consolidate their language skills. See, for example, ACFC (2002: §105; 2012b: §75). See also the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Article 8(1)(e)(i). 8. Post-Soviet states were striving to promote (newly declared) state languages while distancing themselves from Russian (Pavlenko 2013). 9. 2010 Census. Available at: 10. The census gathered data generally on “knowledge of languages by the population of the Russian Federation”, so this number encompasses languages other than minority languages. See the 2010 census, Part IV, Item 5. Official figures refer to 130–160 minority languages in Russia (government data supplied for the 2009–2011 project—with the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe—“Minorities in Russia: Developing Languages, Culture, Media and Civil Society”, and cited in Oeter 2013: 38). 11. No 74-FZ, 17 June 1996. 12. On the introduction of NCA in post-Soviet Russia, see Osipov (2004). The ethnic groups that were “assigned” a territorial unit during the Soviet period became known as “titular nationalities”. 13. Another network of institutions that can be characterised as a form of nonterritorial cultural autonomy is that of peoples’ congresses (see Osipov 2011), such as the World Congress of Tatars. 14. Article 1. 15. On the inadequacy of legal mechanisms for the effective functioning of NCAs, and for the exercise of minority rights more generally, see Bowring (2013), Oeter (2013) and Prina (2016). 16. See, for example, Gilbert (2016) and Horvath (2011). 17. Interviews held in Russia in 2015–2016; 76 persons were interviewed (in Moscow, St Petersburg, Saransk, Kazan, Petrozavodsk and Ufa). Respondents were civil society activists (from national cultural autonomies, peoples’ congresses and minority NGOs), academics and public officials from a range of ethnic backgrounds (see also note 1). 18. Some textbooks were funded through initiatives of inter-governmental organisations, such as the 2009–2011 project “Minorities in Russia: Developing Languages, Culture, Media and Civil Society”, implemented by the EU and Council of Europe in cooperation with the Russian government.

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19. Since 2001, there have been several programmes for the promotion of the Russian language, both at the federal and regional levels (see Prina 2016: 102–105). 20. According to Russian government data from 2012, 39 minority languages were languages of instruction and 50 were taught as subjects (ACFC 2012a: 6). 21. The exception is Karelian in the Republic of Karelia. 22. For example, the ACFC (2006: §90) stated that minority advisory bodies in Russia’s regions are in some cases “expected to implement rather than contribute to the preparation of minority-relevant legislation”. 23. The study of and through the medium of minority languages has tended to decrease since 2000 (see Prina 2016: ch. 6). 24. Tatars are a numerical majority within the Republic of Tatarstan. On the situation of the Tatars, see also Bowring (this volume). 25. At the same time, such resources are generally scarce, particularly when a titular nationality amounts to a small numerical minority within a republic 26. Interviews with minority education specialists, Kazan, 2015. 27. Lagerspetz (2014: 458 & 465). 28. Interviews with Ülo Kalm, Chair of the Swedish Cultural Council; Aleksandr Aidarov, Advisor to the Ministry of Culture (both 2015); and Toivo Kabanen, former Chair of Ingrian Finnish Cultural Council, 2012. 29. VII Riigikogu Stenogramm, 30 September 1993, p. 221. 30. Hobby schools provide instruction and activities in sports, technology, culture, nature, music or other arts. They can be established by individuals and associations, and those attending are entitled to a subsidy from the local authority. See Regulation of the Minister of Education and Research ‘Standard for Hobby Education’, 21 March 2007. 31. Interview with Kalm, 2015 (note 28); and Aidarov and Drechsler (2013: 111–121). 32. Interviews with Vladimir Vogi, Head of the Ingrian-Finnish Society of Tallinn and Taisto Raudalainen, Editor of Inkeri journal, 2015. 33. Strictly speaking, this contravenes the terms of the NCA Act, but (at least until 2016) the Swedes were exempted from the requirement that citizens be resident in Estonia. Interview with Kalm, 2015. 34. A former Head of the Swedish NCA claimed that an autonomy body has a more legitimate and officially recognised voice compared to an association since “we carry out democratic elections and … have citizens, not members”. Cited in Lagerspetz (2014: 469). 35. Interviews with Kalm, 2015, and Kabanen, 2012 (note 28). 36. Interview with Kabanen, 2012. Also Aidarov and Drechsler (2011) and Lagerspetz (2014). 37. Vabariigi Presidendi Ümarlaua istungite protokoll 1/2000, Tallinn, 11. veebruaril 2000.


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38. Interviews with Aleksey Semenov, Director of the Legal Information Centre for Human Rights and Yuri Polyakov, Director of the Russian Cultural Centre, 2015. See also Semenov (2006). 39. Unlike in Russia and Estonia, the Minority Law was not devoted exclusively to NCA but related to minority protection more generally; NCA (in the form of NSGs) has, however, been its main mechanism. 40. The Act repealed the 1993 Minority Law. 41. There are 13 such nationalities (Article 61, 1993 Law; Appendix 1, 2011 Act). 42. Interviews with representatives of Roma and German Nationality SelfGovernments (NSG). Language and education were mentioned less often than culture and tradition by the respondents. In Hungary, 37 in-depth interviews were held in 2015 with members of the Roma and German NSGs (at three levels: local, county and national levels) and with politicians and political activists involved in minority issues. Roma and Germans are the two largest minorities in Hungary, although their characteristics are very different. 43. Hungary’s 2011 Election Law allows the 13 officially recognised minorities to appoint a designated spokesperson, who has the right to address parliament but not to vote. 44. Interview data revealed the view, among some respondents interviewed in 2015–2016 (see note 1), that the new system has enabled the discussion of issues relating to language and minority-language teachers. 45. Interviews in Hungary, 2015–2016 (see note 1). 46. Some respondents referred to the lack of an obvious relationship between activities implemented and the monies received. Additionally, the ACFC (2016: §67–70), while welcoming the funding allocated to NSGs and their activities, has noted shortcomings linked to delays in transferring funds for the management of cultural and educational institutions run by NSGs. 47. “Official Gazette of the RS”, No 72/09, 20/14—CC and 55/14. 48. Minority NCs were established already in 2002 under Article 19 of a former Yugoslav Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National minorities. However, it was only in 2009 that a Serbian Law of the same name clearly determined their competences, funding mechanisms and election procedures (Korhecz 2014: 3). 49. In particular, the Court rescinded the provision that NCs could designate “institutions of particular importance” for the national minority, such as educational institutions, and which gave NCs “founding rights”, allowing them to nominate or approve candidates for management positions within these institutions. Even with these changes, Malloy et al. (2015) classify the Serbian NCA model as one that confers “voice through self-governing institutions” (see also Surová 2015). 50. Some contradictions were later rectified (ACFC 2013: §137). 51. Interview with Ernő Németh, President of Information Committee of the Hungarian National Council, 2016.

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52. The ACFC (2013: §196) states that they play “an overwhelmingly dominant role” in the realisation of minority rights in Serbia. Korhecz (2014) notes that, in the case of the Vojvodina Hungarians, the NC Law—at least in its initial incarnation—heralded a “new quality of life” for the minority in question. 53. Compiled in Serbia or imported from minorities’ kin states. 54. Although direct elections to NCs are only held if a number of voters equivalent to 40% of the relevant minority population enrols on an electoral register; otherwise, autonomy bodies are created indirectly by nominated electors. In 2014, 17 out of 21 NCs were directly elected, and 4 created indirectly. 55. Legally, there is an obligation to do so when the local minority population amounts to more than 15%. 56. Article 115, NC Law. 57. This was the view expressed by Bálint Pásztor, MP and Chair of the Hungarian Party VMSZ, in an interview in 2016. 58. See above (“Non-territorial Cultural Autonomy and Linguistic Rights”). 59. As per the interviews carried out under the project (see note 1).

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Oeter, S. (2013). International Norms and Legal Status of Minority Languages in Russia. In O.  Protsyk & B.  Harzl (Eds.), Managing Ethnic Diversity in Russia (pp. 37–61). Abingdon: Routledge. Osipov, A. (2004). Natsionalno-Kulturnaya Avtonomiya: Idei, Resheniya, Instituty [National Cultural Autonomy: Ideas, Decisions, Institutions]. St. Petersburg: Centre for Independent Sociological Research. Osipov, A. (2011). The ‘People’s Congresses’ in Russia: Failure or Success? Authenticity and Efficiency of Minority Representation. Working Paper No. 48. http://www. Accessed 15 Dec 2016. Osipov, A. (2013a). National-Cultural Autonomy in Russia: A Matter of Legal Regulation or the Symbolic Construction of an Ethnic Mosaic? In O. Protsyk & B.  Harzl (Eds.), Managing Ethnic Diversity in Russia (pp.  62–84). Abingdon: Routledge. Osipov, A. (2013b). Non-territorial Autonomy During and After Communism: In the Wrong or Right Place? Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 12(1), 7–26. Paulston, C., & Peckham, D. (Eds.). (1998). Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Pavlenko, A. (Ed.). (2008). Multilingualism in Post-Soviet Countries. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Pavlenko, A. (2013). Multilingualism in Post-Soviet Successor States. Language and Linguistic Compass, 7, 262–271. Petsinis, V. (2012). Minority Legislation in Two Successor States: A Comparison Through the Lens of EU Enlargement. Baltic Worlds, 1, 31–35. Poleshchuk, V. (2013). Changes in the Concept of National Cultural Autonomy in Estonia. In E.  Nimni et  al. (Eds.), The Challenge of Non-territorial Autonomy: Theory and Practice (pp. 149–162). Oxford: Peter Lang. Poleshchuk, V. (2015). Russian National Cultural Autonomy in Estonia. In T. Malloy et al. (Eds.), Managing Diversity Through Non-territorial Autonomy (pp. 229–248). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Prina, F. (2016). National Minorities in Putin’s Russia: Diversity and Assimilation. Abingdon: Routledge. Purger, T. (2012). Ethnic Self-Governance in Serbia: The First Two Years of the National Minority Councils. South-East Europe International Relations Quarterly, 3(2), 1–17. Ra’anan, U. (1991). Nation and State: Order Out of Chaos. In U.  Ra’anan et  al. (Eds.), State and Nation in Multi-Ethnic Societies: The Breakup of Multinational States (pp. 3–32). Manchester: Manchester University Press. Renner, K. (2005). State and Nation. In E. Nimni (Ed.), National Cultural Autonomy and Its Contemporary Critics (pp. 15–47). London: Routledge. Roach, S.  C. (2005). Cultural Autonomy, Minority Rights, and Globalization. Burlington: Ashgate.

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Semenov, A. (2006, April 26). Komu zhe eto vygodno? [Whom Does This Benefit?] Molodezh’ Estonii. Sloboda, M., Laihonen, P., & Zabrodskaja, A. (Eds.). (2016). Sociolinguistic Transition in Former Eastern Bloc Countries: Two Decades After the Regime Change. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Smith, D. J. (2000). Cultural Autonomy in Estonia: A Relevant Paradigm for the Post-Soviet Era? One Europe or Several? Working Paper 1901. Brighton: Economic and Social Research Council. Smith, D.  J. (2014). National-Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Estonia. In L. Salat et al. (Eds.), Autonomy Arrangements Around the World: A Collection of Well and Lesser Known Cases (pp. 299–320). Cluj: Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities. Smith, D.  J. (2016). Estonia: A Model for Interwar Europe? Ethnopolitics, 15(1), 89–104. Smith, D.  J., & Cordell, K. (Eds.). (2008). Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Europe. Abingdon: Routledge. Smith, D.  J., & Hiden, J.  (2012). Ethnic Diversity and the Nation State: National Cultural Autonomy Revisited. Abingdon: Routledge. Stokes, G. (1974). Cognition and the Function of Nationalism. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 4, 525–542. Suksi, M. (Ed.). (1998). Autonomy: Applications and Implications. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. Surová, S. (2015). Exploring the Opportunities for Trans-Ethnic Cooperation Within and Across Serbia Through the National Minority Councils. Journal of Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 14(2), 27–50. Weller, M., & Wolff, S. (Eds.). (2005). Autonomy, Self-Governance and Conflict Resolution: Innovative Approaches to Institutional Design in Divided Societies. Abingdon: Routledge. Wright, S. (2001). Language and Power: Background to the Debate on Linguistic Rights. International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 3(1), 44–54. Zamyatin, K. (2012). From Language Revival to Language Removal? The Teaching of Titular Languages in the National Republics of Post-Soviet Russia. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 11(2), 75–102.

8 Sign Language Communities Maartje De Meulder, Verena Krausneker, Graham Turner, and John Bosco Conama

Sign Languages and Sign Language Communities1 This chapter uses the concept of ‘Sign Language Communities’ (SLCs) to emphasise the language minority status of these groups, the shifting boundaries of, and the diversity between those communities. There are also other concepts in use to talk about deaf and hearing sign language-using people as a group, like ‘Sign Language Users’ and ‘Sign Language Peoples’ (Batterbury et al. 2007). In a non-Anglo-Saxon context, other concepts with similar meanings have been developed, such as ‘gebärdensprachig’ in German or ‘gebarentalig’ in Dutch. M. De Meulder (*) University of Namur, Namur, Belgium e-mail: [email protected] V. Krausneker Department of Linguistics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria e-mail: [email protected] G. Turner Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK e-mail: [email protected] J. B. Conama Centre for Deaf Studies, School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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SLCs exist—as far as we know—in every country of the world. With various types of SLCs across the globe, Woll and Ladd (2003) suggested a multi-­ dimensional approach of identifying the statuses and positions of those communities in wider societies.2 These communities, and the sign languages they use, have historically emerged in specific geographical locations around the world, rather than in relation to specific (national) spoken languages. This illustrates why, for example, British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL) or Flemish Sign Language (VGT) and Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) are very different from each other. SLCs’ emergence has centred around places where deaf people have lived together or gathered frequently, such as deaf schools, within large multi-generational deaf families, in large cities, and in places with high rates of hereditary deafness. Sign languages are usually regarded as non-territorial languages because they are typically used throughout a country, as opposed to spoken indigenous minority languages, which are usually identified with a particular area of the territory of a state. Exceptions to this are so-called village or shared sign languages which have emerged in places with high rates of hereditary deafness (Kusters 2015; Nyst 2012) and small territorial sign languages like Finland-Swedish Sign Language in Finland (Hoyer 2004). Sign languages differ from many other minority languages in that all of them are in a minority position (by number, power, and access to resources) in every country in the world. They have traditionally mostly been excluded or ignored by minority language research and policies, a fact that is acutely related to their long road to being understood as full-fledged, real languages. They also differ because of their ‘untraditional’ transmission patterns: since over 95% of deaf children are born to hearing (non-signing) families (Mitchell and Karchmer 2004), sign languages are usually not transmitted within the family. Some estimates state that the number of sign languages around the world is as high as the number of spoken languages, between 6000 and 7000 (Skutnabb-Kangas 2000), although many of them remain undocumented. The Ethnologue, however, lists just 138 documented and identified sign languages.3 Indeed, new sign languages still emerge and are being ‘discovered’ and documented (Meir et al. 2010). Examples are the sign languages that arise in a small community context, such as Chican Sign Language in rural Mexico (Le Guen 2012; Safar 2017), or in an institutional context, such as a deaf school, for example, Nicaraguan Sign Language (Polich 2005). Just like there is an enormous diversity between sign languages, there is a huge diversity between and within SLCs. There is not just one ‘deaf community’ or ‘sign language community’, although there is still a tendency to talk about ‘the deaf community’ as a monolithic, single unit with agreed ideas.

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SLCs have a long tradition of worldwide networking, exchange, and communication, and it is widely recognised that they form transnational communities (Murray 2007; Solvang and Haualand 2014). Kusters and Friedner (2015, x) describe the idea of DEAF-SAME that is typically used by deaf people coming from around the world, emphasising the feeling of deaf similitude and deaf universalism and deaf peoples’ communication practices across borders and boundaries using (mixtures of ) national sign languages, gestures, and International Sign (on International Sign see Rosenstock and Napier 2015). They also emphasise, however, that despite these shared experiences, there are also substantial (and hierarchical) differences between them based on nationality, ethnicity, class, occupational status, mobility, educational level, and language, differences that are intensified by globalisation. Contemporary SLCs are thus characterised by a diversification of intersectional backgrounds, with deaf people negotiating these multiple intersections on a daily basis (see, e.g. Foster and Kinuthia 2003; Ruiz et al. 2015). They are also characterised by diversity in language practices, and contemporary research in Deaf Studies is focusing on those fluid and hybrid language practices as they are (for an overview see Kusters et al. 2017). Kusters et al. (2017), however, also emphasise that, because of the current ideological atmosphere, a clear distinction should be made between studying language practices and promoting them, with promotion needing to focus on bilingualism and sign language rights and not on the interrelationship among various modalities. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) estimates that there are about 70 million deaf people worldwide for whom sign language is ‘their first language or mother tongue’.4 Recent estimates put the number of ‘sign language users’ in the European Union (EU) at 1 million (although it is not stated whether hearing sign language users are included in this estimate).5 However, very few countries have reliable data over many decades on the number of people in their population who are either deaf and/or a signer and their level of competence. Because different definitions and indicators are used, it is difficult to make comparisons from one point in time to another and from one country to another (Johnston 2006). This lack of reliable data makes it difficult to discuss sign languages as minority languages or to include them in minority language policies and statistics. It also makes numbers prone to being inflated or talked down, depending on the point of view. In most (generally Western) countries, boundaries of deaf communities are becoming more permeable, and there is a continuing transition to SLCs. Apart from deaf signers, these communities consist of (but are not limited to) hearing people who identify with sign language and what it means to them (e.g. hearing signers with deaf parents, interpreters, researchers, parents of


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deaf children, teachers, learners, partners) and people who claim an association with the language by learning it, mostly through formal lessons. While until quite recently the demographic profile of (mostly Western) SLCs consisted (mainly) of deaf and hearing traditional signers, this profile is now increasingly dominated by a growing number of deaf and hearing new signers and an ever-diminishing number of deaf traditional signers. New signers learn sign language (often) later in life through peer contact (mostly deaf new signers) and/or formal lessons (mostly hearing new signers). The number of deaf new signers is increasing because of the erosion of traditional transmission settings (mainly deaf schools and deaf clubs), which means greater numbers of deaf people come into the community as late learners of sign language. The increasing number of hearing new signers is linked to the greater visibility of sign languages, greater availability of formal learning opportunities, and increased intercultural contacts. At the same time, there seems to be an ­ever-­diminishing number of deaf traditional signers who acquire sign language via intergenerational or peer transmission (in a home or school context). It is even likely that in some countries, among the very youngest age groups, there are now more hearing than deaf signers. Indeed, there is an increasing inclination among deaf parents to sign with their hearing children and pass on the language, while at the same time hearing parents do rarely receive holistic information on using sign language with their deaf children at home. In the older age groups, hearing new signers outnumber (deaf and hearing) traditional signers and deaf new signers. This numerical disparity is also found in some indigenous language groups like the Sámi (Sarivaara et al. 2013), the Mãori (Spolsky 2003), and many other minorities (O’Rourke et al. 2015) and greatly impacts on the linguistic future and language change in SLCs (see also De Meulder and Murray 2018; Turner 2009). This situation is the result of a complex combination of demographic, political, economic, social, and educational factors which we discuss further in the chapter.

Sign Language Policy and Planning Although it has become clear that sign languages are full-fledged languages, they have traditionally been neglected, if not ignored, by minority language policies and institutions. For example, they have been excluded from the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages (see Krausneker 2000) and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by the Council of Europe. Both EU-funded institutions, Mercator and the European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages (closed in 2010), never took up

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the family of sign languages and did not integrate them into their realm of activities. The same is true of many linguistic research departments. It is also noticeable that WFD has not availed of the international conventions on minority rights to champion and achieve their policy objectives. This led Krausneker (2003) to term sign languages ‘minorised minority languages’: they are minority languages in numerical terms and are unequal in terms of power but are then minorised by institutions, policies, and research. Sign languages can also be described as ‘small languages’: ‘small’ in terms of number of speakers compared to the dominant national language but also ‘small’ in their diminished number of speakers among those who claim a shared cultural identity (Pietikäinen et al. 2016). This minority status might also be rooted in the widespread misunderstanding that sign languages belong to the policy field of disabilities. Indeed, this is a significant difference with other linguistic and cultural minorities: SLCs are also perceived and administered as people with disabilities (Turner 2003). As such, they manifest dual category membership (De Meulder 2016b). This categorisation, as people with disabilities, is the result of social, political, and historical processes and practices (Ladd 2003) which conceptualised SLCs as individual people requiring medical cures and sign languages as compensatory tools. The ideology of oralism, which was the dominant educational ideology for much of the twentieth century, prioritised the instruction of spoken language over the use of sign language and has been described as linguistic and cultural genocide (Ladd 2003; Jokinen 2000; Skutnabb-Kangas 1999). It parallels the assimilationist ideologies to which many other linguistic and cultural minorities have been subjected (Skutnabb-Kangas 2000). De Meulder and Murray (2017) state that while this dual category membership should not in theory be problematic and even has been used by deaf organisations in their political work towards the recognition of sign languages (Murray 2015), the problem lies in the fact that policies aimed towards SLCs traditionally envisage them only as persons with disabilities. The either/or stereotyping (Krausneker 2015) poses a problem and especially the ‘deficit framing’ has significantly impacted on the planning of sign languages (see also De Meulder 2016a), which has historically already been done mostly from a language-as-­ a-problem perspective (Conama 2010; Ruiz 1984). Sign languages have been (and often still are) seen as inappropriate in the education of deaf children (see de Quadros 2015; Ladd 2003), needing standardisation (see Adam 2015a; Al-Fityani and Padden 2010), seen as manual codes for spoken languages (see Van Herreweghe et al. 2015), and as the subject of devaluating, audistic, stereotypical, and economic ideologies (see Krausneker 2015). The current medicalisation of ‘deafness’ and the individualisation of deaf children in mainstream


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education crowds out the need for a separate and proactive language policy to protect and promote sign languages and makes it difficult for lay people to see the need for such a policy. Much sign language policy and planning has been done by hearing non-signers, very often without consultation or even under exclusion of SLCs. In some documented cases, not only the details but also the complete aim and direction of the planned measures are in conflict with the needs and wishes of SLCs and often concern attempts to standardise or unify sign languages, like the standardisation of Sign Language of the Netherlands (Schermer 2012) or the ‘unification’ of Arab Sign Languages (see Adam 2015b; Wilcox et al. 2012).

The Legal Status of Sign Languages The last two decades have seen a substantial growth in the most visible kind of language planning for sign languages: their legal recognition. Campaigns to grant sign languages legal status are still taking place around the world. Currently, over 30 countries (of which the majority are EU member states) have recognised their sign language(s) in legislation on language status and/or language rights (De Meulder 2015). These recognition laws are very diverse in nature and scope. In contrast to the recognition of spoken languages, including minority languages, that of sign languages does not always mean they receive national, official, or minority status or that they are included in the constitution or in language legislation. Actually in most cases such laws do not lead to official minority status. In only one country, New Zealand, did the national sign language gain status as an official language (next to te reo Maori), but even here the de jure recognition is very different from the de facto one (McKee and Manning 2015). The desired outcomes of sign language recognition campaigns led by SLCs are centred around issues of citizenship and inclusion in society. This citizenship is meant to be a differentiated citizenship which accords a form of group representation rights to accommodate SLCs’ particular needs and practices (see also Emery 2009, 2011). Concerning inclusion, SLCs do not have separatist aspirations resisting their inclusion in society, but because hearing-led efforts at ‘inclusion’ have historically tended towards assimilation and have caused the loss of their languages, cultures, and identities, they aim to achieve this participation while resisting/avoiding assimilation, something they have in common with other cultural-linguistic minorities. The key issue at stake is that with these campaigns, SLCs seek to be able to retain a significant degree of cultural and linguistic self-determination not only aimed at the forms and

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institutional usage of their languages but equally, and increasingly, at their further existence (see further in this chapter). This process towards linguistic and cultural self-determination involves three developmental stages: firstly, achieving legal recognition that confirms that sign languages are indeed languages, which have communicative, identity, and intrinsic value for SLCs. This is what is called ‘symbolical recognition’. Secondly, achieving legislation that gives instrumental value to sign languages. This mainly concerns individual linguistic rights, for example, the right to access services through sign language interpreters (SLIs). Thirdly, establishing or protecting educational linguistic rights and language acquisition rights in the home and education. Most sign language recognition legislation achieves only the first stage, that is, symbolical recognition, with some legislation achieving aspects of the second stage. The third stage is as yet very rarely achieved, which is highly problematic, as is clear in the following paragraph (for more on this, see De Meulder 2016b).

 hreats to and Opportunities for Sign Language T Communities The twenty-first century has brought a unique dynamic for SLCs. Opportunities for sign languages and SLCs are proceeding hand in hand with external factors that are endangering them, and they have reached a critical tipping point as they respond to pressures and opportunities. The next section discusses some of these threats and opportunities.

Medical Normalisation and ‘Deaf Gain’ An estimated 80% of deaf children in the developed world now receive cochlear implants (a surgically implanted electronic hearing device) (Blume 2010). This evolution often coincides with monolingual education practices in spoken language promoted by the medical profession, educators, early intervention services, and child welfare services. Parents of deaf children generally do not receive balanced and holistic advice and information on bilingualism and the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of early exposure to sign language (see also Mauldin 2016). The majority of those children who have had an early implant have limited or no access to sign language during what is considered to be the critical period for language acquisition and as such are at a significant risk for linguistic deprivation (Humphries et al. 2016).


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Because SLCs are also perceived as people with disabilities, the medical and genetic discourse has been dominant and is stigmatising deaf bodies (Bryan and Emery 2014). SLCs have encountered a long history of eugenics (Burke 2011) and currently gene therapy has been introduced to ‘cure’ deafness. An example is the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (HFEA) 2008, more specifically Section 14(4), which imposes a prohibition to prevent the selection and implantation of embryos for the purpose of creating a child who will be born with a ‘serious disability’ and was passed with the intention to include embryos with a deaf gene (Bryan and Emery 2014; Porter and Smith 2013). Although an international campaign has opposed the law, leading to references to deafness being removed from the explanatory note for clause 14(4), it opened up the question of whether deafness falls within or outside the scope of the term ‘serious disability’. Bryan and Emery (2014) and Kusters et al. (2015) have argued that interventions to remove the ‘deaf gene’ mean a loss of diversity and that there is a need for recognising deaf children’s right to be born. They state that, since they make up a collective minority group, genetic practices to eliminate deafness are in fact moves towards the ultimate elimination of the group. These attempts have been associated with national socialist eugenics and forced sterilisation activities in Germany and Austria against ‘hereditary deaf ’ people and are also documented for other countries like Finland and the US (Biesold 1999; Greenwald 2009; Krausneker and Schalber 2009; Ryan and Schuchman 2000). Faced with these fundamental—even existential—threats, Deaf Studies scholars are beginning to recognise that, instead of arguing against these developments, a more useful response would be to change the frame and take an offensive instead of defensive position. This reframing is meant to be a changing definition of deafness, not as a lack or loss of something but as a ‘Deaf Gain’, a contribution deaf people make to wider society and human diversity in different ways such as biodiversity, linguistic and cultural diversity, and design and architecture (Bauman and Murray 2014).6

Educational Linguistic and Language Acquisition Rights Because of their untraditional transmission patterns, sign languages mainly have to rely on horizontal transmission settings, like deaf schools. These settings have eroded however, because of individual mainstreaming of deaf children following policies aimed towards educational inclusion. In many cases, this mainstreaming means that deaf children are individually placed in regular schools for hearing non-signing children where they often do not receive

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s­upport services such as SLIs or educators with specialised knowledge and appropriate competencies. Deaf-led NGOs have traditionally resisted having deaf children swept under the mandate of full inclusion, seeing individual placements in local schools as linguistically and socially isolating. They argue for a special group right to ensure that the education of deaf children is protected, enabling them to be taught in their own groups, or in separate schools or settings, through the medium of sign bilingualism, and that educational policies should reflect and incorporate SLCs’ histories, epistemologies, and value ­systems (Murray et al. 2016). This group right would be critical to SLCs’ way of life (see also Emery 2011). The resistance SLCs have shown against these isolating and assimilatory policies demonstrates a profound difference between deaf people and other people with (primarily physical) disabilities, who seek the elimination of separate, group-focused education. The issue of what inclusion means for deaf children is a very real one, since the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which includes deaf people, has the right to inclusive education (Article 24) as one of its main premises (Kauppinen and Jokinen 2013; Murray et al. 2018).7 Support for sign language acquisition could come from institutions in the educational field. Those countries that have seen to securing the right of children to learn sign language have often done so by means of an official school curriculum for the national sign language. The curriculum has led to the use of sign languages in deaf schools and has led to the possibility to learn (and live) as a multilingual deaf child. A recent study shows that out of 39 European countries, only 22 have an official school curriculum for their national sign language or for bimodal bilingual education.8 The study asked national experts to estimate whether bimodal bilingual education was well established in their country or not. Statistical analysis showed that in those countries where there are legal foundations (curricula, laws) for the use of the national sign language in schools, bimodal bilingual education is well established, and the same also applies the other way round (Krausneker et al., in press).

The Vitality of Sign Languages Until recently, most sign languages have been the subject of benign neglect in discussions on language endangerment and revitalisation (Nonaka 2014). This is partly due to their resilient nature but also to endangerment discourses, ideologies, and beliefs within both SLCs and external researchers (mostly linguists). For example, a language shift to spoken languages was not seen as a


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relevant factor for sign languages because of the belief that because of their biological difference, deaf people would need to hold on to sign languages throughout their lives. The discourse also assumed that, because public policy still mainly perceives deaf people as disabled, their use of and need for sign language would not be questioned. Until quite recently, concerns over the endangerment of sign languages were thus mainly limited to the context of village sign languages and small territorial sign languages (though cf. Turner 1995a), for which the maintenance-supporting and maintenance-threatening factors are different than for larger, national sign languages (Zeshan and de Vos 2012). Several factors have changed this situation considerably. Primary among these are demographic changes (leading to a decrease in community size), the widespread normalisation of the cochlear implant and the associated monolingual focus on speech, changes in the sociolinguistic ecology of SLCs as a result of technological changes, and the erosion of inter- and intra-­generational transmission settings. This all leads to a changing ideological atmosphere that does increasingly question deaf people’s—and primarily deaf children’s— ‘need’ for sign language. This ideology has been institutionalised by widely read academics (e.g. Knoors and Marschark 2012) and institutions (e.g. Sugar 2016) and has profound influences on the future vitality of sign languages. The concern about this vitality has now come to include long-established sign languages in mainly Western nations, many of which are legally recognised and used by larger communities (see, e.g. McKee 2017 for New Zealand Sign Language). The ‘Cataloguing endangered sign languages’ project has so far indexed 15 sign languages, and all the national sign languages included in the project are labelled ‘vulnerable’.9 There is still discussion among scholars about whether sign languages can be described as endangered languages at all and about the application to sign languages of the concepts developed in the field (see, e.g. De Meulder 2016b; Hoyer 2013; Quer and de Quadros 2015). Indeed, concepts like (reversing/ resisting) language shift, language obsolescence, linguicide, language maintenance, and language (re)vitalisation have primarily been developed for and applied to the situation of spoken languages. Contributing to this scholarly discussion, De Meulder and Murray (2017) state that SLCs need to look at ways in which sign languages can create new generations of users without relying solely on intergenerational transmission in family homes, something which is a current concern for other language minorities and indigenous peoples as well (Albury 2015; Romaine 2006). In this context, they refer to the growing number of hearing new signers as constituting a case of both vitality and endangerment.

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Popularisation and Appropriation of Sign Languages It has been estimated that for every deaf person who uses British Sign Language there are nine hearing people who have some knowledge of the language (Woll and Adam 2012). In many American and some Canadian post-­ secondary contexts, ASL courses have emerged as an increasingly popular foreign-language offering (Goldberg et al. 2015; Snoddon 2016), making it the third most commonly taught language at that level. Sign languages are also gaining popularity on the cultural, artistic, and commercial scene and are being adopted as a research topic by hearing (mostly non-signing) researchers and innovators claiming they can (and need to) solve what they perceive as deaf people’s communication problems, for example, by designing ‘automated translation’ devices or avatars. These attempts are not always welcomed by SLCs. Other developments too are observed somewhat doubtfully by SLCs; for example, the popularity of ‘Baby Signs’, according to which hearing parents and hearing babies learn signs in order for babies to communicate their needs more efficiently and therefore reduce stress (Pizer et al. 2007; Kirk et al. 2013). This popularity of sign languages results in tensions between promotion of ‘heritage’ sign languages (Turner 1999) and loss of ownership and authenticity.10 This plays out in many SLCs, especially in those that have gained some form of recognition. The promotion of sign language to hearing people can open the floodgates to appropriation and alteration of sign languages by non-deaf-driven agendas (cf. the previous examples of the automated translators and the Baby Sign hype). Moreover, this has caught SLCs in an ironic double bind: while their languages are increasingly being popularised and institutionalised, they find themselves becoming increasingly marginalised and medicalised. Research into this means addressing questions of linguistic ownership, linguistic and cultural appropriation, and linguistic prescriptivism and purism (see, e.g. Snoddon 2016).

Research in Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies Sign linguistics as an academic discipline originated in the 1950s and 1960s (Stokoe 1960; Tervoort 1953). For an overview of how the field of sign linguistics has evolved historically, see McBurney (2012) and Napier and Leeson (2016). For overviews of contemporary research topics in sign linguistics, see Baker et  al. (2016), Gertz and Boudreault (2016), and Orfanidou et  al. (2015).


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The birth of sign linguistics led to the emergence of the field of Deaf Studies in the 1970s (see Murray 2017) and was also influenced by the civil rights movement in the USA of the same period. Both sign linguistics and Deaf Studies have historically been and still are mostly led by hearing scholars, who still outnumber deaf academics in these fields (O’Brien and Emery 2014). This discrepancy has to be historically situated; it is linked to the oppression of sign languages in education and the resulting language deprivation which led to generations of deaf people having obtained overall lower levels of formal education in comparison with their hearing peers (Powers et al. 1999). Due to improvements in educational outcomes (e.g. sign bilingual education in some countries and improved access to the national curriculum, sometimes via mainstream education), there are a growing number of deaf scholars within Deaf Studies and sign linguistics. While some approaches to Deaf Studies have defined the field broadly to include the study of anything linked to deaf people, other accounts focus on certain specific strands within the field of Deaf Studies that have been underdeveloped and underfunded in contrast to, for example, theoretical sign linguistics. These areas are built around deaf people’s ontologies (deaf ways of being) and epistemologies (deaf ways of knowing), communities, networks, ideologies, literature, histories, religion, language practices, political practices, and aspirations. Deaf Studies as a research field is currently undergoing innovation, spurred by the gradual increase in the number of Deaf Studies scholars, who are themselves deaf and who start to engage with deaf ontologies and methodological processes, and by a number of new theoretical trends. For an overview of contemporary issues and innovation in Deaf Studies, see Kusters et al. (2017). As a guideline, it has now become an internationally accepted standard that research on sign languages and SLCs should take place with strong involvement of, if not led by, deaf researchers (Harris et al. 2009; Kusters et al. 2017; Ladd et al. 2003), and there has been increasing attention for ethical research practices within sign linguistics and Deaf Studies, with regard to both research implementation and dissemination (Adam 2015a; Leeson et  al. 2017; Singleton et al. 2012, 2014, 2015; Young and Temple 2014). Within development cooperation too, there is growing attention given to power imbalances—not only between hearing and deaf researchers but also between deaf individuals from different backgrounds (Finnish Association of the Deaf and World Federation of the Deaf 2015).11

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Linguistic Rights While the right to language, and thus also sign language, is in itself a human necessity, access to sign language and the right to use sign language is essential for the fulfilment of other basic human rights, such as the right to education, to vote, or to a fair trial. In order to guarantee human rights for SLCs, it is essential to understand the concept of linguistic human rights (Jokinen 2000; Murray 2015; Skutnabb-Kangas 2000). For SLCs, these are compromised in many countries, including in those that have legally recognised their sign language(s). Claims to sign language rights (usually educational) have been directly addressed through litigation, for example, through publicised cases in various countries such as the USA (Siegel 2008), Australia (Komesaroff 2007), and Canada (Snoddon 2009). Salient in these day-to-day discriminatory experiences is the lack of professional SLIs. The right to well-trained and adequately paid interpreters is key to full participation of deaf signers. As with so many social responses to the presence of SLCs in society, the emergence of SLIs commonly had its roots in forms of benevolence. These were often situated within the church or related voluntary action or subsequently associated with state-sponsored welfare provision. In both cases, no actual entitlement to an interpreting service, as such, was often in place. Interpreters were minimally trained and were typically the hearing members of signing families (Frishberg 1990). Only as the civil rights shifts initiated in the 1960s took hold did the basis of the ties between interpreters and communities change. The key to a new way of thinking about interpreting was its establishment as an independent profession. The foundation in 1964 of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf in the USA (Fant 1990) marked the initial formalisation of the role as distinct from related fields, and the slow spread of professionalism in the SLI arena has progressed, unevenly but globally, over the succeeding half century (Napier 2011; De Wit 2016). The aim of this process has been to embed the right to secure interpreting provision of reliable quality, scaffolded by ethical assurances of confidentiality, neutrality, and altruism. With progress towards such goals worldwide, SLIs are recognised to be among the more professionally advanced community or public service interpreters in many countries or contexts (Pöchhacker 2016) and indeed have, since 2014, begun to break into the prestigious Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conference (International Association of Conference Interpreters—AIIC). The field of sign language translation is currently undergoing the beginnings


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of a similar professionalisation process, particularly as on-screen signed output starts to become more routinely provided by businesses, services, and charities. In addition, the major role of providers who are themselves deaf starts to prompt re-evaluation of practices, relationships, and service standards (Stone 2009; Turner 2006). The right to interpreting has been enshrined in law differently depending upon cultural and political contexts. On the one hand, improvements in public service interpreting for users of all languages have served to benefit SLCs. Globally, interpreting is even less frequently offered at public expense for family life or democratic participation. The advent of remote SLI availability resulting from advances in digital video telecommunications (Haualand 2014; Turner et al. 2017; Vogler et al. 2011), whilst offering the promise of faster access to services and the removal of geographical limitations upon standards of provision, has also provoked questions about interpreting ethics and relationships with the community (Peterson 2011; Napier et al. 2017). Nuanced negotiation concerning the rights, regulations, and responsibilities of SLCs, interpreters, and others (Turner 1995b, 1996) and the limits of SLI professionalism (Pollitt 1997; Tate and Turner 2002) has gone on for 50 years or more. It is more than clear that the issues of role, positioning, and ethics colouring relevant ideas about interpreting (see overviews in Turner 2005; Napier and Leeson 2016) arise alongside an extraordinarily close— some would say interdependent—type of association between deaf signers and the interpreters with whom they work. The SLI field in general was a relatively early adopter of notions about the necessarily collaborative nature of interpreting process (following Turner’s (1995c) introduction of ‘co-­ construction’ to the triadic model of interpreting). As the implications of this thinking take hold, it becomes clearer that upholding the linguistic rights of SLC members requires considered attention on the part of interpreters. Exercising these rights entails placing a high degree of trust in paid service providers. The need to secure such trusting relationships has led to a growth in ‘designated interpreter’ agreements, whereby deaf people seek to work consistently with a very small number of interpreters with whom they can develop shared knowledge and greater rapport (Hauser et al. 2008). De Meulder (2016b) has argued that for deaf signers, the meaning of language rights and the right to access services in sign language is thus in most, if not all, cases understood and implemented as the right to use a SLI. In contrast with provisions for other language minorities, there is thus no bilingual service delivery; it is merely service delivery in the majority language, mediated through an interpreter. Several reasons cause this situation, first of all the dual category status of deaf signers which means that their

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categorisation in public policy as persons with a disability is automatically seen as justifying their right to interpreting services (or vice versa) (see also Wilson et al. 2012). Wilson et al. (2012) also state that in most EU countries, the status of sign language interpreting is more secure than that of other public service interpreting because the number of deaf people is subject to less dramatic fluctuation, particularly as a result of unpredictable patterns of migration, than the number of users of other community languages. The dual category status of deaf signers also means that their (life-long) right to an interpreter is not questioned, while for other language minorities, public service interpreting has historically been seen as a temporary measure until they have acquired the majority language. Furthermore, the dispersed nature of deaf signers means that it is perceived as economically more efficient to provide interpreters instead of making sure that front-line staff in the public sector are qualified to deliver services directly in the national sign language. Across Europe, very few professionals can communicate directly in sign language or have enough proficiency to deliver services without an interpreter. Deaf professionals in public services like healthcare, social care, the judiciary, and administration are also in short supply. This sole use of interpreters to grant linguistic rights is problematic for several reasons. First of all, the provision of SLIs is inadequate almost everywhere, both in terms of the quality of the provision and in terms of the number of potential interpreters per deaf person. In most countries, there is a serious shortage of SLIs (De Wit 2016), although the number of interpreters per country varies widely. Also, in many countries, interpreting services are underdeveloped or even non-existent in remote localities, which is especially problematic in countries with extensive rural areas. The question of qualified SLIs has become so pressing that the European Parliament recently adopted a resolution on ‘Sign language and professional sign language interpreters’ ­ roviding (November 23, 2016).12 The resolution points out the importance of p accessibility for deaf people through sign language interpretation as well as which measures need to be taken in order to improve the provision of sign language interpretation at EU and national levels. Thirdly, for specific services such as in healthcare, it is crucial to be able to have direct communication with a doctor/counsellor instead of through a third person. Rather than through the sole provision of interpreters, linguistic rights for deaf signers and their demand to access services directly in sign language could be addressed by enabling hearing people, more widely than is currently the case, to learn to sign, for example, by making sign language an optional subject in the national curriculum (see McKee et  al. 2014). It also means to urgently pay attention to the education opportunities of deaf people so they can be educated and provide services to their fellow citizens.


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Self-Representation and Political Participation SLCs started to do international networking and form national groups well before linguistic minorities and people with disabilities did so. Some National Associations of the Deaf were already founded in the early nineteenth century and deaf representatives from all over Europe met annually for a ‘banquet’ in Paris starting in 1834 (Gulliver 2009). The Paris banquet has been termed the ‘birth of a Deaf Nation’ (Mottez 1993: 151). Today, SLCs worldwide feature a high level of self-organisation and self-­ representation on different levels, from the local to the national and international, although as yet they have no formal representation in most state bodies (with the possible exception of sign language planning bodies, see De Meulder and Murray 2017) and do not have the same level of collective political self-­ determination as some indigenous groups have. SLCs thus have to organise themselves politically from within the mainstream political system. There are currently several deaf Members of the European Parliament, several deaf Members of national Parliaments, and several deaf representatives at the regional or local level (for the linguistic, cultural, and attitudinal barriers they experience see Turner and Napier 2014). Currently, 133 National Associations of the Deaf are members of the WFD. WFD was founded in 1951 and is by self-definition ‘one of the oldest international organisations of persons with disabilities in the world’.13 It was vital in bringing the language perspective into the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities while it was being drafted (Kauppinen and Jokinen 2013; Murray et al. 2018). WFD is a self-representation body that makes an effort to keeping links to academia, and its policy papers, recommendations, fact sheets, guidelines, and statements present a valuable resource and basis for any starting researcher.

Conclusion These are turbulent times for SLCs, and the way in which they—and majority representatives—respond to pressures and opportunities will play a decisive role in the quality of their future existence. Because of social and political threats, including strong tendencies towards medical normalisation, it remains urgent that SLCs receive attention from the relevant national and international authorities. Neither the legal recognition of their languages nor handling SLCs within a disability framework only can accommodate their cultural-linguistic situation. SLCs are vigilant and remain outspoken in dealing with potential challenges.

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Notes 1. Many statements in this chapter concern SLCs all over the world. Some information is written with a focus on Western countries (Europe/North America/ Australia), such as  the  discussion of  the  legal status of  sign languages and the description of threats to and opportunities for SLCs. 2. Woll and Ladd (2003) use variables such as the societal attitudes towards deaf people and sign language, the size of deaf communities, and the availability of life choices to them in the majority society. This approach produces three general identification groups: oppositional (majority society’s negative attitude towards sign language reducing the availability of life choices), integrated (majority society supportive and life choices mostly available), and single (where everyone can sign or understand signing and life choices are the same for anyone). 3. 4. 5. FULL%20Print.pdf 6. For a critique on the concept of Deaf Gain, see Kusters et al. (2015). 7. For an analysis and discussion of the CRPD’s impact on deaf people, see Batterbury (2012), De Meulder (2014), and Kusters et al. (2015). 8. See 9. atlas_of_world_languages_in_danger.php 10. See also Novic (2016). 11. 12. MOTION+B8-2016-­1241+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN 13.

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Pizer, G., Walters, K., & Meier, R. P. (2007). Bringing Up Baby with Baby Signs: Language Ideologies and Socialization in Hearing Families. Sign Language Studies, 7(4), 387–430. Pöchhacker, F. (2016). Introducing Interpreting Studies (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Polich, L. (2005). The Emergence of the Deaf Community in Nicaragua. “With Sign Language You Can Learn So Much”. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Pollitt, K. (1997). The State We’re in: Some Thoughts on Professionalisation, Professionalism and Practice Amongst the UK’s Sign Language Interpreters. Deaf Worlds: International Journal of Deaf Studies, 13(3), 21–26. Porter, G., & Smith, M.  K. (2013). Preventing the Selection of “Deaf Embryos” Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: Problematizing Disability? New Genetics and Society, 32(2), 171–189. Powers, S., Gregory, S., & Thoutenhoofd, E.  D. (1999). The Educational Achievements of Deaf Children: A Literature Review Executive Summary. Deafness & Education International, 1(1), 1–9. Quer, J., & Müller de Quadros, R. (2015). Language Policy and Planning in Deaf Communities. In A.  Schembri & C.  Lucas (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and Deaf Communities (pp. 120–145). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Romaine, S. (2006). Planning for the Survival of Linguistic Diversity. Language Policy, 5, 441–473. Rosenstock, R., & Napier, J.  (Eds.). (2015). International Sign. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Ruiz, R. (1984). Orientations in Language Planning. NABE: The Journal for the National Association for Bilingual Education, 8(2), 15–34. Ruiz-Williams, E., Burke, M., Chong, V. J., & Chainarong, N. (2015). “My Deaf Is Not Your Deaf ”: Realizing Intersectional Realities at Gallaudet University. In M. Friedner & A. Kusters (Eds.), It’s a Small World: International Deaf Spaces and Encounters (pp. 262–274). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Ryan, D., & Schuchman, S. (Eds.). (2000). Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Safar, J.  (2017). Translanguaging in Yucatec Maya Signing Communities. Applied Linguistics Review. Published online ahead of print. doi: 10.1515/ applirev-2017-0082 Sarivaara, E., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2013). How to Revitalize an Indigenous Language? Adults’ Experiences of the Revitalization of the Sámi Language. Cross-­ Cultural Communication, 9(1), 13–21. Schermer, T. (2012). Sign Language Planning in the Netherlands Between 1980 and 2010. Sign Language Studies, 12(4), 467–493. Siegel, L. M. (2008). The Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Singleton, J. L., Jones, G., & Hanumantha, S. (2012). Deaf Friendly Research? Toward Ethical Practice in Research Involving Deaf Participants. Deaf Studies Digital Journal, 3.§ion_id=2&entry_ id=123. Accessed 17 Jan 2017.


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Part III Migration, Settlement, Mobility

9 Changing Perspectives on Language Maintenance and Shift in Transnational Settings: From Settlement to Mobility Anne Pauwels

Introduction The most common language situation around the world is one that involves or has arisen out of language contact. After all, mobility—voluntary or forced—has long been a common trait of human behaviour. History is strewn with multiple examples of large migratory movements that have been key factors in the spread of many languages and dialects and that have given rise to various forms of language contact. The outcomes of language contact are also diverse: they include the emergence of short-lived contact varieties as well as pidgins and creoles. Sometimes the contact has given rise to the formation of a new language. Other outcomes resulting from language contact could be described as more dramatic: they involve the loss, obsolescence, or even death of one or more languages in the contact situation. This scenario is faced by a large and ever-increasing number of languages around the world, as documented on the Ethnologue database. Language shift (LS) is another common outcome of language contact. This term is usually reserved for contact situations where one language is abandoned in favour of another language without the former being at risk of obsolescence as it is still being used elsewhere. Migrant and refugee groups are the most likely candidates being confronted

A. Pauwels (*) School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, SOAS, University of London, London, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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with the phenomenon of LS. Such communities take their language(s) with them when moving to a new linguistic environment in which they plan or are forced to settle. However, in this new environment, their language or languages face(s) competition from the local language(s), possibly leading to the migrant community shifting away from the use of its own language(s) to that or those of the local (often dominant) speech community. LS can also occur in communities that are or have become minorities in a state or polity, not so much as a consequence of ‘migration’ but of political changes (e.g., invasion, annexation, new state formation). The term LS is particularly applicable when the language in question is losing ground in one state but not in another; hence, the consequence is not language death because the language survives elsewhere. The situation of Basque in France and Spain provides an example of such a situation. In this chapter, the discussion around issues of language maintenance (LM) and LS focuses on the former context, that is, the one often referred to as a migrant, transnational, or even diasporic setting.1 It comprises a brief history of the field, covering its emergence, development, and expansion during the twentieth century. This is followed by an overview of the main types of approaches investigating the processes of LM and LS, as well as the theories put forward to understand such processes and account for differences in the language practices of various ethnolinguistic groups. This overview pertains mainly to approaches practised in the pre-twenty-first-century period. The final section moves beyond the twentieth century and focuses on how globalisation has significantly altered what constitutes ‘migration’. Rather than seeing it primarily as a process resulting in ‘permanent’ (re)settlement in another location, migration increasingly results in ongoing mobility. Such changes are likely to affect language practices in diaspora contexts, sometimes quite drastically, which may entail a rethinking of what constitutes LM or LS and how LM can be practised in such situations. A final preliminary comment relates to the nomenclature surrounding the languages of transnational minorities. These languages have attracted numerous names including ‘migrant’, ‘immigrant’, ‘transplanted’, ‘ethnic’, ‘transnational’, ‘community’, ‘minority’, ‘diasporic’, and ‘heritage’. Each of these terms has particular histories that have been critiqued and have thus given way to other terms. While recognising the dialectics surrounding this kind of terminology, I have opted for the use of the term ‘heritage language’, mainly because of its widespread currency, at least in Anglophone studies.

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 esearching Language Maintenance and Shift R in Transnational Settings: A Brief History The mass exodus from Europe to North America, and later to Australia and New Zealand, in the aftermath of the two world wars has arguably been the main trigger for dedicated studies on LM and LS. Millions of people chose or were forced to leave their homelands and settle elsewhere, mainly in the Anglophone parts of the ‘new world’. This mass movement arguably gave rise to unprecedented language contact scenarios that rapidly became fruitful ‘real-life’ laboratories for studying language contact. The initial focus of work produced by pioneer scholars such as Einar Haugen and the Weinreichs (father Max and son Uriel) and Nils Hasselmo centred on the linguistic phenomena arising in such contact situations: as linguists, their primary interest was on describing how the language of the new environment—English— affected the immigrants’ languages. Haugen did this for Norwegian (Haugen 1938, 1953), Max Weinreich focused on Yiddish (1932), and his son Uriel Weinreich expanded this to a plethora of languages in his seminal text Languages in Contact (Weinreich 1953; for a detailed discussion of their legacy, see Katz, this volume). Hasselmo (1961) undertook a detailed study of how English influenced the Swedish spoken by Swedish immigrants to the United States. In Australia, Clyne’s early work Transference and Triggering (Clyne 1967) documented how German was influenced by English. Although the early work of these scholars also contained some comments on questions of LM and LS, it is the work of Joshua Fishman that not only launched the field of LM and LS research in migrant settings but also shaped it for many decades. Fishman’s (1964) paper ‘Language maintenance and language shift as a field of enquiry’, followed by his book on the sociology of language (Fishman 1972), set the parameters for the study of LM and LS by identifying the key concepts and tools of analysis that continue to be central in studies of maintenance and shift to this day. Foremost among these is the question to guide all studies of LM and LS: ‘Who speaks what language to whom and when?’ and the concept ‘domain of language use’. Although Fishman cannot be credited with its creation—that honour goes to Schmidt-Rohr (1932)—it is his work that ensured its widespread use in research focused on understanding how LS proceeds and how it can possibly be reversed. It is undeniable that Fishman’s seminal oeuvre on LM and LS had and continues to have a tremendous impact on the focus, approach, and methodology of thousands of LM and LS studies undertaken on many transnational communities around the world. Another important figure in the early development of LM and LS


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studies is Heinz Kloss (1966). Based on the findings of his research into the language behaviour of German immigrants to the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he identified and categorised a list of factors that were instrumental in understanding how and why different migrant (ethnolinguistic) communities managed to maintain their home/ heritage language or not. He labelled factors that contributed unequivocally to either LM or LS as ‘clear-cut’ and those that could influence the process either way as ‘ambivalent’. Clear-cut factors included: 1. the separation of the group from the ‘mainstream’ population on socio-­ religious grounds; 2. the group’s early arrival into the new territory (i.e., slightly before or concurrently with the ‘dominant’ group); 3. the existence of linguistic enclaves in the territory; 4. the group’s association with a denomination that maintained parochial schools; 5. the group’s experience with LM before migration. While these factors may have been clearly supportive of LM in the scenario that Kloss researched, they were not always clear-cut in other migrant settings. Clyne (1979, 1982), for example, tested the ‘clear-cut’ nature of these factors among migrant groups in Australia and found that factor (2) only supported LM if it was combined with factor (3). Furthermore, factors (4) and (5) turned out to be ambivalent factors in the Australian migrant context. Kloss’ list of ambivalent factors included (1) the numerical strength of the group, (2) the group’s cultural and linguistic similarity with the dominant group, (3) the dominant group’s attitude towards the migrant group and its language, and finally, (4) socio-cultural characteristics—a factor that was left rather undefined. Despite the significant shortcomings of these factors in understanding the dynamics of LM or LS, they, nevertheless, became the starting point for a multitude of studies that ‘tested’ these in other settings or that tried to identify other factors influential in LM or LS patterns. For example, several researchers have identified ‘exogamy’ as a factor clearly contributing to LS (e.g., Castonguay 1982; Pauwels 1985; Robinson 1989), while others have investigated factors such as gender and language variety spoken by the group or family constellation (e.g., nuclear or extended family), with most findings confirming their ambivalent status (for a detailed overview, see Pauwels 2016a; see also Katz, this volume). While most early LM studies were conducted on immigrant groups in the United States, Australian studies did not lag far behind. Clyne’s (1967) pioneering study of German-Australian language

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c­ ontact built upon Weinreich’s and Hasselmo’s linguistic work of immigrant language contact and on Haugen’s and Kloss’ work on LM. During the next decade, investigations of the LM efforts and LS processes of Australian immigrant groups rapidly expanded, culminating in a vast body of studies on almost all ethnolinguistic groups that had settled in Australia since the Second World War (e.g., Clyne 1982,1991; Horvath and Vaughn 1991; Rubino 2010 for overviews). In Canada, the analysis of the 1971 census data on language use (de Vries and Vallée 1980) was one of the earliest studies examining a range of socio-demographic factors that influenced LM and LS in Canada’s immigrant population. Although early work by Canadian scholars also included studies of LM in specific communities (e.g., Reitz and Ashton 1980, see also Cummins and Danesi 1990; Jedwab 2000; Pendakur 1990 for overviews), their major role lay in the development of a demolinguistic approach to LM and LS studies. In New Zealand, another major recipient of post-war immigrants, dedicated research on immigrant LM and LS started somewhat later—in the late 1980s and early 1990s—and has been described as (still) relatively sparse (Holmes 1993). In Europe, Great Britain was at the forefront of immigrant language studies. This is not necessarily surprising as its colonial past and subsequent decolonisation had led to former colonial ‘subjects’ settling in Britain. The ‘other languages of England’ project undertaken by the Linguistic Minorities team (LMP 1985) was the first large-scale study of Asian as well as South and Eastern European migrants’ language patterns. Continental Europe followed suit somewhat later: Dutch, German, and Nordic scholars (e.g., Extra 1990 for the Netherlands; Pfaff 1991 for Germany and Boyd 1985 and, Boyd and Latomaa 1996 for Sweden) started examining language issues mainly affecting a new type of migrants to Northwestern Europe, the so-called guest workers (German Gastarbeiter). Mainly originating from Southern Europe, the Mahgreb, and Turkey, these workers were brought (temporarily) to the northwestern region to address largely unskilled labour shortages. At the start of the new millennium, such studies were conducted in all parts of Europe as a consequence of new migration waves from outside Europe and changes in EU policy regarding freedom of movement within Europe—the Maastricht Treaty 1992—leading to greater internal mobility (Extra and Gorter 2001; Extra and Verhoeven 1993;  Extra and Yağmur 2004). Although these regions and continents continue to dominate LM and LS studies involving transnational populations, South America is also home to many post-war European migrants who have become the subject of academic research (e.g., Kanazawa and Loveday 1988; Williams 1991). In Africa, studies of immigrant LM tend to focus on South Africa, given its multi-ethnic immigrant population including individuals from other African


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countries, Europe and South and East Asia. Although much of Asia is exposed to intra-continental and intra-national migration, studies of LM and LS are of a much more recent nature there, possibly because the main focus has been on documenting threatened (endangered) indigenous languages or on the impact of colonial languages on local language dynamics. Although the early frameworks of analysis and methods guiding the study of immigrant LM and LS continue to shape new studies, other approaches, both from within the social study of language and from associated disciplines (e.g., anthropology, social psychology, education), came to influence how LM studies were carried out during the latter half of the twentieth century and into the early twenty-­ first century. Next, I review the more widespread approaches that have shaped and continue to shape immigrant LM studies.

 ey Approaches to the Study of LM and LS K in Migrant Settings The development and expansion of any discipline or field of study tend to bring about methodological and theoretical changes and innovations. Insights from early work lead to new approaches and different methods and often result in new subfields being created. Developments in related fields also impact on the evolution of research. The study of LM and LS is no exception. It is indebted to many related fields of language study, including areal and/or geolinguistics, multilingualism, and contact linguistics, to name but a few. It has also drawn upon the concepts, methods, and theoretical frameworks of other disciplines, most notably sociology, psychology, and anthropology, in an attempt to study and understand the phenomena of LM and LS. Here, I focus on the models, approaches, and frameworks that have dominated the study of LM and LS during the twentieth century. Of course, a number of other models have been developed, and I refer the reader to Clyne (2003), Fishman and García (2010/2011), Goebel et al. (1996), and Heller (2007) for more details.

The Sociology of Language The sociology of language approach arguably dominated in the earlier decades of the field and continues to be a key approach to this day, at least in structuralist-­oriented studies. This approach centres around the examination of domain-specific language use patterns in a given ethnolinguistic community or across such communities guided by the question: ‘Who speaks what

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Table 9.1  Stages of reversing language shift Severity of intergenerational dislocation (Read from the bottom up) 1. Education, work sphere, mass media, and governmental operations at higher and nationwide levels 2. Local/regional mass media and governmental services 3. Local/regional (i.e., non-neighbourhood) work sphere, among both Xmen and Ymen 4. b. Public schools for Xish children, offering some instruction via Xish, but substantially under Yish curricular and staffing control   a. Schools in lieu of compulsory education and substantially under Xish curricular and staffing control II RLS to transcend diglossia, subsequent to its attainment 5. Schools for literacy acquisition, for the old and for the young, and not in lieu of compulsory education 6. The intergenerational and demographically concentrated home–family– neighbourhood: the basis for mother tongue transmission 7. Cultural interaction in Xish primarily involving the community-based older generation 8. Reconstructing Xish and adult acquisition of XSL I RLS to attain diglossia (assuming prior ideological clarification) Source: Fishman (1991: 395)

language, to whom, and when?’ This information is largely obtained through surveys by means of questionnaires and then subjected to a quantitative analysis. However, these questionnaire data are often complemented by interviews with a sample of the participant body. The aim is not only to locate the settings but also to identify the interlocutors who remain most resistant to LS. Furthermore, socio-demographic features of these individuals such as age, gender, marital status, education, ethnicity, and religious affiliation are examined to understand their possible impact on the process of LM or LS. Thus, the domain-based examinations assist in identifying ‘strongholds’ or key domains for the maintenance of the heritage language, as well as those that are susceptible to the ‘intrusion’ of the dominant or majority language. The analysis of socio-demographic factors and related features helps explain differential rates of LM or LS not only within a group but also across communities. Both sets of data are then used to make prognoses about the group or community’s chances of maintaining the heritage language or about to assess how advanced the process of LS is. A prime example of this is Fishman’s (1991) Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale, known as GIDS, that helps a community to identify how far along the path to LS (in case of language death) it has moved and what kind of actions (LM efforts) would be needed to keep it going.2


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Linguistic Demography Another approach closely associated with the sociology of language that relies entirely on quantitative data and analyses is linguistic demography. While the former approach tends to concentrate on examining LM or LS in a specific community or group, the latter has a much more macro-level focus, using data on language(s) from censuses or other large-scale surveys to understand the dynamics of LM or LS across a region and/or country. Despite the many weaknesses of such data for the study of LM (for a detailed analysis, see Pauwels 2016a), they are nevertheless a valuable resource for charting language use and behaviour, for example, across a wide range of years, generations, and ethnolinguistic groups. As census surveys collect a massive amount of personal data from the entire population (usually excepting those aged under three or five years old) of a country or region, the language data can be cross-tabulated not only with this wealth of personal information but also with geographic data, for example, by postcodes, council or borough units, villages or cities, or other administrative regions in which individuals reside. It may reveal areas with high/low concentrations of specific ethnolinguistic groups and, conversely, it can show that some groups have a high level of geographic dispersion. Analysing the data across census surveys can give insight into changes in settlement patterns and how these affect language use. Prime and detailed examples of this kind of work include de Vries and Vallée’s analysis (1980) of the 1971 Canadian census (also de Vries 1994) and Clyne and colleagues’ analyses of four consecutive Australian census surveys between 1976 and 2006 (e.g., Clyne 1982,1991, 2005; Clyne and Kipp 1997, 2002; Kipp et al. 1995; Kipp and Clyne 2003). Many other scholars (for detailed references, see Pauwels 2016a) have analysed census-derived language data to complement their more specific LM examinations, for example, of a particular ethnolinguistic group or a particular factor in the process of LM and LS.

Social Network in LM Research Sociolinguistic studies of social variation within a specific language together with linguistic anthropological studies started to have an impact on LM and LS research in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Gal’s (1979) study of LS in bilingual Oberwart, Austria, and Milroy’s work on (English) language variation in Belfast (1980) highlighted the importance of social networks in shaping and explaining linguistic behaviour. Within the field of LM and LS research, the idea of social network was seen by some as a less abstract

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concept than domain, thus allowing for a more refined insight into language choices and practices. Employing the typical tools of qualitative research— participant observation, interviews, field observation, and notes—the social network approach is particularly helpful in understanding language dynamics from the individual’s perspective. It examines the types of networks (e.g., dense, uniplex, multiplex) individuals establish and maintain with others in a neighbourhood, small community, or similar settings. Strong and dense network ties were identified by Milroy (1980) as a mechanism for norm maintenance, leading individuals to adopt or maintain specific speech features. Conversely, Granovetter (1983) showed that people with weak ties tend to act as conduits for change and innovation. Transposed to an immigrant context, this would equate to LM being stronger among individuals who operate largely within networks in which the heritage language is still used regularly, whereas the individuals less involved in such networks could become ‘agents’ of LS. Although the volume of studies that have adopted the social network approach is not (yet) as extensive as those within the sociology of language mould, more studies are paying attention to the role of social networks in the dynamics of immigrant LM and LS (e.g., Cashman 2003; Gonzalez 2012; Hulsen et al. 2002; Lanza and Svendsen 2007; Li Wei 1994; Rubino 2014; Stoessel 2002).

Social Psychology of Language: Ethnolinguistic Vitality The social psychology of language approach made its entry into the study of immigrant LM via studies focusing on minority language settings in Europe (specifically Wales, e.g., Giles 1973) and on the Anglo-French language situation in Canada (e.g., Bourhis and Giles 1977). Its impact on immigrant LM research lies mainly in the approach’s emphasis on considering the study of language attitudes as central to understanding language use and language choices. Although others (e.g., Kloss 1966; Fishman et al. 1966; Clyne 1979) had identified the relevance of exploring language attitudes, questions of attitude were seldom examined with the same vigour that social psychologists devoted to the study. The latter researchers developed not only detailed surveys to measure language attitudes but also devised the matched-guise technique (MGT) to clearly distinguish between attitudes towards language and attitudes towards the speakers of a specific language (Lambert et  al. 1960). Although a range of attitudinal surveys and some MGT studies (e.g., Bettoni and Gibbons 1988; Callan and Gallois 1982) found evidence that negative attitudes towards the heritage language (held by either the migrant


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­ opulation or the majority) adversely affected LM, the status of this ‘factor’ p continues to be ambivalent rather than clear-cut. More influential was and is their work on a group’s ethnolinguistic vitality, a concept developed to predict whether members of the group will continue to use the heritage language or not. Ethnolinguistic vitality is described as ‘…that which makes a group behave as a distinctive and active collective entity in intergroup relations’ (Giles et al. 1977: 308). A group that has low vitality in such settings is more likely to disintegrate, and thus also to abandon, its language, whereas groups displaying strong vitality are better placed to maintain their identity and language. Earlier versions of this theory identified a set of structural variables—status, demography, and institutional support—that shape ethnolinguistic vitality. In later work, Bourhis et  al. (1981) recognised the importance of the group’s own assessment of its vitality. They revised their theory to comprise both the original structural variables, labelling them objective ethnolinguistic vitality, and the group’s own views and assessments, labelled as subjective vitality. This led to the claim that groups that rank high on both sets of vitality will maintain or be in a better position to maintain their heritage language.

Language as a Core Value Perhaps less widely known in immigrant language studies around the world are studies by J.J.  Smolicz, an Australian sociologist whose work was inspired by the humanistic sociology approach associated with the Polish sociologist Znaniecki. Smolicz and his colleagues (e.g., Smolicz 1980, 1981, 1991; Smolicz and Secombe 1985; Smolicz et al. 2001) drew upon diverse sets of data including questionnaires, diaries, interviews, and census data to study language use among immigrants in Australia. Not unlike the social psychological approach, Smolicz’s approach also focused on the group rather than the individual to understand patterns of language use and choice. Based on his Australian investigations, he developed the notion of ‘core value’: this referred to ‘those values that are regarded as forming the most fundamental components or heartland of a group’s culture, and act as identifying values which are symbolic of the group and its membership’ (Smolicz and Secombe 1985: 11). If language belongs to this fundamental—indeed, core—set of values, then a group’s distinctive identity is closely associated with the maintenance of its language. Potential loss of its language will thus jeopardise the group’s identity. Such groups are, therefore, more motivated to maintain their language than groups for which language

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has a more peripheral status. Smolicz and colleagues found evidence for this theory in language use and attitudes among a range of migrant groups in Australia.

Critical Appraisals of These Approaches Not unexpectedly, these approaches and theories have been submitted to critical assessment exposing their limitations, weaknesses, or flaws. For example, the limitations of linguistic demography are regularly pointed out by those using them as well as those avoiding them for LM research (e.g., Pauwels 2016a). The main weaknesses concern question formulation about language use, the operationalisation of relevant factors such as race/ethnicity/birthplace/ancestry, and restrictive processing of language data (i.e., the limit in the total number of languages processed for the population as well as per individual). For the sociology of language approach, its view of ‘language as a whole, bounded system that is associated with whole, bounded communities’ (Heller 2007: 11) has come under particular scrutiny, as it severely restricts our understanding of the complexity of language choices in bi- or multilingual settings (see also Blommaert and Rampton 2011). With regard to the social network approach, criticism has been directed at the concept itself: its construction as an independent dimension of social organisations (Martin-­ Jones 1989) or as a closed system (e.g., Bourdieu 1991) that does not take account of changes in socio-economic or political conditions or ideologies. Furthermore, the claim that strong and dense networks create ‘ideal’ conditions for LM has been weakened by studies that show little or no link between such networks and LM (e.g., Clyne 2003; Govindasamy and Nambiar 2003). The theories of ethnolinguistic vitality and of core value have come under more severe criticism, with scholars highlighting flawed specifications in the concept(s) (e.g., Husband and Saifullah Khan 1982; Clyne 1988), restricted applicability (e.g., Clyne 1991), or a lack of accounting for key historical or structural variables (e.g., Tollefson 1991). Rebuttals of the criticisms and of alleged flaws were particularly strong for the theory of ethnolinguistic vitality, although its creators also took on board some of the criticisms to refine and revise the theory (e.g., Johnson et al. 1983; Ehala 2010). Despite various flaws and limitations, these approaches continue to be used to examine the language choices and practices of migrants and their offspring in a number of transnational contexts. However, in the final section of this chapter, I explore whether these approaches are ‘fit for purpose’ to deal with questions of LM and LS in the new linguistic constellations arising out of new forms of migration and mobility.


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F rom Migration and Settlement to Mobility: Implications for the Study of LM Globalisation has become a major, if not the major, reference point for discussing the need to revisit and revise a multitude of concepts and frameworks that study human behaviour, including language and communication. Particularly pertinent to studies of LM and LS are the changes in patterns of population movement brought about by globalisation.

From Migration to Mobility Studies The expanding influence of globalisation forces has both been brought about by and led to significant changes in the movement of people around the world: put simply, more people move more often for more reasons to more places around the globe. Long-standing triggers for individual and mass movements such as warfare, religious and other forms of persecution, economic hardship, natural disasters, or adventure seeking have been complemented by newer ones including educational exigencies or opportunities, tourism, and employment practices. The latter impetuses have added not only a significant number of people to transnational movements but also led to an increase in short(er)-term mobility. Another factor that has led to the transformation of global mobility is a change in policies allowing or restricting greater or even free movement of people transnationally. While some countries or federations have facilitated the easy or free movement of people in their jurisdictions (e.g., the EU’s Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the Schengen agreement), others have strengthened border controls to limit (il)legal movement into or across their territories. The results of this transformation in global mobility include a much greater number of people ‘on the move’ on a permanent or long-term basis, either because they do not need or desire to settle or because they are prevented from (re)settlement. These developments have also impacted on the study of social relations, moving away from seeing proximity as the primary locus for studying such relations to adopting a perspective that transcends spatial and temporal boundaries, with a focus on real and virtual mobility (e.g., the creation of the mobilities paradigm, Urry 2000, 2007, also Cresswell 2006). This change in paradigm also affects the way in which migration is perceived: migration is not primarily viewed as a process of movement by a group or individual from one ‘stable’ location to another ‘stable’ or ‘long-term’ location; rather, long-term (re)settlement becomes just one of multiple possible outcomes of migration.

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Impact on LM and LS Changing global mobility patterns inevitably influence language issues. Many countries around the world have witnessed a sharp and steady increase in the linguistic diversity of their population. This increase is particularly noticeable in western(ised) urban environments. Although cities have always been prime locales of multilingualism, in terms of both the number of languages found among the residents and the number of bi- and multilingual speakers, globalisation has led to what some have labelled ‘superdiversity’ (Blommaert and Rampton 2011; Vertovec 2007), ‘metrolingualism’ (Otsui and Pennycook 2010), or ‘linguistic hyperdiversity’ (Pauwels 2014). This entails not only the presence of a growing number of languages and multilingual speakers in cities but also (relatively) rapid changes in the languages and speakers that impact on the urban linguistic landscape. The emergence of linguistic landscape study (e.g., Backhaus 2007; Gorter 2013; Gorter et al. 2011; Landry and Bourhis 1997; Shohamy and Gorter 2009) has assisted in documenting both the visual aspects of linguistic diversity and the rapid changes therein. In the past, it may have taken decades for a specific city, neighbourhood, or street to change its linguistic image, whereas these days such changes occur within a couple of years, sometimes even months. Furthermore, the growing body of urban multilingualism studies (e.g., Block 2005; Extra and Yağmur 2004; García and Fishman 2002; King and Carson 2016; Rampton 2006) testifies to these changes. Apart from the more traditional scenarios of linguistic changes, such as the entry of new languages into the city’s ‘langscape’ either adding to or supplanting older ones and new speakers joining existing heritage language communities, such studies have also revealed a multitude of complex language practices associated with many ‘newer’ arrivals whose language repertoires include various languages or language varieties in which they have different levels of proficiency. The greater presence of people with such multilingual repertoires can be traced to the increase in the diversity of global movement. Besides migrants who grew up in multilingual environments (e.g., from sub-Saharan Africa), there are now many more people whose life trajectory has brought them in contact with other languages: refugees who are spending considerable amounts of time in ‘international’ refugee camps who pick up fragments of languages along the way; citizens, especially those of the EU, who move between countries in search of employment opportunities; international aid workers; employees of multinational companies; and legal and illegal border crossers, to name but a few categories. Although some develop advanced competence in some or all of their languages, the majority


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display ‘truncated’ forms of multilingualism (Blommaert 2010) or fractured linguistic repertoires, relying heavily on language mixing and switching to communicate in their new environments. While some decide or are allowed to settle long term in another location, many more continue their voluntary or imposed mobility, requiring new language skills. Although there have always been such people, global mobility has led to an exponential increase in their numbers. These individuals’ linguistic profiles have become the subjects of an increasing number of case studies documenting the complexity and fluidity of their linguistic situation and trajectory (e.g., Blommaert 2010; Duran 2013; Haque 2011; Pauwels 2016a, b; Sharples 2017). By way of illustration, let us now turn to extracts from a case study of the members of a Vietnamese refugee family whose forced and voluntary mobility led them to live and work in France, England, Australia, and Sweden, resulting in linguistic repertoires that include Vietnamese, English, French, Swedish, and Berber (for a detailed description, see Pauwels 2016a). Their linguistic profiles and practices pose considerable challenges to examining questions of LM or LS within the ‘dominant’ frameworks. Some of these challenges include (1) an inability or unwillingness of individuals to identify one language as one’s native, first, or heritage language; (2) language choices that defy clear associations with domains, interlocutors, and social networks; and (3) occasional or even regular changes in the languages that make up one’s linguistic repertoire. The following extract from exchanges with Birgit illustrates these points. Birgit is a young ‘third-generation’ Swedish-Vietnamese woman whose father ‘migrated’ to Paris, France, as a young child and later moved to Sweden and married a ‘second-generation’ Vietnamese-Swedish woman: I am a person who speaks some languages and I will probably add some more in the course of my life. I’ll probably continue using my home languages with my family and friends and I would like my children if I have them to also be multilingual but not necessarily with the same languages. As to Vietnamese: I consider Vietnamese as one of my languages but it has no special status in my life. At home we speak a mixture of Swedish, Vietnamese and some French. Sometimes I’ll use the three in the same conversation with my dad – he likes speaking French as his Swedish is not so good but my mother prefers to speak Swedish or Vietnamese. […] I think that in our family our main way of talking to each other is by using bits and pieces of our languages. I think that’s pretty normal for our type of families.

The other second- and third-generation members of this Vietnamese family display similar views: they identify as multilingual without special ‘allegiance’

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to Vietnamese. There is also evidence of LM: these generations transmit and continue to use Vietnamese but also the other languages that their (grand) parents brought into the family as a result of their forced and voluntary mobility (Berber, French, English, and Swedish). The complexity and the fluidity of their language practices are not easily captured by the concepts associated with the dominant frameworks—domain, social network, even community of practice. This issue has frequently been raised by those engaging in post-­ structuralist studies of multilingualism (e.g., Aronin and Singleton 2008; Blommaert 2010; Gardner and Martin-Jones 2012; Heller 2007; Lähteenmäki et al. 2011; Makoni and Pennycook 2007; Martin-Jones et al. 2012). There is no doubt that the ‘tools’, methods, and concepts aligned with, or emerging from, post-structuralist approaches are well-suited to the documentation of this linguistic superdiversity, mobility, and fluidity occurring primarily at the micro-level. These studies have provided, among other things, detailed insights into the dynamics of individual language use and have exposed the ‘myth’ of multilingual repertoires consisting of full-fledged ‘standard’ languages among other varieties. Understandably, given its focus on the micro-level, the macro-­ perspective on questions of LM and LS has received limited attention. Nevertheless, the latter perspective continues to be relevant, as these ‘new’ forms of multilingualism and linguistic fluidity are located in nation-states that still espouse linguistic ideologies grounded in nationalism that continue to recognise languages as bounded entities and assign speakers to designated ethnolinguistic groups (with or without rights). In fact, recent world events and political developments in many nation-states seem to have generated an upsurge in ideologies that foreground the notion of ‘one nation-one language’, potentially leading to a return of anti-multilingualism views (excepting elite multilingualism). In such environments, there is a need for both micro- and macro-level studies detailing the language practices and views of these multilingual individuals. Yet, it has been shown that some of the key concepts associated with the macro-level approaches are not well suited to capturing the new linguistic realities, profiles, and practices and are thus in need of adjustment. This is best done from within the field (i.e., macro studies), albeit through an interaction with other fields studying multilingualism (e.g., Blommaert 2016; Darquennes 2014). In this ‘reshaping’ process, particular attention needs to be paid to the relationship between identity and language(s) and between language and group membership. In relation to the former, case studies have shown that many participants assign multilingual identities to themselves without privileging the ‘heritage’ language. When it comes to the link between language and group membership, there is no indication that a specific language is equated with being a member of an ethnic/cultural group.


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For Birgit, the Swedish-born daughter of a Vietnamese-French father and a Vietnamese-Swedish mother, being ethnically Vietnamese is not primarily expressed through use of Vietnamese: it can be through Swedish or French or any combination of the languages in her repertoire. If such views are more widespread among people with multilingual profiles, then the organisation of LM efforts along ethnic group or ethnolinguistic community lines is unlikely to be relevant, if not futile. Yet, it is the efforts of such communities that have contributed significantly to the maintenance of heritage languages in transnational settings. An important task in this reshaping exercise will be to investigate how the presence of this ‘new’ type of multilingual individual affects the role of community-based initiatives for LM. Whatever the outcomes of these field-reshaping efforts will be, they are likely to lead to a different interpretation of what constitutes LM and LS. In Pauwels (2016a: 183–184), I made an initial suggestion that ‘… rather than seeing LS as a process of (gradual or rapid) shift from one language to another language, we may conceive of it as a gradual reduction in the multilingual nature of a person’s or group’s language repertoire or language practices’ and that ‘LM could be conceived as the maintenance of a multilingual repertoire even if the languages or codes upon which the individual or group draws change’.

Notes 1. Although terms like ‘transnational’, ‘migrant’, and ‘diasporic’ have different historical contexts and hence are not equivalent, I will be using these here synonymously. 2. The GIDS is not the only framework or model developed to ‘predict’ LS (see Pauwels 2016a for other models) and has not escaped critical appraisals (e.g., Clyne 2003; Williams 2007).

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Martin-Jones, M., Blackledge, A., & Creese, A. (Eds.). (2012). The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism (1st ed.). London: Routledge. Milroy, L. (1980). Language and Social Networks. Oxford: Blackwell. Otsui, E., & Pennycook, A. (2010). Metrolingualism: Fixity, Fluidity and Language in Flux. International Journal of Multilingualism, 7(3), 240–254. Pauwels, A. (1985). The Role of Mixed Marriages in Language Shift in the Dutch Community. In M.  Clyne (Ed.), Australia. Meeting Place of Languages (1st ed., pp. 39–55). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, ANU. Pauwels, A. (2014). Rethinking the Learning of Languages in the Context of Globalization and Hyperlingualism. In D.  Abendroth-Timmer & E.  Henning (Eds.), Plurilingualism and Multiliteracies: International Research on Identity Construction in Language Education (1st ed., pp. 41–56). Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Pauwels, A. (2016a). Language Maintenance and Shift. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pauwels, A. (2016b, September). Superdiversity, Globalisation and Heritage Language Maintenance: Challenges and Opportunities in 21st Century Europe. Plenary Paper Presented at the International Conference of Applied Linguistics, Vilnius University. Pendakur, R. (1990). Speaking in Tongues: Heritage Language Maintenance and Transfer in Canada. Ottawa: Policy and Research, Multiculturalism Sector. Pfaff, C. (1991). Turkish in Contact with German: Language Maintenance and Loss among Immigrant Children in Berlin (West). International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 90, 97–129. Rampton, B. (2006). Language in Late Modernity. Interaction in an Urban School. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reitz, J. G., & Ashton, M. A. (1980). Ukrainian Language and Identity Retention in Urban Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 12(2), 33–54. Robinson, P.  A. (1989). French Mother Tongue Transmission in Mixed Mother Tongue Families. The Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, 14(3), 317–334. Rubino, A. (2010). Multilingualism in Australia: Reflections on Current and Future Research Trends. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 33(2), 17.1–17.21. Rubino, A. (2014). Trilingual Talk in Sicilian-Australian Families. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Schmidt-Rohr, G. (1932). Die Sprache als Bildnerin der Völker. [Language as Educator of Peoples]. Jena: Eugen DiederichsVerlag. Sharples, R. (2017). Local Practice, Translocal People: Conflicting Identities in the Multilingual Classroom. Language and Education, 31(2), 169–183. Shohamy, E., & Gorter, D. (Eds.). (2009). Linguistic Landscape: Expanding the Scenery. New York: Routledge. Smolicz, J.  J. (1980). Language as a Core Value of Culture. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 11(1), 1–13.


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Smolicz, J. J. (1981). Core Values and Cultural Identity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 4, 78–90. Smolicz, J. J. (1991). Language Core Values in a Multicultural Setting: An Australian Experience. International Review of Education, 37(1), 33–52. Smolicz, J.  J., & Secombe, M. (1985). Community Languages, Core Values and Cultural Maintenance: The Australian Experience with Special Reference to Greek, Latvian and Polish Groups. In M. Clyne (Ed.), Australia: Meeting Place of Languages (pp. 11–38). Canberra: Department of Linguistics, RsPACS, ANU. Smolicz, J. J., Secombe, M., & Hudson, D. (2001). Family Collectivism and Minority Languages as Core Values Among Ethnic Groups in Australia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 22(2), 152–172. Stoessel, S. (2002). Investigating the Role of Social Networks in Language Maintenance and Shift. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 153, 93–131. Tollefson, J. (1991). Language Planning, Planning Inequality. London: Longman. Urry, J. (2000). Sociology Beyond Societies. London: Routledge. Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press. Vertovec, S. (2007). Superdiversity and Its Implications. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30, 1024–1054. Wei, L. (1994). Three Generations, Two Languages, One Family. Language Choice and Language Shift in a Chinese Community in Britain. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Weinreich, M. (1932). Tsveyshprakhikayt: Mutershprakh un tsveyte shprakh. [Bilingualism: Mother Tongue and Second Language]. YIVO Bleter, 1, 301–316. Weinreich, U. (1953). Languages in Contact. New York: Linguistic Circle of New York. Williams, G. (1991). Welsh in Patagonia: The State and Ethnic Community. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Williams, G. (2007). Reversing Language Shift – A Sociological Visit. In J. Darquennes (Ed.), Contact Linguistics and Language Minorities/Kontaktlinguistik und Sprachminderheiten/Linguistique de contact et minorities linguistiques (1st ed., pp. 161–177). Asgard: St. Augustin.

10 Arctic Languages in Canada in the Age of Globalization Donna Patrick

Introduction Canada’s Arctic region is home to many Indigenous peoples and languages. It is also a region undergoing rapid social, physical, and ecological change. While such change has characterized this part of the world over the past 400 years of European expansion, changes in the late twentieth century have been even more rapid and intense, accelerating colonization, industrialization, and environmental degradation. These changes have also deepened ­concerns about human and animal health and increased flows of goods, languages, knowledge, capital, pollutants, and people (McGrew 1992), leading Indigenous peoples to engage with all of these developments (Watt-Cloutier 2015). In particular, global warming and the rapid rise of communication networks, scientific technologies, and extractive resource industries have been shaping the Arctic and its peoples as never before. This chapter investigates the language contexts of the Inuit, an Indigenous people in Canada’s North, and the dynamic multilingual communities in which Inuit languages and their revitalization figure prominently. This dynamism is reflected in a wide range of multilingual language practices, which have been shaped by rapid social and environmental change. Nevertheless, despite the legacy of contact with English and, to a lesser extent, French, both D. Patrick (*) Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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hegemonic on regional and global scales, Arctic languages remain, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Moseley 2010), among the most viable in Canada. So, the focus here is on the following questions: • What has created this dynamic language context and what continues to shape it? • In what ways are Inuit languages endangered and how have Inuit been working to counter these trends by working with the technologies, political arenas, and institutions now at their disposal? • How do the interests of Inuit language speakers mesh with Inuit political and economic interests to further Inuit autonomy and jurisdictional control over their territories? The answers to be offered to these questions point to Inuit as active agents who continue to maintain and shape these language contexts through everyday interactions with the land, human actors, and the political, institutional, and other spheres that have opened up through globalization. The context for examining Arctic languages in Canada is that of the Arctic region itself. This region has particular geopolitical significance, despite its small population; this is largely because of the global forces that have impacted Indigenous relations on national, regional, and local levels and have been interacting with local ecologies, peoples, institutions, and policy development. For example, the rapid onset of modernization in the late twentieth century has brought with it the “time-space compression” experienced by Arctic communities (among others) and the increased speed in which people, objects, natural resources, information, ideas, financial transactions, and other things move (Giddens 2003). Speakers of Arctic languages have experienced numerous effects of modernization and global forces, including mandatory schooling, forced settlement, and the introduction of governance structures, among other forms of institutionalization. These changes have also meant greater exposure to, and the perceived need to speak, more English in most of the region. For the most part, however, Inuit languages have managed to persist across time and space—as demonstrated, for example, in the bi- and multilingualism of many Inuit, particularly in the Eastern Arctic region. Language use is linked to local economies (or ways of making a living), cultural practices (or ways of life), and families, churches, schools, governments, and other institutional arrangements, all of which lead to perceptible social and linguistic transformations of everyday life. Any sociolinguistic and policy analysis of these languages thus

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needs to be rooted in the historical and social conditions that underpin language endangerment. As we see, language issues do not operate outside of the larger systems of power or beyond the “accelerated flows or intensified connections” or “[the] disconnections, exclusion, marginalization and dispossession” of people, homelands, and resources in the age of globalization (Edelman and Haugerud 2007, p. 97). These connections and disconnections—and the interconnectedness of global communication—are especially relevant to Arctic languages and homelands. Situating Arctic languages within a social and political context calls for a multipronged approach, which considers not only various local, regional, national, and global conditions at different moments in time but also broader sociohistorical processes of knowledge production that have shaped how we conceptualize, count, value, and talk about endangered languages. Such an approach will help to shed light on minority languages and communities on the (geographical, political, and economic) global periphery—which, ironically, are nonetheless at the center of both environmental and other global changes and the actions to counter such changes. Accordingly, the next section “Language Varieties and Indigenous Communities in the Arctic,” describes the different languages spoken in the Arctic and this linguistic context in general, including the challenges that Inuit face regarding the languages they use in their daily lives. The third section “The Social and Political Context of Arctic Languages,” examines ongoing social and political processes at the national and international levels that have shaped Inuit political and policy responses to Arctic languages. The fourth section “Inuit Language Policy and Politics in a Changing North,” examines these responses in light of the economic, political, and environmental transformations in the Arctic. The fifth section “Arctic Languages and Multilingualism in Local Contexts,” turns to some of the sociolinguistic literature related to Inuit languages. The sixth section “Language Revitalization, Teaching, and Learning in Mobile Contexts,” explores the effects of local and global transformations on the movement of information, language, people, ideas, and objects, especially as these relate language revitalization projects and the migration of members of Arctic communities to the cities of southern Canada. In contributing to this multipronged approach, each section provides a survey of the literature on the subject. The final concluding section considers some future directions for research. Note that in describing these Arctic languages, their use, and the political and legal actions that have shaped their speakers’ practices, I use the term “small languages”—rather than “Arctic minority languages.” This follows the


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practice of certain sociolinguists (e.g. Dorian 1995, p. 129) who use “small language” to highlight the precariousness of languages with relatively small population bases. Moreover, unlike the term “minority languages,” it does not carry various policy, legal, and categorization implications that are often inconsistent with such small languages (Dorian 2014; Pietikäinen et al. 2016). As it happens, for Inuit languages in Canada, the term “minority language” is an especially awkward fit, since these are spoken by the majority of Arctic residents and, as with other Indigenous languages in Canada, have rights associated with them that are specific to the country’s historical Indigenous-state relations.

L anguage Varieties and Indigenous Communities in the Arctic Before I turn to my main topic of Arctic languages in Canada, it might be useful to review some geographical and geopolitical facts about the broader Arctic region itself. This region, also referred to as the Circumpolar North, comprises the Arctic Ocean and the northern tips of the continents that surround it. Although “no country will ever ‘own’ the north pole” (Byers 2014, p. 112), a number of countries are vying for access to sea routes for transporting both goods and tourists,1 as well as the oil, gas, and mineral deposits that have been opening up as a result of rapidly melting sea ice. These emerging sea routes are among the obvious impacts of global warming on the land and the peoples living there (Watt-Cloutier 2015). These impacts include political, economic, environmental, social, and linguistic transformations affecting the peoples who call the Arctic home. Internationally, there have been ongoing negotiations over environmental regulations for industrial pollution,2 including mining and other extractive industries, and over control of the continental sea beds and, thus, potential oil and gas exploration.3 Such developments inevitably have implications for Indigenous peoples, given the interest that they signal in Canada and elsewhere in an increasing presence for multinational corporations pursuing non-renewable resource extraction in the region. An important concomitant of these developments for Inuit and other Arctic peoples is that proficiency in English as a global language, especially by bilingual brokers who can maneuver in both Western and Indigenous worlds, has never seemed so important. This linguistic fact represents the many challenges facing Inuit and other Arctic peoples in maintaining their languages as global warming and the influx of n ­ ewcomers

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brought in by extractive and other industries imperil these peoples’ hunting economies and cultural practices. In 1996, in response both to these global concerns and to changes facing the Arctic especially, the Arctic Council was formed to represent the interests of the eight Arctic states4 with respect to environmental protection and sustainable development. There are six Indigenous Permanent Participants on the Arctic Council, reflecting the range of circumpolar linguistic and cultural diversity. These Permanent Participants, who support Indigenous interests in the Arctic, include representatives of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), the Saami Council, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), the Gwich’in Council International (GCI), the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), and the Aleut International Association (AIA). For the purposes of this chapter, I limit my discussion to Arctic Inuit languages spoken in Canada, which are supported by the ICC. The ICC represents some 160,000 Inuit, from the Chukotka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, across Alaska and Canada, to Greenland (Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada 2016). The Indigenous languages spoken by these peoples are part of the larger Eskimo-Aleut language family, which links northern languages of Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this language family received a great deal of attention from linguists. This resulted in the production of a number of comparative studies as well as speculation on the origins or proto-languages of this family and on the migrations of the peoples who spoke them (see Dorais 2010, pp. 89ff.). As regards the latter, researchers have compared archaeological records with linguistic research using comparative methods. This work has led some linguists to claim that the original speakers of these languages lived in what is now west-central Alaska some 4500 years ago (Dorais 2010), or even earlier, given available records of human habitation in the area. Various migrations followed to the Aleutian Islands, for one branch of the family, and in various waves eastward, across the Arctic, for others. Ancestors of present-­ day Inuit language-speaking peoples originated from a migration from northern Alaska, estimated to have occurred about 800 to 1000 years ago. These ancestors, the Thule people (or “Neo-Eskimo” culture), developed technologies, including seal-skin boats and hunting tools, that increased their mobility and travel efficiency, allowing them to traverse vast distances across the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland, and into northern Quebec and Labrador. As Dorais (2010, p. 97) notes, this migration had a significant impact on the Inuit language, allowing it to “spread over the entire North American Arctic without losing its basic grammatical and lexical unity.”


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Despite such linguistic unity, there is still considerable diversity among the Inuit languages in this vast geographical region, which constitutes over 40% of Canada’s land mass. Although Canada’s Inuit population is relatively small, with roughly 60,000 members, there are 53 communities spread across Inuit Nunangat (“the place where Inuit live”) (Simon 2014).5 These communities are situated across four vast land-claim areas (see Map 1)—the Inuvialuit region (in the Yukon and Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Arctic Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Labrador) (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada 2018)—and represent two main language groups, western Canadian Inuktun and Eastern Canadian Inuktitut. These two language groups are, in turn, divided into a number of “dialects” and “sub-dialects.” According to UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger (Moseley 2010),6 these constitute 11 distinct Inuit language varieties, although some researchers have identified over 20 distinct varieties (Dorais 2010, pp. 28–29) (Fig. 10.1). For sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists, the tasks of determining what counts as a separate language and, in turn, what counts as an endangered

Fig. 10.1  Map of the four Inuit land-claim regions in Canada. (Source: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami)

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one have for some time been recognized as difficult and contentious (see Muehlmann 2012 for an overview of relevant discussion).7 In particular, the construction of boundaries between language varieties has long been acknowledged as arbitrary, historical, and ideological, involving the commonly held belief that languages are separate and bounde4d entities (see e.g. Freeland and Patrick 2004; Duchêne and Heller 2007; Urla 1993). Also long acknowledged is the existence of continua of language varieties, created through the historical movements of peoples and goods that have been constrained by physical, political, and social conditions. Moreover, in our modern and literate era, one variety may gain more power than others through standardization—or through “the homogenization and institutionalization of one variety over others” (Muehlmann 2012, p. 164; see also Mühlhäusler 1996). How one language variety is distinguished from another and how it is or is not granted the status of a distinct language are assessments central to the field of endangered language study. For Indigenous as well as other small languages, the process of choosing (or constructing) a given variety as the standard or dominant one has become a common part of language promotion, text production, teaching, and other forms of revitalization. Yet, the circumstances under which language varieties or dialects are designated as distinct languages are as much political as they are linguistic. Thus, while a local way of speaking—including the vocabulary, meanings, and grammatical structures associated with particular place-based practices—may well be deemed worthy of promotion, other varieties may actually come to be promoted, often in opposition to widely held beliefs about the importance of local languages, their continued use, and their need for greater institutional support. Languages at risk are designated as such because of the risk of their replacement by other, more dominant languages. As just noted, ideas about what language varieties are worth supporting and maintaining through institutional, policy, and other initiatives are supported by the same ideological assumptions about languages in general: that they are bounded units (or at least relatively stable systems) and that some languages are more powerful— that is, have greater political, economic, and institutional support—than others. These are among the linguistic realities that Inuit face, where bilingualism, especially among younger speakers, is on the rise, along with access to electronic media and to more culturally and economically powerful languages. Globalization and greater communication, educational, and economic opportunities have all increased pressure on Inuit to enhance their education systems to improve student outcomes and to prepare for the global transformations discussed earlier. These challenges are discussed in more detail later in this chapter.


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 he Social and Political Context of Arctic T Languages Inuit have experienced a long history of encounters with Europeans, including imperial powers and colonial agents. In fact, engagement with colonial trading empires, proselytizing missionaries, government agents, transnational corporations, and various political ideologies and legal regimes have characterized Inuit life for generations. However, as the global political-economic terrain has shifted, so too has the relationship between Inuit and the Canadian state. Officially formed about 150  years ago as a settler state, Canada was founded under a political-legal regime based on particular political-legal ontologies—that is, particular assumptions about the truth and nature of the laws and politics of governance—that served to justify the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands. This legal order included two legal doctrines: the “Doctrine of Discovery,” whereby European Christians could claim lands from those who were not subjects of a European Christian monarch, and the legal doctrine of “terra nullius” (literally “land of no one”), whereby territory not belonging to any particular nation or monarch was land not possessed by anyone. Of course, from Indigenous perspectives, the territory in question had already been settled long before the arrival of Europeans and belonged, and still belongs, to Indigenous peoples (Turner 2006; Ladner and Dick 2008). Canada was also founded under a process of treaty-making with Indigenous peoples that was initiated in the seventeenth century “to secure favourable trading relationships and acquire land, as demanded by international law” and “to create and maintain trading, political, and military relations with … Indigenous nations” (Ladner and Dick 2008, p. 65). To a certain extent, the process of acquiring lands and rights to resource extraction and of maintaining political relationships continues today in the form of modern land claims, including those pertaining to the four Arctic regions, Inuit Nunangat, referred to in the previous section. Significantly, the seventeenth-century treaties just mentioned were effectively nation-to-nation agreements, and this understanding of them is the basis of the modern relationship between First Nations—that is, those previously referred to as “Indians”—and the Canadian state. However, treaties signed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were not understood in this way but were instead seen as a mechanism to displace Indigenous groups from their traditional territories and to confine them to reserve lands. In other words, the reserve system, instigated by the colonial administration in the

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mid-nineteenth century, involved “disconnecting Indigenous peoples from their lands” and administering the reserve lands as notable “spaces of exception and elimination” apart from colonial settlers (Tomiak 2017, p. 929). The 1876 Indian Act entrenched this reserve-making policy in Canadian law, along with laws about who was legally defined as “Indian,” effectively accelerating the twin processes of treaty-making and reserve creation across western Canada (Miller 2000; Lawrence 2004). Clearly, these colonial processes of identification and space-making are basic to the history of First Nations communities. What is important to note, though, is that a second Indigenous group in Canada, the Inuit, were largely separated from these processes. Indeed, the Inuit have long been recognized as a group distinct from the First Nations in Canada and are differentiated from both the First Nations and Métis, a third Indigenous group in Canada,8 in the Constitution Act, 1982, Canada’s central constitutional document. (The three groups, however, are all identified in this document under the umbrella term “Aboriginal peoples of Canada.”) In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, during the period of (primarily) European settlement in the more southerly regions of Canada, there was little desire among settlers, aside from a small number of traders and proselytizers, to venture into the far northern lands of the Inuit. (As it happens, the traders and proselytizers who did settle in the Arctic played a key role in the creation of Inuit settlements in the mid-twentieth century.) This substantial lack of interest among settlers in northern territories accordingly meant that Inuit (until the 1970s, commonly referred to as “Eskimos”) and their lands were not a government priority, even though “Indians” and the lands reserved for them had been identified as a responsibility of the federal government in Canada’s original constitutional document, the British North America Act of 1867. In fact, the question of whether Inuit should be treated legally as “Indians” did not arise until the matter was referred to the Supreme Court of Canada in Reference Re Eskimos (1939). The court’s decision in that case affirmed the position of the province of Quebec that the well-being of Inuit was indeed a federal rather than a provincial matter. In this respect, then, the Inuit were like “Indians”; however, in most others, they were not— and, in particular, were not subject to the (paternalistic and invasive) terms of the Indian Act (Backhouse 1999).9 The low demand of the settler state for Arctic lands, however, changed rapidly after the Second World War. The Arctic’s strategic importance for military purposes, the region’s potential for mining, fishing, and other resource activities, and the situation of the region’s Inuit inhabitants—in particular, the fact that they still lived on the land, did not attend schools, and were in


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need of food and medical attention—heightened federal attention to the Arctic and its peoples. Colonization efforts accelerated in the North; in a manner similar to that of the First Nations and Métis in the rest of Canada, many Inuit children were sent to residential schools. These schools, which operated from the 1840s to 1996, with most closing in the 1960s and 1970s, represent a very dark chapter in Canada’s history. These caused profound and lasting harm to generations of Indigenous peoples across Canada, given their overtly assimilationist goals and the frequent physical and sexual abuse of Indigenous children that occurred in many of them (Barman 1986; Chrisjohn and Young 1997; Milloy 1999). Although Inuit children were not sent to residential schools until well into the twentieth century, the kinds of personal, collective, and intergenerational impacts experienced by First Nations and Métis communities likewise affected many Inuit communities. As it happens, it was not the case, especially in the Eastern Arctic, that every Inuit child was sent away for schooling; moreover, as noted in Watt-Cloutier (2015), some who were sent away went to live with southern families or went to residential schools only as teenagers. Many Inuit children were nevertheless separated at a young age from their families and communities and placed into a foreign environment where they were either forbidden or had no opportunity to use their first language. Such experiences took their toll on Inuit communities across the North and in particular on the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The conditions in residential schools attended by Inuit and other Indigenous students were brought to broader public attention in the 1990s, through the 1991–96 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP). Lawsuits against the federal government soon followed, seeking restitution for the abuse suffered by children in the schools. These suits resulted in financial compensation and an official federal government apology in 2008. Settlement of these disputes also included the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which, from 2009 to 2015, carried out a mandate to document the incidents that had occurred in residential schools and to convey this information to the Canadian public (Regan 2011; Coulthard 2014). Following the release of the TRC’s final report, Calls to Action,10 in 2016, action has been taken across the country to find ways to implement the report’s 94 recommendations. These recommendations include implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Both the national Calls to Action and the international UNDRIP call for a strengthening and revitalization of Indigenous languages and for Indigenous community control over education. Together, these two key documents continue to shape the discourse and politics of Indigenous languages in Canada.

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Of further note at the national level is the recommendation—number 13 in the TRC Calls to Action—that Aboriginal rights, as recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, be recognized to include Aboriginal language rights.11 This recommendation, also made by the Aboriginal Language Task Force (2003–05), follows from over 50 years of reports, lobbying, and Indigenous activism seeking the recognition of Indigenous language rights. What also emerges from these efforts is the need for greater funding for language teaching and education, arguably on par with that allocated for French and English minority-language instruction (Haque and Patrick 2015; Patrick 2007). Moreover, very recent federal government promises to enact legislation that would help to maintain and promote Indigenous languages, as part of efforts to resolve Indigenous language issues in Canada, are by no means new ones (Patrick 2016).12 The milestones in Indigenous-state relations described earlier form part of the political and social context necessary for an adequate understanding of the development and implementation of Arctic language policy in Canada. This context is particularly important, given the key role that language plays in education, identity, politics, and livelihoods—a role that has perhaps never been greater. In order, then, to gain a fuller appreciation of contemporary developments in the promotion, maintenance, and revitalization of Arctic languages, we need to look back on the international, national, and regional shaping of Arctic language policy since the 1960s.

Inuit Language Policy and Politics in a Changing North The history of Inuit language and education policies is a long one, reflecting different phases of Inuit encounters with colonial, political, and institutional realities. Inuit actions have arisen in a specific social and political context, some of which were described earlier. These actions can be fruitfully seen as situated within larger social and political discourses, where the latter are understood in the Foucauldian sense—that is, where language and ideologies construct relations of power that constrain and shape the work of social actors. Inuit have a substantial history of pragmatic political engagement (Kuptana 2014; Patrick et al. 2017a) and “have taken the initiative in connecting wider developments in law and politics to specific issues of sovereignty and governance” (Simon 2014, p. 183). In this section, we look more closely at these and, in particular, at Inuit engagement with language politics discourses locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.


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Simon (2014) describes three domains where political opportunities opened up for Inuit at the national level in the 1960s and 1970s. The first domain was the courts, where a number of landmark court cases on Aboriginal rights and title to land initiated the land-claim process. The second was the domain of Canadian constitutional reform, where the results included a new constitutional document that recognized various individual and minority rights. The third domain was that of Arctic affairs, which had historically been “removed from mainstream political focus” and from some of the “barriers to political change” (Simon 2014, p.  179). As noted earlier, this domain was shaped by the fact that Inuit-occupied lands were not considered desirable by southern capitalist or settler interests until the latter half of the twentieth century; before then, little political attention was paid to them. However, each of these three domains, or political spaces, came to assume importance in Inuit action. This action included the negotiation of four land claims between 1975 and 2005 and the spearheading of a drive for Inuit control of both education and language policy. In addition to this action at the national level, Inuit also engaged with a number of international discourses, as related to the notion of peoplehood (having a distinct language and culture), self-determination, and rights, all of which have shaped the linkages between language, politics, and education in groundbreaking ways. The history of Inuit language policy in education arguably began in ­northern Québec—a region previously known as Nouveau-Québec (“New Québec”) and now as Nunavik—with the signing of the 1975 James Bay and northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), a massive land claim.13 Comprising 14 Inuit settlements, Nunavik is under Québec and federal jurisdiction, with a unique relationship with both levels of government as a result of the JBNQA (Watt-Cloutier 2015). Inuit residing within the borders of Québec have encountered a unique political context. In this province, the implementation of French-language education for Inuit, a task with which the Direction Générale du Nouveau-­ Québec (DGNQ) was mandated in 1963, was seen as one way to assert Québec’s sovereignty and control over its northern region. The introduction of French-language education in the region turned out, however, to have a surprising result. In 1964, during a meeting with the DGNQ in a Nouveau-­ Québec village, an Inuk man took the floor and “asked on behalf of the community if the proposed new provincial school would teach his children in Inuktitut” (Diveky 1992, p. 2, cited in Patrick and Shearwood 1999, p. 256). According to a teacher present at this meeting, the answer, after some deliberation, was “yes, the provincial schools would provide instruction in Inuktitut for the children” (ibid.). The first teacher-training course for Inuit thus began

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in 1967, with Québec assuming full jurisdiction over education in Nunavik in 1969. This relatively early start to Inuit teacher training and curriculum development led directly to Nunavik Inuit gaining control of their education system in 1978 after the signing of the JBNQA.14 The idea of teaching children in their own, Indigenous, language was not unique to the Inuit of northern Québec, who were responding to the impulses of Québec nationalism. Internationally, a process of decolonization had been underway since after the Second World War, and part of this process was an increased interest in vernacular language education (Patrick and Shearwood 1999, p. 252). In 1950, the UNESCO convened a meeting of experts, who recommended that: the use of the mother tongue be extended to as late a stage in education as possible. In particular, pupils should begin their schooling through the medium of the mother tongue, because they understand it best and because to begin their school life in the mother tongue will make the break between home and school as small as possible. (UNESCO 1953, p. 48)

The global circulation of discourses on vernacular and other human rights might have reached the Arctic via those involved in education, including missionaries involved in schooling at the time (see Patrick and Shearwood 1999, p. 253). What might have also spurred Québec’s actions was Greenland’s use of Inuit languages in education since the mid-1800s and its establishment of a teachers’ college as early as 1841 (Hobart and Brant 1966). Indigenous language education had also already begun in Mexico in the 1940s and been adopted as national policy by 1964 (Modiano 1973, p. 89). All of these developments can be seen as a groundswell of support for Indigenous education, which ultimately led to UNESCO’s championing of a vernacular education model. In Nunavik, the Kativik School Board was established in 1978 as a consequence of the JBNQA. The school board’s partnering with McGill University to certify Inuit teachers (Cram 1985) and its development of an Inuktitut curriculum led to a program of Inuktitut-medium instruction for the first three years of schooling, which has continued to this day. This program became a model for Nunavut, the largely Inuit territory to the north of Nunavik, which achieved Inuit-majority control over a new territory with the signing of the 1993 Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (NLCA). While such initiatives were groundbreaking in their day, achieving satisfactory educational outcomes for Inuit in Québec and across the Arctic has remained a challenge (Watt-Cloutier 2015).15 In light of this, the Government


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of Nunavut has placed a substantial emphasis on language and education policy, as reflected in its Official Languages Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act (2008), a language policy plan (2012) to coordinate government language programs and services and an ongoing standardization project (Cloutier 2013; Palluq-Cloutier 2014; Patrick et al. 2017a). These initiatives follow the recommendations of Berger (2006), a report intended to advance implementation of the Nunavut land claim’s language-related provisions. Among this report’s recommendations was for Inuktitut-medium education to be increased beyond grades 2 or 3, as a way to increase Inuit employment in the Nunavut public service.16 One consequence of the report is that Nunavut now recognizes as official languages of the territory not only English and French but also Inuktut (a cover term introduced in Nunavut in 2007 for the Inuit language varieties spoken across the Canadian Arctic). Other key developments in the promotion of Inuktut in Nunavut are the recognition in the Official Languages Act of the right of Inuit to use the language in the Nunavut legislature, courts, tribunals, and the “head or central service offices” in the territory and the recognition in the Inuit Language Protection Act of the right of Inuit to use Inuktut in government workplaces to receive “essential,” “household, residential or hospitality,” and other services in Inuktut, and to have their children receive instruction in this language. This language legislation gave rise to the 2012 policy document Uqausivut, which offers a comprehensive plan to coordinate various government language programs and services.17 More recently, a language standardization process has been initiated by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization of Inuit in Canada. In August 2015, the ITK hosted a language summit in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on the “unification” of the Inuit writing system. This was part of a series of community consultations whose goal was to establish a common writing system for Inuktut, in order to replace with a single Roman system the nine different systems, based on either Roman or syllabic scripts, that are currently in use across the Arctic.18 Driving this effort has been the desire to share texts across the Arctic and to increase the availability of written resources for Inuit—seen as necessary to maintain and broaden Inuit language use to increase Inuktut-­ medium education from kindergarten to grade 12 (Patrick et  al. 2017a).19 Various aspects of the new writing system are still being discussed and consulted on, although its implementation is anticipated to begin in 2019. In all of these recent efforts—legislation, policies, and processes to strengthen, protect, unify, and further institutionalize Arctic languages— Inuit have been the driving force. They have drawn strategically on regional, national, and international discourses of language rights and on particular

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approaches to language politics, policymaking, and rights recognition to address language endangerment in the changing Arctic. In the next section, I examine in more detail what is at stake at the local level, as well as the links between language, identity, and Inuitness (or ways of living as Inuit) in an era of increasing mobility and globalization.

 rctic Languages and Multilingualism in Local A Contexts An examination of the broader context of language politics leaves open the question of what is happening at the local level—in the domain of sociolinguistic interaction, identity formation, and current and future language use. With increasing multilingualism in the Arctic at both individual and societal levels, the hegemonic role of English as a national and global colonizing language has gained prominence in Inuit communities in both spoken and written forms (Dorais and Sammons 2000, 2002; Hot 2008; 2012; Tulloch 2004; Shearwood 2001). In addition, as at other multilingual sites, language mixing is on the rise, particularly in larger multilingual centers; this has created new dynamic forms of language use and ways of speaking, which invite further investigation (Dorais 2012). Yet, questions also remain about the attachment of Inuit language speakers to their language, about the persistence of hunting and other traditional activities and the language use associated with these, and about the roles that language politics and policy—in education, the workplace, and the public sphere—might play in connecting with the desire of Inuit to maintain Inuktut cultural and linguistic practices and the everyday practices that help them to do so. Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, offers an interesting local context in which to consider these issues, given both its diversity and its growing population. According to the 2016 census, the population grew 15.5% between 2011 and 2016, to roughly 7750 people. Of this population, some 60% are Inuit, 6% French-speaking, and the rest English-speaking from elsewhere in Canada and other countries (Hot 2008, p. 122). In such an environment, English is spoken widely and maintains a dominant position, given its role in the workplace, its accessibility through electronic media and popular culture (internet, television, music), and its status as the primary language of communication between Inuit and non-Inuit (Dorais 2012). Yet, as noted in Dorais and Sammons (2002) and Dorais (2012), Inuktitut (as spoken in the Eastern Nunavut region) has continued to be a strong marker of Inuit identity and is still used in contexts with other Inuit speakers and as a means to identify


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oneself as Inuk. And it continues to play an important role in local and regional political arenas, where many still expect Inuit leaders to speak Inuktitut in order to be considered legitimate (or genuine) Inuit (Dorais 2012, p. 41). One very concerning development, however, is the reported increase of English among young people, who speak more English than Inuktut once they enter school. This switch to English is found not only in the school environment but also in interactions between peers outside of school; moreover, this use of English appears to be having a detrimental effect on oral as well as written Inuktut language performance. While Inuktut is still widely used in many households, especially those with young children, English is more dominant outside of the home and becomes more dominant as children age (Dorais and Sammons 2002, p. 63). Dorais (2012, p. 42) also points to his own research findings from 2006, according to which (younger) Inuit increasingly use English or a mixed English-Inuktut variety when conversing about modern life. Arguably, these findings would need to be tested further—in particular, through long-term ethnographic data collection and analysis— before a clear sociolinguistic picture can emerge about what is happening. However, Dorais’s findings reflect those of other, earlier research. For example, Tulloch (2004, p. 133) reports on a questionnaire-based study that she conducted on the linguistic practices of young Inuit in Iqaluit, which found that almost half of the participants (47.5% or 38/80 respondents) indicated that they found it easier to communicate in English than in Inuktitut. This might suggest that English is taking hold in larger, multilingual communities, where (1) the school system is still dominated by English, used as the main language of instruction after grade 3; (2) the number of mixed (Inuit and non-Inuit) households is increasing, which would mean that an increasing number of children are being raised with more English in the home; and (3) where English is a draw culturally, politically, economically, and affectively and seen in particular as more worldly and globally connected. A key takeaway of these observations, but one in need of confirmation through further research, is that such forces can lead to greater bilingualism among younger speakers, who, in becoming more dominant in English, are creating new, mixed forms of language use. Further research might reveal what these new language forms look like—and also how schools in the region might respond to the emerging forces of Inuktut, English, and (especially in Nunavik) French and of peer-­ based languages of interaction. It is notable, though, that these findings do not apply across the Eastern Arctic. In smaller Nunavut communities such as those studied by Tulloch (2004), including Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet (where Tulloch’s sample sizes  were 22 and 25, respectively), younger speakers’ bilingualism was not

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­ ominated by English, and Inuktut remained an important language of peer d ­interaction (p. 134). Dorais (2012) makes the same observation, particularly with respect to smaller Nunavik communities such as Quaqtaq (a place where Dorais’s years of ethnographic work have drawn on strong relationships with members of this community). These findings might indicate that in these communities, Inuktut enjoys considerable stability as a language of social reproduction—that is, as a language that continues to be passed from parents to children, leading to relatively stable forms of bilingualism, which are associated with stable social relations and with Inuit identities linked to the Inuktut language. Nevertheless, the finding that English has become dominant in Iqaluit and in other multilingual communities such as Kuujjuarapik, Nunavik (Patrick 2003; Dorais 2012) seems to provide strong evidence of the need for the language policy and political initiatives being advanced in Nunavut, which seek to extend Inuktut-medium education until the end of grade 12. To be sure, many key challenges remain in implementing Indigenous-­ language-­medium education as a way to address the increasing sociolinguistic dominance of English. Not least is the financial burden of teacher training and professional and curriculum development. Other challenges include the (re)marginalization of certain Arctic languages that will accompany the anticipated introduction of a standard form of Inuktut, despite the benefits of a standard form in easing the institutional implementation of the language and in increasing Inuktut literacy and text production. These challenges, in other words, involve the question of how to provide institutional support for bilingualism that does not, at the same time, undermine the production and continued use of certain “smaller” oral and written forms of Inuit languages. As Muehlmann (2012, p. 164) notes, there has been little concern among linguists and others for “endangered dialects—that is, particular varieties of language whose status is threatened by other encroaching varieties of the same language,” despite a great concern globally with language endangerment, including the endangerment of Arctic languages themselves. This, then, is one of the key tensions that exist in the ongoing process of Inuktut language unification. Easing this tension will require heeding calls for continued support of local ways of speaking and writing, while still addressing the need for a standard, “teachable,” and technologically accessible variety of Inuktut—one, in other words, that does not “belong” to any one community of speakers and makes use of a simple writing system suitable for word processing programs and text messaging. A language variety that fulfills these conditions has the potential to become the vehicle for Inuit to use their own


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languages within their own institutions and thereby a force for increasing Inuit employment in these institutions. The introduction of both a standard writing system and a standard form of Inuktut text production is seen as a necessary first step toward this goal of greater linguistic autonomy. However, the acceptance and implementation of both across the vast Arctic territories are not without challenges. These challenges, then, represent another site for further investigation, which would involve not only documenting the unique Inuit-driven process of language unification across Inuit Nunangat but also tracing how this unification comes to be implemented. This would, in particular, involve conducting the necessary research on language revitalization efforts and the complexities of the goal of improving Inuit educational outcomes. As it happens, a number of efforts have been made at the local level to revitalize language and to build capacity by increasing local language expertise and the number of Inuit teachers, the latter by establishing teacher qualification procedures. Other important efforts are also underway to study and document Inuit-centered pedagogical practices, which adopt what might be called “doing” language or engaging with “living” language practices. These alternatives to more passive reading and listening activities take into account Inuit culture, including its attachments to the land and its tradition of “land-­ based” learning. Many of these efforts have involved community-university collaborations, whereby pedagogical and practical expertise is shared, in order to engage in and enhance pedagogical practices through “doing” activities. Some examples and discussion of these efforts, and future research directions related to them, are illustrated and discussed in the next section.

L anguage Revitalization, Teaching, and Learning in Mobile Contexts Inuit and their languages are on the move—moving not only geographically, linguistically, politically, and in the policies that they initiate and develop but also as representations and ideas move with them and without them beyond local communities. This movement of people, images, ideas, pedagogies, and practices enables the creation of living language opportunities through practice and action, reflecting ongoing efforts to maintain and revitalize Arctic languages and to keep Inuit at the forefront of these efforts. For example, the pace of the development of university programs that focus on language revitalization and Indigenous language pedagogical development has never been

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greater. Perhaps not coincidentally, the migration of Inuit to southern Canadian cities—to escape housing shortages and find greater social, health, education, and employment opportunities—has likewise never been greater. A good example of this movement of people, ideas, and practices is one reflected in the life history of Millie Qitupana Kuliktana and her (literal) journey to revitalize Inuinnaqtun, as described in a short, widely available documentary called Millie’s Dream: Revitalizing Inuinnaqtun (Walton and Wheatley 2012).20 The Arctic language variety Inuinnaqtun that has been the focus of Kuliktana’s efforts is a marginalized one spoken in Kitikmeot, the westernmost region of Nunavut (formerly known as the Central Arctic region of the Northwest Territories). This language variety has suffered serious decline as a result of residential schooling, as discussed earlier, and the loss of language transmission from older to younger generations. A key point in the trajectory of Kuliktana’s life as described in Millie’s Dream is her career as a language teacher. This included her teacher training and graduation from the Master of Education program associated with the Arctic College in Iqaluit and the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown and her exposure to the Master-Apprentice language revitalization program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Bringing language revitalization expertise back to her home community, Kuliktana worked with an Inuinnaqtun “apprentice” in Kugluktuk (formerly Coppermine) and taught her the language through face-to-face interaction and “doing”—that is, carving and preparing hunting game, sewing, and other activities where the language was shared along with other tangible skills. Other Inuit-centered language revitalization projects and pedagogies have emerged over the past few years, and focus on language teaching and learning by doing, centered on tangible objects and the talk associated with these. Tulloch et al. (2012, 2017) report on informal language teaching and learning practices led by the Nunavut Literacy Council. These practices are part of “non-formal culturally-anchored programs” used to teach Inuit literacy skills through activities such as traditional sewing and interaction between elders (experts) and younger learners. Community researchers, including a local elder and two local educators, lead the programs in different communities— which, as noted by the authors, “are multiplying across the territory, generally with waiting lists and high retention” (2012, p.  82). The outcomes, which include the building of greater confidence, interest in lifelong learning, interconnectedness, and well-being, mean that learners acquire more language skills in informal culturally relevant contexts. In other words, learners “work on skills and practices that they see as highly relevant and to produce tangible products,” strengthening not only cultural connections through language and


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doing but “relationships with instructors and students … [This] in turn supports engagement in the community, education and the workforce” (ibid.). Still other projects, such as one in Nunavik, have focused on early childhood education. As Rowan (2014, 2015) observes, working with “land, water, ice and snow” is central to Inuit early childhood education practice: children acquire language while out on the land with their families and elders, collecting materials to make baskets or setting a trap to catch an Arctic fox. Thus, an Inuit-centered pedagogy, which brings elders, mothers, and children together in a land-based community context, is another way forward in language revitalization and intergenerational reconnection. Lastly, my own work in a southern urban context, with Inuit educators and community members, has served to produce and document culturally relevant Inuit language and literacy activities with meaningful objects, whether found, made, or transported from Arctic homelands to southern cities (Patrick et al. 2013; Patrick and Budach 2014; Budach et al. 2015; Patrick et al. 2017b). With the increasing pressures of urbanization, population growth, and globalization in the Arctic, more Inuit are settling in southern Canadian cities, for various periods of time. The prohibitive cost of frequent air travel to the North keeps many Inuit in the South for longer periods than they anticipate. Yet, the city-based Inuit I have worked with remain concerned about the Inuit language, about remaining connected with family and communities, and about living as Inuit, creating new forms of Inuitness or being Inuit, in their everyday interactions. For these reasons, southern Canadian cities now offer many new sites of language teaching and learning. One promising project is the current Montreal Inuit radio show, Nipivut (“Our Voice”), broadcasted in Inuktut and English on community radio and over the Internet every two weeks.21 These projects need to be further examined, not only so that they can gain greater attention and secure greater funding but also so that the work they produce can be assessed to see how it can best serve urban Inuit. Arctic languages might be considered endangered, but in many ways, they are very much alive and finding new ways to be transmitted, shared, and put into communicative practice. Of course, all of this language work, pedagogical development, and cultural production involve a great deal of time and resources. In the context of the global Arctic, it reflects one of many Inuit concerns about Inuit futures. Nevertheless, as we have seen, Inuit identities are linked not only to language but also to practices associated with the land and environment—including the people and other life-forms living there—and the myriad ways of being Inuit in the twenty-first century. Inuit agency involves not only ­understanding

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changing Arctic conditions and striving for greater participation in broader political domains but also maintaining Inuit control over language learning, teaching, and ways of communicating in a rapidly changing, modernizing Arctic. These forms of Inuit agency put Inuit interests in the Arctic and the wider world and their concerns about Arctic languages, into local, regional, national, and global contexts. What has been referred to as “scaling up”—seeing community interests as intertwined with national and global scales—has also involved “scaling down,” as Inuit use broader expertise from national and international domains in pragmatic and Inuit-centered ways to face both old and new global challenges.

Conclusions This chapter has examined Arctic languages by exploring local, regional, national, and global influences and perspectives on them. By using an analytical lens that takes into account power relations between colonizers and colonized and between different languages and language varieties, it has looked at some of the ways that Inuit and non-Inuit have engaged with Arctic languages historically and in contemporary practice. It has also scrutinized what could be referred to as “top-down” political and legal action and “bottom-up” local, Indigenous-driven processes to see what future directions Arctic languages might take. Finally, it has discussed how Inuit have responded to the political spaces that have opened up to address language issues and also how these issues are connected to broader concerns about culture, health, education, and other aspects of social and economic survival. To be sure, nothing is certain in the changing physical, social, political, and economic environments of communities that span the vast Arctic region. Arctic languages are linked to Arctic hunting activities on the land, sea, and ice, and these are linked, in turn, to global concerns about sustainability and what that might mean for Inuit (Watt-Cloutier 2015). These concerns raise many questions, such as the following: how will Inuit deal with the ongoing pressures of mining and other extractive industries, the potential increase in cruise-ship tourism, or the effects of greater economic and cultural globalization? In other words, how will Inuit maintain control over their cultural and land-based resources and assert further control over the ways in which they are represented and treated in a global economy? These questions are not just Inuit concerns, but global ones, affecting us all.


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Indigenous languages in many countries have been marginalized through colonialism and European expansion and are indeed at risk. They are, thus, in need of financial and other resources—in particular, to build on early childhood and school language programs and to create opportunities for language learning at all ages. Although many of these languages, including those spoken in Arctic communities, are perceived by their communities to be in urgent need of support, it is worth noting that in some communities the number of Indigenous-language speakers is actually rising, given community efforts to revitalize and use these languages in institutional and other contexts (Norris 2007, p. 24). In other words, while Arctic and other Indigenous languages are indeed facing many real challenges, many are very much alive and thriving, giving some reason for optimism about their future survival. For language researchers, the challenges and prospects are also real. What becomes clear as Inuit move forward with their own language initiatives is the need for respectful engagement with communities, speakers, and those involved in language politics and policymaking. Such engagement might foster more long-term, and especially qualitative, research, which enables the co-production of knowledge, process-oriented approaches, and the sharing of expertise and research findings to address the particular challenges that the Arctic context presents.

Notes 1. In August 2016, one of the first cruise ships, carrying over 1000 passengers, sailed through the Northwest Passage, stopping at a number of Inuit communities. See McKie (2016). 2. Such as the internationally negotiated Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001). 3. This exploration has included seismic testing that the Inuit have challenged in the courts. See Skura (2016). 4. The Arctic Council states include Canada, Denmark, and the politically aligned but self-governing Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat) and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the USA (Alaska). 5. The Inuit population is growing. These population figures are according to the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK); see ITK (2018). 6. The Atlas is published online; see Moseley (2010). 7. For early treatments of this issue, see also Haugen (1966), Mühlhäusler (1996), and Simons and Fennig (2018).

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8. Metis are commonly defined as a mixed people of European and Indigenous descent, and more specifically, those people who are descended from the ­western Canadian prairie settlement region of the Red River, near Winnipeg, Manitoba. 9. Although it is important to note that Inuit were subject to restrictive settler colonial administrative measures, including a numerical identification system, or “Eskimo disc numbers.” These small, round discs were distributed in 1941 (to be worn or sewn into clothing) and were used for identification purposes until the early 1970s, when surnames were introduced. See Library and Archives Canada (2018). 10. See Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). 11. The same claim was made by the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures (2005), as discussed in Patrick (2007, p. 49). 12. This policy was announced in Canadian news media, including the Globe and Mail; see Galloway (2016). 13. The name Nunavik (meaning roughly “land-place”) gained currency in Arctic Quebec since the signing of the 1975 land-claim agreement, the first land claim or modern treaty since 1921. Nunavut (“our land”), became an official territory as a result of the Nunavut Land Claim in 1999. 14. The 1975 land claim also gave Inuit control over health services and other institutional spheres that were unprecedented at the time in Canada (WattCloutier 2015). 15. For example, in February 2012, La Presse, a Montreal French-language daily reported that Quebec Inuit graduation rates of 17.8% are well below the 72.3% rate for the rest of Québec. An English translation of this article appears as Breton (2012). 16. The report addresses the failures in implementing the land claim, with an emphasis on the need for more Inuit employment in the territory’s civil service and for greater efforts to maintain and use Inuktitut in Nunavut. See Berger (2006). 17. See Cloutier (2012). The Uqausivut plan is available at Government of Nunavut (2012). 18. An ITK task force has held consultations on unifying the writing system for Inuktut across the four regions of Inuit Nunangat. See Rogers (2015). 19. Worth noting is that the specific changes to current systems that will figure in the single system will affect speakers in all regions; speakers in Nunavik and certain parts of Nunavut will face particular challenges, given that the syllabic systems currently in use and valued in these regions would be replaced. 20. The film is widely available on the Internet, including at University of Prince Edward Island/Nunavut (n.d.). 21. See, for example, Watson (n.d.).


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References Backhouse, C. (1999). Race Definition Run Amuck: “Slaying the Dragon of Eskimo Status”. In Re Eskimos, 1939. Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900–1950 (pp. 18–55). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Barman, J. (1986). Separate and Unequal: Indian and White Girls in All Hallows School, 1884–1920. In J.  Barman, Y.  Hebert, & D.  McCaskill (Eds.), Indian Education in Canada: The Legacy (Vol. 1, pp. 110–131). Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Berger, T. (2006, March 1). Conciliator’s Final Report. “The Nunavut Project”, 2006. Accessed 12 Mar 2017. Breton. (2012, March 2). The Inuit Tragedy: Nunavik Drops Out. Nunatsiaq News. drops_out/. Accessed 12 Mar 2017. Budach, G., Patrick, D., & Mackay, T. (2015). “Talk Around Objects”: Designing Trajectories of Belonging in an Urban Inuit Community. Social Semiotics, 25(4), 446–464. Byers, M. (2014). Cold Peace, Arctic Cooperative and Canadian Foreign Policy. In K. Battarbee & J. E. Fossum (Eds.), The Arctic Contested (pp. 107–120). Brussels: Peter Lang. Chrisjohn, R. D., & Young, S. L. (1997). The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada. Penticton: Theytus Books. Cloutier, S. (2013). UQAUSIVUT: Our Language Implementing Made-in-Nunavut Language Legislation. In M.-J. Norris, D. Patrick, & N. Ostler (Eds.), Proceedings from the XVII Foundation of Endangered Languages Conference (pp.  12–15). Ottawa: Carleton University. Coulthard, G.  S. (2014). Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Cram, J. (1985). Northern Teachers for Northern Schools: An Inuit Teacher-Training Program. McGill Journal of Education, 20(2), 113–131. Diveky, G. (1992). The Thirty-Year Turnaround: A Teacher’s View of Changing Educational and Language Policies in the N.W.T.  In N.  Grabum & R. lutzi-­ Mitchell (Eds.), Proceedings of the Conference: Language and Educational Policy in the North, Berkeley, California (pp. 87–101). Dorais, L.-J. (2006a). Inuit Discourse and Identity after the Advent of Nunavut. Unpublished Research Report. Québec: Centre interuniversitaire d’études et de recherches autochtones, Université Laval. Dorais, L.-J. (2006b). Discours et identité à Iqaluit après l’avènement du Nunavut. Études/Inuit/Studies, 30(2), 163–189. Dorais, L.-J. (2010). The Language of the Inuit: Syntax, Semantics, and Society in the Arctic. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Dorais, L.-J. (2012). Linguistic Markets and Minority Languages: Some Inuit Examples. In L.-J. Dorais & F. Laugrand (Eds.), Linguistic and Cultural Encounters

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in the Arctic: Essays in Memory of Susan Sammons (pp. 39–48). Québec: Éditions du CIÉRA, Université Laval. Dorais, L.-J., & Sammons, S. (2000). Discourse and Identity in the Baffin Region. Arctic Anthropology, 37(2), 92–110. Dorais, L.-J., & Sammons, S. (2002). Language in Nunavut. Discourse and Identity in the Baffin Region. Iqaluit/Québec: Nunavut Arctic College and GÉTIC. Dorian, N.  C. (1995). Small Languages and Small Language Communities. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 114, 129–137. Dorian, N. C. (2014). Small-Language Fates and Prospects: Lessons of Persistence and Change from Endangered Languages. Collected Essays. Leiden: Brill. Duchêne, A., & Heller, M. (Eds.). (2007). Discourses of Endangerment: Interest and Ideology in the Defence of Languages. London: Continuum. Edelman, M., & Haugerud, A. (2007). Development. In D. Nugent & J. Vincent (Eds.), A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics (pp.  86–106). Malden: Blackwell Publishing. Freeland, J., & Patrick, D. (2004). Introduction. In J. Freeland & D. Patrick (Eds.), Language Rights and Language Survival: Sociocultural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives (pp. 1–34). Manchester: St. Jerome Press. Galloway. (2016, December 6). Trudeau Reassures First Nations of Commitment to Deliver on Promises. The Globe and Mail. news/politics/trudeau-announces-indigenous-languages-act-at-afn-assembly/article33215626/. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Giddens, A. (2003). Runaway World: How Globalization Is Shaping Our Lives. New York: Routledge. Government of Nunavut. (2016). UQAUSIVUT: The Comprehensive Plan Pursuant to the Official Languages Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act 2012–2016. Accessed 25 Mar 2018. Haque, E., & Patrick, D. (2015). Indigenous Languages and the Racial Hierarchisation of Language Policy in Canada. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36(1), 27–41. Haugen, E. (1966). Dialect, Language, Nation. American Anthropologist, 68(6), 922–935. Hobart, C. W., & Brant, C. S. (1966). Eskimo Education, Danish and Canadian: A Comparison. Canadian Review of Anthropology and Sociology, 3, 47–66. Hot, A. (2008). Un bilinguisme stable est-il possible à Iqaluit? Études/Inuit/Studies, 32(1), 117–136. Hot, A. (2012). Reading and Writing the Inuit Language in Iqaluit and Igloolik: Conclusions of a Qualitative Research Project. In L.-J.  Dorais & F.  Laugrand (Eds.), Linguistic and Cultural Encounters in the Arctic: Essays in Memory of Susan Sammons (pp. 49–56). Québec: Éditions du CIÉRA, Université Laval. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. (2018). Inuit. https://www.aadnc-aandc. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada. (2016). About ICC. Accessed 24 Mar 2018.


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ITK. (2018). Who We Are. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Kuptana, R. (2014). Indigenous Peoples in Canada: Politics, Policy and Human Rights-­ Based Approaches to Development and Relationship-Building. Public lecture, Trent University, Peterborough. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Ladner, K., & Dick, C. (2008). Out of the Fires of Hell: Globalization as a Solution to Decolonization. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 23, 63–91. Lawrence, B. (2004). “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood. Vancouver: UBC Press. Library and Archives Canada. (2018). The Inuit: Disc Numbers and Project Surname. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. McGrew, A. (1992). A Global Society? In S. Hall, D. Held, & T. McGrew (Eds.), Modernity and Its Futures (pp. 61–116). Cambridge: Polity Press. McKie, R. (2016, August 21). Inuit Fear They Will Be Overwhelmed as “Extinction Tourism” Descends on Arctic. The Guardian. world/2016/aug/20/inuit-arctic-ecosystem-extinction-tourism-crystal-serenity. Accessed 4 Mar 2017. Miller, J. R. (2000). Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian White Relations in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Milloy, J. S. (1999). A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press. Modiano, N. (1973). Indian Education in the Chiapas Highlands. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Moseley, C. (Ed.). (2010). Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Muehlmann, S. (2012). Von Humboldt’s Parrot and the Countdown of Last Speakers in the Colorado Delta. Language and Communication, 32, 160–168. Mühlhäusler, P. (1996). Language Change and Linguistic Imperialism in the Pacific Region. London: Routledge. Norris, M. J. (2007). Aboriginal Languages in Canada: Emerging Trends and Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Patrick, D. (2003). Language, Politics and Social Interaction in an Inuit Community. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Patrick, D. (2007). Indigenous Language Endangerment and the Unfinished Business of Nation-States. In M. Heller & A. Duchêne (Eds.), Discourses of Endangerment: Interest and Ideology in the Defence of Languages (pp. 35–56). London: Continuum. Patrick, D. (2016). Indigenizing Language Policy in Canada: Redressing Racial Hierarchies. In G. Lane-Mercier, D. Merkle, & J. Koustas (Eds.), Plurilinguisme et pluriculturalisme (pp. 125–138). Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal. Patrick, D., & Budach, G. (2014). Urban-Rural Dynamics and Indigenous Urbanization: The Case of Inuit Language Use in Ottawa. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 13, 236–253.

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Patrick, D., Budach, G., & Muckpaloo, I. (2013). Multiliteracies and Family Language Policy in an Urban Inuit Community. Language Policy, 12(1), 47–62. Patrick, D., Murasugi, K., & Palluq-Cloutier, J. (2017a). Standardization of Inuit Languages in Canada. In P. Lane, J. Costa, & H. De Korne (Eds.), Standardizing Minority Languages: Competing Ideologies of Authority and Authenticity in the Global Periphery (pp. 135–153). New York: Taylor and Francis. Patrick, D., & Shearwood, P. (1999). The Roots of Inuktitut Bilingual Education. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 19, 249–262. Patrick, D., Shaer, B., & Budach, G. (2017b). Language and Territorialization: Food Consumption and the Creation of Urban Indigenous Space. Semiotic Review 5. Accessed 25 Mar 2018. Pietikäinen, S., Kelly-Holmes, H., Jaffe, A., & Coupland, N. (2016). Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Regan, P. (2011). Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Rogers, S. (2015, August 12). ITK Gears Up for Iqaluit Language Summit: Cross-­ Country Consultations Show Inuit Favour Roman Orthography. Nunatsiaq News. language_summit/. Accessed 12 Mar 2017. Rowan, M.  C. (2014). Co-constructing Early Childhood Programs Nourished by Inuit Worldviews. Études/Inuit/Studies, 38(1–2), 73–94. Rowan, M. C. (2015). Thinking with Land, Water, Ice and Snow: A Proposal for Inuit Nunangat Pedagogy in the Canadian Arctic. In V.  Pacini-Ketchabaw & A.  Taylor (Eds.), Unsettling the Colonialist Places and Spaces of Early Childhood Education (pp. 198–218). New York: Routledge. Shearwood, P. (2001). Inuit Identity and Literacy in a Nunavut Community. Etudes/ Inuit/Studies, 25(1–2), 295–307. Simon, M. (2014). Canadian Inuit: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going. In K.  Battarbee & J.  E. Fossum (Eds.), The Arctic Contested (pp.  177–189). Brussels: Peter Lang. Simons, G. F., & Fennig, C. D. (Eds.). (2018). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (21st ed.). Dallas: SIL International. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Skura, E. (2016, November 29). “We Thought No One Care”: Clyde River Inuit Flooded with Support. CBC News. supreme-court-indigenous-duty-to-consult-clyde-river-seismic-testing-1.3873059. Accessed 3 Mar 2017. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. (2001). 2256 UNTS 119; 40 ILM 532. Accessed 25 Mar 2018.


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Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures. (2005). Towards a New Beginning: A Foundational Report for a Strategy to Revitalize First Nation, Inuit and Métis Languages and Cultures. Ottawa: Minister of Canadian Heritage. Tomiak, J. (2017). Contesting the Settler City: Indigenous Self-Determination, New Urban Reserves, and the Neoliberalization of Colonialism. Antipode, 49(4), 928–945. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Calls to Action. http:// Accessed 25 Mar 2018. Tulloch, S. (2004). Inuktitut and Inuit Youth: Language Attitudes as a Basis for Language Planning. PhD Thesis, Université Laval, Québec. Tulloch, S., Pilakapsi, Q., Uluqsi, G., Kusugak, A., Chenier, C., Ziegler, A., & Crockatt, K. (2012). Impacts of Non-formal, Culturally-Based Learning Programs in Nunavut. In L.-J.  Dorais & F.  Laugrand (Eds.), Linguistic and Cultural Encounters in the Arctic: Essays in Memory of Susan Sammons. Québec: Éditions du CIÉRA, Université Laval. Tulloch, S., Kusuguk, A., Chenier, C., Pilakapsi, Q., Uluqsi, G., & Walton, F. (2017). Transformational Bilingual Learning: Re-engaging Marginalized Learners Through Language, Culture, Community and Identity. Canadian Modern Language Review, 73(4), 438–462. Turner, D. (2006). This Is Not a Peace Pipe: Towards a Critical Indigenous Philosophy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. UNESCO. (1953). The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education. Paris: UNESCO. Urla, J. (1993). Cultural Politics in an Age of Statistics: Numbers, Nations, and the Making of Basque Identity. American Ethnologist, 20(4), 818–843. Walton, F., & Wheatley, K. (Producer), Sandiford, M. (Director). (2012). Millie’s Dream: Revitalizing Inuinnaqtun. A Documentary Video. Charlottetown: University of Prince Edward Island. Watson, M.  K. (n.d.). Nipivut Radio Show. Accessed 24 Mar 2018. Watt-Cloutier, S. (2015). The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet. Toronto: Penguin.

Part IV Economics, Markets, Commodification

11 Minority Languages and Markets Sari Pietikäinen, Helen Kelly-Holmes, and Maria Rieder

Introduction Along with prevailing political regimes and colonisation, the minoritisation of speakers and communities is to a large extent the result of market processes. The shift from speaking a minority language to a dominant language is in many cases caused by the lack of economic opportunities in regions where minority languages are spoken and the low demand for skills in the minority language. Revitalisation efforts in the form of language policy and planning are therefore often targeted at reversing the negative economic status of m ­ inority languages and creating new demand for and supply of speakers. This chapter explores how minority languages both figure in economic development and are invested with values of expertise, distinction and authenticity. Drawing on previous research, including our studies on minority and indigenous language practices and discourses in peripheral, multilin-

S. Pietikäinen (*) Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä Finland, Jyväskylä, Finland e-mail: [email protected] H. Kelly-Holmes • M. Rieder School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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gual Irish and Sámi sites, we discuss the changing and expanding role of minority languages in some key economic domains: advertising and marketing, tourism, the media and job markets. We reflect on the conditions and consequences of these economic processes for minority languages in changing markets.

Minority Languages in Changing Markets As illustrated throughout  this volume, minority and indigenous languages occupy a central role in identity projects and in political struggles for rights and recognition of speaker  groups (Hinton and Hale 2001; Hinton 2003; McCarty 2003). However, in the current era of globalisation, characterised by intensified and increased circulation of ideas, products and people, and enhanced by technology (Appadurai 1986), minority languages have gained new value as resources for economic development, especially as an index of difference, authenticity and uniqueness (Heller et al. 2016; Pietikäinen et al. 2016). In this contribution we use critical sociolinguistic and discourse analytical approaches (Heller et  al. 2018) to discuss the dynamics of minority languages and economic development, drawing on our work related to Irish and Sámi languages and extending our discussion to other languages and contexts. In classical Marxist terms, this revaluation of minority languages can be understood in terms of exchange value, which presents itself quantitatively as the “proportion in which values in use of one sort are exchanged for those of another sort” (Marx 1867; see also Harvey 1982; Del Percio et al. 2016 for an overview on language and political economy). The attribution of use and exchange value implies that languages are seen as commodities, as objects that by their properties satisfy human wants of some sort or another (Marx 1867) and that are exchanged, invested in and are means of investment. Languages therefore have market value (Duncan 2014). Heller and Duchêne (2012) describe the changing values of language as a shift from pride to profit. They shed light on the dynamics between the ideologies of seeing language in terms of rights, ethnicity and citizenship in a powerful nation-state (e.g. Hobsbawm 1990) and of perceiving language as increasingly constructed through discourses of economic profit, used in struggles over legitimate ownership and access to resources. While the “pride to profit” trope is just one example of the recent intensification of interest around economic aspects, minority languages have a long history of involvement with

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market conditions. The process of minoritisation of languages and communities is often the result of economic considerations and market developments.1 Indeed, one of the key reasons for language shift from a minoritised language to the dominant, majority language is economic: for example, in a colonial context, which is often described as a previous era of globalisation, the local indigenous language became minoritised and disadvantaged relative to the language of the coloniser (Léglise and Migge 2007; Rassool et  al. 2007; Mufwene 2001; Grenoble and Whaley 1998). Under these conditions, in order to gain access to valuable capital, such as education, job markets and so on, the indigenous population needs to move to the language of the coloniser in an asymmetrical power relationship. The language of the coloniser becomes the language of economic and political power, and acquires capital on the linguistic market of the particular country or region.2 Bourdieu’s (1991) concept of the linguistic market is one way to understand the relative exchange ‘values’ of languages in a particular society and social order. Here, languages and linguistic practices are understood as symbolic assets, capital that can receive different values, depending on the market where they are exchanged (Del Percio et al. 2016: 56). As with colonisation or mobility, the indigenous or migrants’ languages often lose their economic value under new conditions. Learning the political elite’s or the host society’s language becomes crucial capital in order to access education and job markets (Extra and Gorter 2008; Extra and Yaǧmur 2004; Beacco 2008; Cheesman 2001). While political and economic minoritisation of languages has often led to stigmatisation (Gal 2008), minoritised languages can gain new value as indexes of locality, uniqueness and authenticity under different circumstances, such as in the global tourism and culture industries (Pietikäinen et al. 2016). As with all commodities and exchange rates, and like any other resource, minority languages can also gain or lose their economic value under specific conditions, related to a particular moment in time and place. This value of language is intertwined with the economic, cultural, political and technological orders of a certain moment. These assessments are ideological valuations, discursively constructed in the interaction. They are also subject to ­contestation and struggle. The perceived value of particular languages in a given moment impacts on the exchange value of the language repertoires of speakers and in this way becomes linked to the wider social issues of access, rights and inequality. For example, it is hard to imagine the power of Latin in Europe before the development of the printing press. Print capitalism directly or indirectly challenged and ultimately overturned the dominance of Latin, by enabling mass publishing in other languages (Anderson 1983).


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Appadurai (1986) reminds us that one of the criteria for being a ‘commodity’ is usability or usefulness. Minoritised languages often suffer a loss in their (perceived) usefulness beyond immediate family, community and intimate domains (de Swaan 2001). For example, one of the major factors contributing to language shift from Irish to English in the latter half of the nineteenth century was the economic need to emigrate to English-speaking parts of the world (see Hindley 1990; Lee 1989). Consequently, the Irish language became associated with economic backwardness and even came to be seen as incompatible with a modern, successful economy (see Walsh 2011). Similarly, in Corsica, learning French made Corsicans eligible for well-paid civil service jobs on the island; it also enabled them to migrate to the French mainland and to work in colonial service throughout the francophone world. The widespread experience of relative prosperity led to the reputation of French as a ‘lingua di u pane’ (‘language that brought the bread home’) and cemented the Corsican language’s negative economic exchange value and its association with backward rurality and poverty (Jaffe 2007b; Pietikäinen et  al. 2016). Similar kinds of processes can be found in several other minority and indigenous language contexts (see e.g. Pietikäinen 2015; Rubdy and Tan 2008; Rassool et al. 2007). Thus the actual process of minoritisation can be seen as the result of an economic process by which a speaker’s language becomes devalued in the particular linguistic market in which they live and work. Once the language is recognised as minoritised or endangered, the first step is often to reverse the economic process by which the minoritisation occurred. For instance, language policies can be introduced to protect the language from market conditions. Much of language policy and planning is therefore designed to counter prevailing market forces and reverse the language shift. Language policy and planning can involve subsidising industries in peripheral minority language sites in order to maintain the population living and speaking the language there. Resources may be diverted to support acquisition of the language even if there is a greater demand for learning other, perhaps bigger and more dominant languages (Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes 2013; Pietikäinen et al. 2016). Top-down language policy activities, especially in education, public administration and the media, often give priority to the continued and increased use of minority languages in existing and new markets. Stimulated in this way, many industry sectors, such as the media, local retail, tourism and creative arts, create a multiplying effect through the deployment of minority languages as commodities. Minority languages become resources for authenticated, individualised and unique products in niche markets that are otherwise dominated by mainstream, mass products, and at the same time stimulate other

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industries involved in the production of the product. Jobs created in these processes as well as domains where the use of minority languages is exploited as a value-adding capital mean that these languages potentially become fitter for survival in an increasing range of settings. Economic revaluation through the interplay of language and economic policies therefore plays a decisive role in overcoming the precarious situation in which many minority languages find themselves. Investing money in the promotion of minority languages can trigger demand (Harvey 1982) for minority-language development (for instance, for educational staff and increased intergenerational transmission). Profits can be used to supply products using minority languages (Evas 2000), effectively helping local as well as global industries. At the same time, this revaluation creates tensions and debates over issues such as fair distribution of profits, legitimate access, and respectful and sustainable use of minority languages (Pietikäinen 2015). While minority-language policy and planning efforts stimulate the positive exchange value of minority languages, the indirect benefits from the creative use of minority languages (for example, their use in branding or product names) should not be underestimated (Li 2011; Li and Wu 2009; Kramsch and Whiteside 2008; Canagarajah 2005). Here, generating income contributes to the opening up of a minority language to other fields, turning on additional supply–demand feedback loops. It is the interplay between individuals, institutions and industry that we aim to address in four fields, namely, the media, job markets created by language policy, tourism and marketing. We focus on these fields in order to discuss their role in increasing the exchange value of minority languages.

 urrent Contexts and Conditions: Minority C Languages, Exchange Value and Markets Language policy and planning initiatives can influence and promote the use of minority languages for business purposes, with a multiplying Catherine wheel effect (Strubell 1999) that creates new demand and markets for minority languages, for example in the education, translation and interpreting, administration, and culture and arts sectors. Using minority language not only for political purposes but also for economic development involves introducing exchange relations to domains that were previously untouched by such processes. This appears to be a pervasive process that invades every area of life. Yet, as we shall see, there is some resistance to exploiting minority languages


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for economic benefit. We discuss four overlapping domains where minority languages have been used for economic development: (1) the media, (2) job markets, (3) tourism and (4) marketing.

Minority Languages and Media Markets Traditional broadcast and print media as well as new social media have the potential to affect the value of minority languages. The recent rise in the availability of diverse media presents an opportunity for minority languages to increase their visibility and to deliver content in a range of areas and through a diversity of usage that target different generations’ changing tastes and needs (Moriarty and Pietikäinen 2011; Matsaganis et al. 2011). These developments have an impact on market recognition for minority languages and so create revenue and further demand for minority-language media jobs, programmes and companies. Wider audiences and a stronger presence of minority languages in media mean that media fulfil an important function, a type of ‘upgrading’ of the minority language. Thus, media processes contribute both to ideological changes in prestige and to symbolic value ascription of minority languages and the development of competences through the promotion of use (Amezaga and Arana 2012). Minority-language media have the potential to add symbolic value to a minority language by contributing to the standardisation process of the language. Highly regulated and ordered, ideologically invested in terms of prestige, visibility and voice, and central to minority-language practices, innovations and markets, minority media are at the heart of processes of standardisation and norm-creation (Jaffe 2007a; Moriarty 2009; Kelly-Holmes et al. 2009; Pietikäinen 2008). An example is the purchase of broadcasting rights for sports such as tennis by Irish language station TG4, and rugby by Irish-, Welsh- and Scottish Gaelic-medium television channels, which resulted in corpus development as well as the widening of audiences.3 At the same time, minority-language media spaces and practices become sites for language development and renewal. With growing urbanisation and internal migration, minority-language speakers become dispersed within a majority linguistic context. In this context, minority-language media provide a sense of connection, where not only is content shared, but also norms are established, creatively contested, resisted and modified, particularly in humour and hybrid language use (Matsaganis et  al. 2011; Moriarty 2009; Kelly-­ Holmes 2014a; Pietikäinen et al. 2016).

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Minority-language media have great potential in terms of raising the prestige of the language, shaping norms and contributing to language development overall through a strategic use of media, with the potential effect of raising exchange values for the language.4 This can lead to diverse business opportunities (Cormack 2005), as in the case of the Irish-language radio and television stations in Ireland’s Gaeltacht region, which have helped to sustain the language community by providing employment in journalism, production and advertising for Irish speakers who might have left the area otherwise, further depleting the status of the language in the community and contributing to further minoritisation. In Sámiland, Sámi radio is located in the northern periphery of Finland, providing jobs and facilitating media-oriented training for Sámi-language speakers (Pietikäinen 2008). In Scotland, the case of the BBC ALBA Gaelic-medium television channel shows that the use of multiple platforms (television, radio and internet) not only attracts a large viewership, but also creates media-related positions (Chalmers et al. 2013). Innovation, openness and commitment are the three key concepts for successful business models of minority language media. For example, in the Basque and Catalan language contexts, a ‘back to the roots’ philosophy of relations between media and the community has helped to raise the prestige of two private minority-language media companies, Euskarazko Komunikazio taldea S.A. in the Basque country and the Catalan-language news platform VilaWeb (Zabaleta et al. 2014). While print and broadcast media are one of the most important means for a minority group to represent themselves in their own words, to tell stories in their own way and to cover content of interest to the minority group (Matsaganis et al. 2011; Lilapati Devi 2016), new communication technologies offer opportunities to create online media products that serve younger generations, making language content accessible outside traditional domains such as the education system. The first era of minority-language media is described as a ‘gifting era’, in which media resources are gifted to the minority-­ language community by a central, national media authority. This is followed by a ‘service era’ in which the minority-language channel aims to offer a full-­ service model. The current era, a ‘performance era’, involves a blurring of boundaries between producers and consumers where individual speakers are encouraged to become agents and media producers (Pietikäinen and Kelly-­ Holmes 2011a). The potential of the performance era for motivating minority-­ language use, boosting the visibility of minority languages across large distances with very little effort or economic cost, and attracting advertising revenues (Moring 2013; Moriarty 2009), is still not fully exploited. However, several existing grass-roots level and NGO initiatives exist which attempt to


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take advantage of these features. For example, language workers and teachers in the extremely endangered indigenous Skolt Sámi language and Inari Sámi language (both of which have only a few hundred speakers) have used Facebook and text messaging as tools for creating a language learning and usage environment. Similarly, Finnish sign language users have exploited the multimodality provided by social media to promote and increase the use of this minority language. Minority-language media, like all media, are subject to market dynamics (see e.g. Golding and Murdock 1997). In addition, investing profitably in minority-language media is a challenge due to the small size of the markets involved. While the presence of minority languages in publicly funded television and radio stations is still often supported by national and policy instruments such as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (ECRML), the same does not apply to new, digital media, which may therefore be more subject to market forces.5 Despite these difficulties, media can give an immense boost to minority languages, with positive symbolic, practical and economic consequences.

Minority Languages at Work The media sector is a setting where top-down social, economic and language policy efforts can be particularly effective in regulating the market, creating job opportunities, normalising minority languages and stimulating their further use by business people (Moring 2013; Cunliffe et al. 2010). However, as Fishman (1997; see also Romaine 2007) points out, language policies in media and other sectors that are backed by the community through informal intergenerational transmission and other informal means of everyday life are likely to be more sustainable in supporting language maintenance and development. For this to happen, people need to see employment opportunities (and possibilities of increasing affluence and other real economic advantages) to being educated in and through that language (Ferguson 2006). Therefore, support for language policy will need to be gained by demonstrating economic advantages of learning the minority language. Hence a strong link between economic planning and language policy becomes paramount. If the lack of economic possibilities were the main reason why people shifted away from the language, then increasing economic possibilities has to be at the heart of the schemes to reverse this process. If language policies are not linked with other areas of social and economic policy, they will remain empty, symbolic gestures.6

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For example, introducing a minority language as a compulsory subject in education (as is the case with the Irish language in Ireland) creates employment opportunities for native speakers to teach their language. The Irish-­ language-­speaking Gaeltacht regions also offer Irish-language-learning holiday opportunities and summer camps for teenagers seeking to improve their skills in the language. This provides a valuable source of income to families in this region and contributes to keeping a vibrant community of first language speakers viable.7 In Finland’s Sámi domicile area, the indigenous people have the right, guaranteed by two language acts, to use their Sámi language when dealing with the authorities. Furthermore, in Sámiland, official announcements, proclamations, notices and signs must be written in the three Sámi languages spoken in the area and authorities are obliged to advance use of the Sámi ­languages in their activities. Municipal authorities must use indigenous languages alongside Finnish in records and other main documents. By law, authorities in the homeland must ensure that personnel in their offices have the necessary language skills to serve Sámi-speaking customers in their own language (see e.g. Joona 2010; Näkkäläjärvi 2008). These policy initiatives consequently increase the demand for linguistically trained and proficient staff, including translators and interpreters, in several sectors such as government and administration, community social and health services, media, local retail and enterprises, in the tourist branch and the publishing industry. Miguel Strubell (1999) has described this effect using the metaphor of a Catherine wheel firework. The model aims to demonstrate that by increasing—artificially to start with—the demand for and supply of speakers of the minority language, the demand and supply will increase further. This is the result of the creation of new opportunities to speak and use the language, which in turn generates the demand and the desire to learn, speak and use the language (see Darquennes 2007). Confirmation of the Catherine wheel effect can be found in studies that look at cases where language policy has increased the market value of and demand for education in minority languages. For instance, legal requirements for bilingualism in administration and government are a huge boost for the translation and interpreting business and vice versa: Raine (2011; see also Raine 2010) investigates how educational investment into translation programmes stimulated and opened new markets for the Tibetan language. Folaron (2015), like Raine (2011), finds that “[t]ranslation can give global visibility and voice to texts written in restricted, local contexts, and in so doing allows both knowledge to circulate and the values of diverse cultures to engage substantively with more hegemonic ones” (Folaron 2015: 15).


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Translation policies can also boost the development of language processing toolkits and other translation technologies (see also Sultanova 2016). Involving minority languages with new translation technologies and software localisation is both a stimulus for these industries as well as proof that minority languages are equipped to cover the complex and technological demands of modern life.8 Raising a language’s market value in these new translation domains in turn demands that the language be continuously developed in terms of its core vocabulary and adaptability to new contexts and usages, which again increases labour market opportunities for language professionals in the publication and development of grammar books, dictionaries and other teaching materials as well as literary books. In the creative arts and culture sectors too, employment opportunities are created through minority-language planning strategies. For instance, Chalmers and Danson (2009) explore the growing economic importance of Gaelic in the local labour market within the culture and arts sectors; likewise, Karjalainen (2015) examines how the Sámi languages are exploited as commodities with significant exchange value in an international indigenous peoples’ film festival and as a core resource in the event’s language practices. These examples show how informal activities that stimulate small languages and local customs can also generate material benefits. Similarly, as we shall see, minority languages have considerable potential as an authenticating device in the tourism sector.

Tourism, Authenticity and Minority Languages The current desire for ‘new’ and ‘unspoilt’ destinations in cultural tourism opens up new possibilities for minority-language communities, which are often located away from large metropolitan areas. In many instances, speakers of small languages generate both material and cultural capital by supplying tourists with an authentic product in an ever more homogenised market.9 These tourist destinations attract revenue through commerce and technology, both of which also create new markets for various language skills to communicate with visiting travellers (Heller 2003; Kelly-Holmes et al. 2011). Tourism has become a significant employer and often an integral part of economic strategies in rural areas that have suffered from a decline of traditional industries. Commercial activities range from supplying accommodation and catering to transport, handcrafted products, retail, public services, as well as language-related businesses such as language schools and translation services. Tourism is one terrain in which minority languages can play a key role in adding distinction to particular minority-community regions, prod-

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ucts and services in the globalised and competitive world of this industry. This relates to the potential of minority languages as a distinguishing product. Signposting, naming restaurants and shops, and branding local food and crafts using signs and symbols are all common in minority-language sites (Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes 2011b, 2013; Pietikäinen et  al. 2016; ­Kelly-­Holmes and Pietikäinen 2014; Coupland 2012). In addition, the use of minority languages on products that are offered for sale serves to make the tourist’s visit more memorable and distinctive. In addition, the use of minority languages in encounters with tourists and on display in the regional linguistic landscape help to give coherence to the visitor’s experience of being in a culturally different space (Pujolar 2006). Moriarty (2015), for instance, shows how signage in Gaelic on the Dingle Peninsula in western Ireland has the effect of enhancing the experience of the heritage culture as well as inviting tourists to take part in activities such as the production of local handcraft. This economic and symbolic exploitation of language as capital in tourism is indicative of a change in the language’s use value to exchange value (Moriarty 2015; see Heller et  al. 2014, for further examples of ways of constructing linguistic capital). Such activities help to sustain communities in generating income and jobs, and thereby play a role in retaining young minority-­language speakers (see Phillips 2000, for figures in the Welsh context). This economic dimension also helps to strengthen pride and interest in heritage and to promote wider use of the language. One challenge is that minority languages are often used tokenistically or symbolically in tourism, rather than functioning in an everyday way for the purposes of communication. Many tourism providers seem to opt for a strategy of balance, using just enough of the minority language to add distinction but not too much, which might alienate tourists (Pietikäinen and Kelly-­Holmes 2011b; Kelly-Holmes and Pietikäinen 2014; see also Moriarty (2015) for tokenistic use of Irish in tourist encounters). But such tokenistic usage provides no evidence for ‘real’ language usage.10 In fact, Kelly-Holmes (2014b) describes this type of minority-language use as “visual multilingualism”, where text is used primarily as a visual stimulus rather than for its referential or instrumental meaning. In Sámiland, too, tourism has been welcomed as an expanding source of income and as a force that creates new options for locals to remain in these geographically peripheral regions and make a living. But there have also been worries and critiques that tourism transforms indigenous Sámi traditions and resources into kitsch commodities that can be simply displayed, marketed and experienced without any meaningful connection to ‘real’ Sáminess. This feeling manifests itself in a spectrum of responses to the use of Sámi languages in


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the tourism context: some welcome it as a chance to increase awareness and appreciation of the indigenous language; others equate it with ‘selling out’ Sámi heritage (Pietikäinen 2013).11 These varying perceptions point to the conflict that can arise between group rights and the activities of individual ‘merchants’ and to the “tensions between indigenous and introduced productive systems and goods, between indigenous and introduced media of exchange” (Appadurai 1986: 39). Careful policy and institutional support is essential in the negotiation of conflicting interests between local identity needs and the growing projection of the global market. Ideally, this support should include measures ensuring that the profits from the use of local identity resources in commerce stay within, or flow in part back to, the community (Pujolar 2006).

Marketing, Branding and Minority Languages Endangered languages that have been sheltered from market forces and that often exist in parallel and sheltered markets can acquire a certain distinctiveness and exclusivity following a period of protection and revitalisation. There are many examples that show how marketing minoritised languages can create a strong association between the place and the products, especially in relation to food.12 Crucially, support from above needs to match grass-roots initiatives that take the consumer rather than the manufacturer as their starting point (see Cunliffe et al. 2010, on e-commerce and minority languages). In order to compete in the market and to reach young speakers and customers, small producers operating in peripheral sites not only need to target a niche market, but also to distinguish their product from mass-produced commodities on offer as well as other niche products. Research (Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes 2011b) shows that minority-language branding often achieves this anchoring and distinguishing work with some ease. Typically, these products display a word in the minority language as the brand name, with further information, for example, about ingredients or instructions, in the majority language. The distinguishing work in the minority language adds a premium to the product by anchoring it to a particular place and emphasising the quality of the ingredients. This is particularly successful where the relevant majority language is English. Because of the ubiquity of English in global markets (de Swaan 2001), use of a minority language has a highly effective authenticating effect that links the product with the culture of origin (see Ngwenya 2011; Conradie and van Niekerk 2015; Heller et al. 2017; Kelly-Holmes 2014b; Kelly-­Holmes and Atkinson 2007; Kelly-Holmes 2005). Moreover, advertising strategies

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using minority languages often have transcultural functions as they creatively and intelligibly interact with the majority culture by drawing on unique features and combining them with elements of the majority culture (Lysaght 2009). The changing conditions of markets have also altered the possibilities for minoritised languages. Previously, the business focus was more on the mass market and trying to design products and messages that would appeal to standardised and homogenised needs of consumers. This type of approach naturally favoured ‘big’ languages with large numbers of speakers. The way in which media markets were constituted also supported this type of mass communication targeting the mainstream consumer. Pre-online media were more expensive to produce, so in this context there was only limited space—or political will—to create messages or products targeted at consumers who spoke minority languages. However, the era of social media has opened up possibilities for niche marketing, and this in turn has ushered in means of individualised and personalised marketing. We can think of the mainstream market as an upturned bell jar, with the mass of consumers in the middle filling up the bell and two long tails at either side which make up the periphery of the market. Previously, these peripheral markets and consumers were not viewed as economically attractive enough to target. However, with changing technology and market configurations, it has become possible to service and target these niche options. Another part of this puzzle is the changing media market. Because the means of media production have moved away, to a certain extent, from large centres, it has also become possible and profitable to target this market at the periphery (Anderson 2008). New marketing paradigms and practices give a much bigger role to consumers, and this applies as well to language-rich and language-conscious products. Previously, consumers were seen as the recipients of one-way messages from marketers and as buyers of finished products which had already been infused with value. These products were simply exchanged for cash and passed on intact to the consumer. Today, by contrast, consumers are often invited to co-produce value for goods. This is an ongoing and potentially long-term process whereby consumers carry out some of their own identity work. Thus, their purchase of a jam with an Irish name involves a contribution of their own, as does the serving of their gift to friends or its presentation when visiting.13 This activity involves not just cultural work, but commentary and reflection, whereby minority languages are exploited with commercial applications (Pietikäinen et al. 2016; Kelly-Holmes 2010). For example, T-shirts, previously marketed more as generic products for the mass consumer, are now located in the centre of the upturned bell jar mentioned


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above, in terms of the message conveyed. In the mainstream market, any language or image on a T-shirt would have been designed to be generic enough to appeal to the greatest number of consumers. Now, however, customers in the long tail of the wider market are prepared not only to pay for customised T-shirts in a particular language and culture. They are also prepared to do the identity work necessary to co-create the value for the product, for example, by explaining to others what the language and image mean. Doing this and wearing a T-shirt displaying an ‘exotic’ or lesser-known language creates value for the individual consumer, too, in terms of distinguishing them from this mass market (Pietikäinen et al. 2016). Such knowledge about goods and the ability or willingness to explain what these words mean are also seen as being at a premium in today’s market and even as having exchange value themselves. This is particularly the case since with outsourcing there is now a longer distance between production and consumption than in previous eras. Thus, knowledge about a minority language can be valuable for one’s own and others’ identity work. As Heller (2008) points out, “quasi-national groups find new ways of constituting themselves as regional markets of producers and consumers. In this process, they are turned into clients rather than citizens” (see also Pujolar 2007), meaning that their purchasing power as consumers is more important than their rights as citizens. In addition to the marketing of local products, minority and vernacular languages are now extensively introduced as tools for segmenting certain minority markets. In some contexts, multinational companies adapt the language in commercial advertisements using the minority language for goods such as food, drink, home cleaning products, cosmetics and cars in an attempt to increase consumption by identifying a product with a particular community (Redondo-Bellon 1999; Kelly-Holmes 2005; Pietikäinen and Kelly-­ Holmes 2013; Pietikäinen et  al. 2016). Heller et  al. (2017) show how performative and embodied use of minority languages in Sámi and francophone crafts and souvenir markets authenticates the products and exchanges not only in terms of the value of the product but also by turning the moment of purchase into an experience. Urciuoli (2016) argues that the use of minority languages in marketing disconnects these ‘marked’ languages from actual lived experiences of (in many cases) inequality and reframes them as potential added value for companies.14

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F uture Trends: Minority Languages in Expanding Markets Under the currently changing political, economic and cultural conditions around the world, minority languages are subject to multiple, overlapping and even contradictory discourses and practices of revaluation. Economic development can both introduce and expand existing use of minority language resources and frequently shifts the focus from questions of identity and politics to issues of products and profits (see Heller 2003, 2011; Kelly-Holmes and Pietikäinen 2014; Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes 2011b). In this process, new meanings, markets and usages for minority languages are opened up, while persistent and debated questions of legitimate access, fair distribution of profits and appropriate use of resources remain. In spite of various controversies, it seems that in many cases the usage of minority languages, even if tokenistic in prestigious domains such as commerce and media, contributes to processes of revaluation. The logic here is that the linguistic capital of the language increases, in the eyes of speakers and non-speakers alike, on the linguistic market when the language is associated with economic activities and domains which are normally reserved for the dominant or larger language. Pujolar (2013) also shows how, in relation to Wales, Catalonia and French-­ speaking Canada, the usage of the relevant minority language can be challenging and innovative, rather than simply commodifying heritage associations. Of course, not all minority-language situations are the same. For example, in the context of Wales, where roughly 20% of the population speak and understand Welsh, there are real possibilities for communicative interaction in market situations, as Cunliffe et al.’s (2010) research has shown. Likewise, in Ireland, where Gaelic is a core part of the curriculum during the compulsory years of schooling, the pool of potential producers and consumers of the education product is, naturally, considerable. Thus, where languages have been the object of medium- to long-term sustained language policy and planning initiatives that are ideally linked to economic development (for example, Basque and Catalan), we can begin to see a Catherine wheel effect taking place. These contexts are, however, in stark contrast to severely endangered or unrecognised minority languages, in which the primary struggle focuses on legal recognition and language-policy support and development. One distinguishing characteristic that minority languages seem to have which can be converted into economic capital is value of exclusivity and authenticity. McLaughlin (2013), with reference to French-speaking Canada, proposes that “peripheral coolness” obtains positive associations and distin-


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guishing functions in a homogenised world. This sentiment may be felt more where minority languages are located in majority-language contexts which involve major world languages (for example, the Celtic languages in the UK and Ireland; Breton in France; Basque, Catalan and Galician in Spain). Changing technological and market configurations which favour niche marketing, and individualised rather than mass marketing, also present new and diverse opportunities for minority languages now and in the future.

Notes 1. For a discussion of approaches to market theory, see Diaz Ruiz (2012). 2. See, for example, Wright (2000, 2003), Mac Giolla Chríost (2004), Gal (1989, 1993) in relation to the political economy of language. 3. See Moriarty (2009) in relation to Irish-language television station TG4. 4. See Amezaga and Arana (2012), Matsaganis et  al. (2011); see also Moring (2013) for a discussion of Grin et al.’s (2003) COD (Capacity, Opportunity, Desire) model for measuring the media effect on language. 5. See Moring (2013) and Matsaganis et al. (2011) for discussions of opportunities and challenges for ethnic media organisations as a result of digitalisation and globalisation. 6. See Kamwangamalu’s (2010) review of successful as well as unsuccessful, due to public resistance, cases of language-policy implementation. 7. See, for example, Briassoulis and van der Straaten (2013) and Ó Cinnéide and Keane (1988) on Irish-­language colleges’ contribution to local income generation and multiplication. 8. See Cronin (2003); for further studies of policy influence on various business sectors, see Edwards (2004) on Welsh and Maori and their role in media, education and government, and Walsh (2010) on the potential impact of new policy aims of the Údarás na Gaeltachta in Ireland. 9. See Heller et al. (2014) for a historical perspective on peripheral languages being turned into commodities; Pietikäinen and Kelly-Holmes (2013) for different case studies on minority languages and tourism. 10. See Coupland (2012) for a critical review of language use as a tourist trope in the Welsh context. 11. See Heller et al. (2014) and Heller and Pujolar (2009) for further examples of ideological disruptions and tensions in similar contexts. 12. See Brennan and Wilson (2016) for a study of how place branding is exploited by minority-language speakers to overcome crises such as depopulation and recession by businesses in Ireland and Shetland.

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13. See also Ngwenya (2011) and Conradie and van Niekerk’s (2015) analysis of audience involvement and identity performance in English–Afrikaans advertisements. 14. See also Duchêne (2011) on entrepreneurial exploitation of multilingualism for commercial benefits; further, see Puzey et al. (2013) on bilingual corporate identity, Cunliffe et  al. (2010) on bilingual e-­commerce in relation to minority languages; and see Garai-Artetxe and Nerekan-Umaran (2013) on bilingual advertising agencies in the Basque country.

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12 Language Economics and Issues of Planning for Minority Languages in Africa Nkonko M. Kamwangamalu

Introduction Nearly 200 years ago, 7 European countries (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) held a conference in Berlin, Germany, with only one item on the agenda: the geopolitical partition of Africa. The partition, which came to be known as the scramble for Africa, set in motion the issue that postcolonial generations of African policymakers and linguists have addressed over the years (and which is the focus of this chapter) namely, how to promote minoritized languages (in this case Africa’s indigenous languages) alongside majoritized languages, understood to be inherited colonial languages (such as English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese) as the media of instruction in schools in postcolonial Africa. Following Skutnabb-Kangas (1994), minoritized languages are languages that, though demographically majority languages, are perceived as minority languages due to their comparatively lower economic status vis-à-vis other languages in a polity. Africa’s policymakers have addressed the issue under consideration by concentrating on what Haarmann (1990) in his framework of prestige planning describes as the production of language planning, but they have hardly paid any attention to the reception of language planning. The former refers to legislation or official policy declaration about the status of languages in a polity, while the latter has to do

N. M. Kamwangamalu (*) Department of English, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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with the population’s attitude toward the policy, that is, whether they accept the policy or reject it. Traditionally, in Africa, the production of language planning has consisted mainly in giving official status to selected indigenous languages to bring them, theoretically, to equality with inherited colonial languages. There is evidence, however, that the traditional approach to prestige planning for indigenous languages has not necessarily equalized opportunities for these languages and their speakers (Bamgbose 2000; Koffi 2012). On the contrary, this approach has provided a cover for what Pennycook (1994) called the planned reproduction of socio-economic inequality. Drawing on recent studies (Kamwangamalu 2013a, 2016), along with Haarmann (1990), the chapter proposes prestige planning based on the reception of language planning as the way forward to promoting use of Africa’s indigenous languages in the continent’s educational systems. The central argument of the proposed framework of receiver-based prestige planning is that any legislation aimed at promoting African languages as the medium of instruction in the educational system must simultaneously create a demand for those languages in the formal labor market if the intent is to succeed. I explore how the demand for indigenous languages can be created in the light of Bourdieu’s notions of capital, fields, and markets, and of theoretical developments in language economics—a field of study whose focus is on the theoretical and empirical analyses of the ways in which linguistic and economic variables influence one another (Grin 2006; Grin et al. 2010). But first, I provide a historical background to the issue under consideration. Next, I explain how the issue has been addressed in postcolonial Africa and why inherited colonial languages continue to inform language policy decision-­ making in the continent. In conclusion, I offer a survey of successful case studies of prestige planning in communities around the world in support of the proposal being made in this study for African languages.

 olonial and Postcolonial Language Policies: C A Historical Background Soon after European powers partitioned Africa, they confronted the question of what to do with the languages spoken by the people they conquered (Bamgbose 2000). In response, European powers all invariably used the ideology of the nation-state to impose their languages in the conquered territories. Edwards (2004: 4–5) traces the rise of the nation-state ideology to nineteenth-­ century Europe, when one dominant group at the core achieved political and

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economic control of the periphery. By definition, the ideology of the nation-­ state requires unitary symbols, among them one nation, one language, one culture, one belief system, one religion, and so on. Following this monolingual mindset at the core of the nation-state ideology, colonial authorities transported European views on language to the colonies, helping to perpetuate the monolingual myth (Edwards 2004: 5). Accordingly, although in Europe itself linguistic diversity lay just beneath the veneer of homogeneity, in their respective colonies, colonial authorities designed language policies that embraced monolingualism in a European language as the norm; treated the diversity of African languages as a problem and a threat to social order; and considered African languages themselves as primitive and inadequate for advanced learning and socioeconomic development (see, e.g., Fardon and Furniss 1994). Thus, English became the sole official language of the state in British colonies; French played a similar role in French colonies; and so did Spanish and Portuguese in Spanish and Portuguese colonies, respectively. If for the colonial authorities the question was what to do with the languages of the conquered people, for the elites who took power when colonialism ended, the question was what to do with the languages that the colonial authorities left behind. Inspired by the ideology of the nation-state, postcolonial African elites adopted continued use of former colonial languages as the sole official languages of their respective independent nations. It seems that depending on colonial ideals of language and development, without reference to the post-independence euphoria to promote the use of indigenous languages in the education system, African policymakers have found it difficult to become independent of inherited colonial language policies. The literature explains that policymakers retained inherited colonial language policies for various reasons, including the following: (i) to avoid ethno-linguistic conflicts in Africa’s multilingual polities, since choosing one African language as the medium of instruction would anger those whose languages were not selected (Newton 1972); (ii) to promote national unity because a former colonial language is ethnically neutral in the sense that it does not belong to nor privilege any specific indigenous ethnic group and, therefore, it assumingly (dis) advantages everyone equally, both socio-economically and politically (Weinstein 1990); and (iii) to use the language of wider communication, for instance English, for national socio-economic development because African languages apparently lack higher literacy forms and linguistic complexity that European languages have (Revel 1988; Spencer 1985).


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Africa’s policymakers not only have retained inherited colonial language policies but have also shown contempt for indigenous languages. Some African countries, for example, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, have adopted overt language policies constitutionally banning the use of indigenous languages in public domains. In these countries, proficiency in English (i.e., the ability to speak and write fluently in the language) is a requisite for election to public office. In the case of Uganda, for example, it is reported that children must be competent in English to qualify for admission into nursery schools. In this regard, Kwesiga (1994: 58) remarks sarcastically that “African mothers who have knowledge of English start teaching their children that language before they are born.” In other African countries, policymakers have demonstrated a negative attitude toward the use of indigenous languages in the higher domains, such as education, the government and administration, and so on. For instance, Bamgbose (2001) reports that legislators in Nigeria rejected the proposal that Yoruba, one of Nigeria’s national languages and mother tongue to about 90% of legislators, be used as the language of debate in the House of Assembly (Bamgbose 2001). The legislators themselves explain that they rejected Yoruba because “[the use of Yoruba in the House of Assembly] is capable of demeaning and reducing the intellectual capacity of legislators” (Bamgbose 2001: 190, my emphasis). The legislators’ contempt for Yoruba and the indigenous languages in general betrays their assigning official roles to those languages—a procedure intended to suggest an equal status with former colonial languages, while simultaneously not allowing the languages to be used, and the majority of their speakers to participate, in the conduct of the business of the state. Heine (1990: 176) remarks that in retaining former colonial languages as the medium of instruction in schools, policymakers expected that (a) the adopted European language would develop into a viable medium of national communication; (b) it would be adopted by the African populations; (c) it would spread as a lingua franca and perhaps eventually also as a first language by replacing the local languages, as was the case for Portuguese and Spanish in large parts of Latin America. Along these lines, Mfum-Mensah (2005) observes that policymakers viewed at independence, as they do at present, instruction in the language of the former colonial power as an approach that would lead to greater proficiency in that language, opening a further step toward economic development and participation in the international global economy. Contrary to the earlier and

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related expectations, and despite the fact that European languages have been used in African education for nearly 200 years, Mchombo (2014: 32) notes that use of these languages as the sole medium of instruction has not necessarily translated into massive academic success for the students. On the contrary, “it seems to have exacerbated the failure rate in schools, thereby undermining the development of the nation-states and seriously reducing the continent’s competitive edge” (Mchombo 2014: 32). Like Mchombo, Alexander (1997: 88) remarks that the social distribution of European languages in Africa remains very limited and is largely restricted to a minority elite group; economic development has not reached the majority of the continent’s population; and language-based division has increased. Also, there is a continuing increase in school dropouts (due to, among other things, the language barrier, i.e., learners find it difficult to study through the medium of a foreign language), and the illiteracy rates among the populace remain high. According to UNESCO (2003), in 1990, there were 138 million illiterate persons in sub-Saharan Africa. In a more recent report, UNESCO (2014) says that Africa has the highest illiteracy rates in the world, estimated in 2011 to be 41% and 30% for adults and the youth. Also, UNESCO (2013) reports that “of the 11 countries with the lowest recorded adult literacy rates in the world, ten are in Africa.” Further, the organization notes that, in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 1 in 3 adults cannot read, 182 million adults are unable to read and write, and 48 million youths (ages 15–24) are illiterate. Commenting on literacy in Africa, Djité (2008: 66) remarks that after 50 years of experimenting with European languages as the main and, in most cases, sole media of instruction in African schools, 80–90% of the population in most African countries have yet to learn how to speak the (official) languages of their former colonial masters. In agreement with Djité, Tollefson (1991, 2013) observes that though vast resources are directed toward language teaching and bilingualism involving European languages and indigenous languages, more people than ever are unable to acquire the language skills they need in order to enter and succeed in school, obtain satisfactory employment, and participate politically and socially in the life of their communities. What is at issue, as Bruthiaux (2000: 287) notes, is whether it can be deemed appropriate and economically justifiable to devote so many resources to education through the medium of a foreign language, such as English or French, especially since centuries of experimentation with Western education have not resulted in mass literacy development in the African continent. Against this background, Djité (2008) asks, “What price are we prepared to put on the good education of the African people?” (2008: 67) and “How many more centuries can Africans afford to


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wait” (2008: 180) to become literate in the languages of their former colonial masters? Any study interested in addressing these and related questions must explain why inherited colonial language-in-education policies persist in Africa’s educational systems, despite the fact that they have failed to deliver the expected literacy outcomes, as highlighted earlier. I contend that language economics, a field of study whose focus is on investigating the interplay between linguistic and economic variables, and critical theory, especially Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of capital, market, habitus, and social fields, offer the needed insights into why Africa’s policymakers have retained inherited colonial language policies.

 ersistence of Colonial Language Policies: Insights P from Critical Theory and Language Economics Tollefson (2006) describes critical language policy as an approach to language planning that investigates the processes by which systems of inequality are created and sustained through language. This approach highlights the concept of power in the reproduction of socioeconomic and political inequality. In critical language policy, power refers to the ability to control language for personal interest (Bourdieu 1991; Fairclough 1989, 1992; Foucault 1979; Gramsci 1988; Tollefson 2006). A critical theory approach to language planning acknowledges that although language planning is about choice, individuals do not actually have freedom of language choice, be it in education or in social life (Paulston 2003: 476). Accordingly, critical language policy researchers assume an adversarial model for social change, in which struggle is a prerequisite for social justice (Tollefson 2006). Their goal is to describe and explain hegemonic practices, which Gramsci (1988) defines as institutional practices that ensure that power remains in the hands of the few; to understand how dominant social groups use language for establishing and maintaining social hierarchies; and to investigate ways to alter those hierarchies (Tollefson 2002a). Along these lines, Bourdieu says that all human actions take place within social fields, that is, areas of struggle for institutional resources and forms of privilege and power. He notes that the individuals who participate in this struggle, Bourdieu calls them “agents,” have a set of dispositions or habitus, which incline them to act and react in certain ways. In other words, the dispositions give the agents “a feel for the game,” a sense of what is appropriate in certain circumstances and what is not (Bourdieu 1991: 13). Bourdieu notes

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further that not only do the agents have habitus but they also have different aims in their struggle for resources: some (e.g., the elites/policymakers) seek to preserve the status quo by legitimatizing some linguistic capital—in this case, former colonial languages, as has been the case since colonialism ended in Africa—and others (e.g., language activists and language professionals) seek to change the environment, each choosing differing chances of winning or losing, depending upon where they are located in the structured space of their respective positions in society (Bourdieu 1991: 14). Accordingly, individuals make choices about which languages to use in particular kinds of markets, which Bourdieu defines as places where different kinds of resources or capital are distributed. Bourdieu uses economic concepts such as market metaphorically to refer to the social context in which language is used. It seems that in postcolonial Africa (Kimizi 2009), as in postcolonial settings elsewhere (Hamid and Jahan 2015), the debate around the medium of instruction in schools is about inclusion and exclusion and related privilege and denial. In this debate, such former colonial languages as English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, for example, are what Bourdieu (1991) calls symbolic capital. The languages are symbolic in two ways: (a) they can be exchanged for material prosperity and mobility; and (b) they are an embodiment of material resources and social privileges that need to be invested to master those languages but are inequitably distributed in society (Hamid and Jahan 2015). In Bourdieu’s work, the concept of linguistic market refers to the fact that language use indexes [of ] social, political, and economic inequality and that different variants of a language (or, by extension, of languages seen as different) do not enjoy the same degree of prestige in a given place at a given time (Grin et al. 2010: 32). The choices that individuals make about which language to use in a given market, in the present case Africa’s educational s­ ystems, are informed by the economic value with which a language is associated. This is because, Bourdieu says, in any given linguistic market, some products are valued more highly than others. Bourdieu’s approach to language practices is in agreement with developments in language economics, a field of study that, as noted earlier, is concerned with the interplay between linguistic and economic variables. More specifically, language economics is concerned with the relevance of language as a commodity, in the acquisition of which individual actors may have good reason to invest; it considers language learning as a social investment that yields benefits for the investors and deals with the economic implications (costs and benefits) of language policies, whether these costs and benefits are market-related or not (Grin 2001: 66). Within language economics, linguistic products such as language, language varieties, utterances, and accents are seen


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not only as goods or commodities to which the market assigns a value but as signs of wealth or capital, which receive their value only in relation to a market, characterized by what Bourdieu calls a particular law of price formation (Bourdieu 1991: 66–7). Edwards (2004: 149) notes that “although language is part of our cultural capital, its market value is variable.” The market value of a linguistic capital such as language or language variety, says Coulmas (1992), is determined by a number of factors, all of which contribute to make language not only a medium but also an element of economic success (Coulmas 1992: 77–89). It is, as Strauss (1996: 9) notes, an index of the functional appreciation of the language by the relevant community. It follows that it is extremely important to understand the interplay between linguistic and economic variables, especially in the African context, for this understanding sheds light on why there is so much demand for foreign language skills in Africa’s formal labor market but virtually no comparable demand for African languages (Grin et al. 2010: 140). Both language economics and critical theory, especially Bourdieu’s work, allow scholars to understand why African parents, for instance, value and prefer such ex-colonial languages as English, French, and Portuguese over their own indigenous languages as the medium of instruction in the educational system. Parents evaluate ex-colonial languages as commodities that command an exchange value; they perceive them as more advantageous than African languages in the benefits that they can bring to the user or, in Bourdieu’s terms, they see linguistic capital inherent in those (ex-colonial) languages (Tan and Rubdy 2008). As I have observed elsewhere (Kamwangamalu 2013b), it seems that parents prefer an education through the medium of former colonial languages because it enhances individuals’ socio-economic status and prestige (Giri 2010) while education through the medium of an indigenous language does not. Thus, the dominance of ex-­ colonial languages in education and other higher domains has a significant impact on the distribution of linguistic resources, which, as Martin-Jones (2007: 174–5) aptly remarks, “are embedded in the economic, political, and social interests of groups and … have consequences for the life chances of individuals as well as for the construction of social categories and relations of power.” Against the background of language economics and critical theory, I argue that for African parents to accept an education through the medium of indigenous African languages for their children, that education must, like an education through the medium of former colonial languages, be associated with economic outcomes. In other words, parents might embrace their own indigenous languages as the media of instruction in schools if that education were

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as profitable as an education through the medium of a former colonial language such as English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish. On this view, Canagarajah and Ashraf (2013: 268) note pointedly that when local languages don’t have importance for tertiary education or, it must be said, for education in general, “this reduces the motivation among students and families to learn languages other than English,” or, I must add, any former colonial language. The authors comment further that “if parents and students see little or no functionality for less privileged languages, they will gradually veer toward the languages with more capital” (Canagarajah and Ashraf 2013: 269). In agreement with the above authors, Coupland (2013) argues, and rightly so, that the decisions that people make to invest in certain languages or leave them behind are functions of the utility with which the languages are associated. Likewise, Vaillancourt (1996: 81) remarks that “individuals invest in language skills for their children or themselves according to the benefits and costs associated with these investments.” The ideas summarized in this paragraph are useful in two significant ways. One, they offer the lens through which we can understand why African parents favor former colonial languages over African languages as the medium of instruction in the educational systems. Two, with this understanding, we can explore ways in which ex-colonial languages and African languages can coexist productively in education for the benefit of all rather than of select few, a minority of the elite class. This study proposes prestige planning for African languages as the way forward to making these languages economically viable media of instruction in the continent’s educational systems.

 restige Planning for Africa’s Indigenous P Languages Essentially, prestige planning is concerned with raising the prestige of any given language, in the present case African languages, so that members of the targeted speech community develop a positive attitude toward it (Haarmann 1990). But as noted earlier, prestige planning for Africa’s indigenous languages has, in general, consisted of only in elevating the status of selected indigenous languages by recognizing them as official languages of the state, but not allowing them to be used in the higher domains such as education, which remain the exclusive preserve for former colonial languages. South Africa, for instance, has given official recognition to 11 languages, including English and Afrikaans and 9 African languages (Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Tswana,


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Venda, and Tsonga), while other African countries, among them Malawi, Senegal, and Tanzania, have given recognition to one language only, usually a former colonial language. However, no scholar disputes the fact that giving official status to nine indigenous languages in South Africa, for instance, to bring them to equality with English and Afrikaans has not necessarily resulted or has ever resulted in prestige status for those languages. Success in language planning, says Ager (2005: 1039), is about “succeeding in influencing language behavior, whether this is behavior in using language, identified in the phrase language-as-instrument, or behavior toward language, often described as language-as-object.” Ager (2005: 1037) goes on to note, pointedly, that “planning that does not influence behavior, that does not convince hearts and minds of the target of planning, is pointless, no matter how well-researched.” He links prestige planning with image planning, arguing that the prestige allocated by a community to a language constitutes part of the image the community has of itself—part of its attitudinal structure. Since both prestige and image are psychological attitudes, Ager says that attitudes need to be changed if planning is to be successful. He does not, however, explain how attitudes can be changed for planning to succeed. To resolve the tension between language-in-education policies and practices, Dominguez (1998) suggests that language policymakers must communicate the benefits that an education through the medium of indigenous languages carries and persuade the speakers of these languages to accept it. Other scholars suggest that language planners should adopt a plurilingual model indigenous to the region concerned (Canagarajah and Ashraf 2013: 258). More specifically, it is argued that rather than compartmentalizing languages and demanding equal competencies in each of them, such a model would allow for functional competencies in complementary languages for ­different purposes and social domains, without neglecting indigenous language maintenance. The issue, as I see it, is not so much whether languages should be compartmentalized but rather what outcomes would result from the proposed compartmentalization. In this chapter, I argue that negative attitudes toward African languages as media of instruction in schools might change if an education through the medium of these languages were associated with economic outcomes, such as access to employment. I propose prestige planning undergirded by language economics and critical theory, as already described, as the way forward to promoting use of Africa’s indigenous languages as the media of instruction in the educational systems. The central assumption of this proposal is concerned with promoting African languages in the education system as first and foremost an economic or marketing problem in the sense that,

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unlike former colonial languages, knowledge of African languages does not provide adequate compensation in the formal labor market. Viewing prestige planning for indigenous languages as a linguistic marketing problem entails developing, promoting, and associating these languages with an economic value to make them a commodity in the acquisition of which individuals may have good reason to invest. For a legislation designed to elevate the status of indigenous languages in the educational system to succeed, it must meet at least two intertwined conditions. First, the legislation must simultaneously create a market or demand for these languages to raise awareness of their value in the formal labor market. In other words, there is the need to vest the selected indigenous languages with some of the privileges, advantages, prestige, power, and material gains that have been for so long associated only with former colonial languages. Individuals who are interested in learning or being schooled through the medium of an African language must know what that education will do for them in terms of upward social mobility. Would it, for instance, be as rewarding as an education through the medium of an ex-colonial language such as English? Would it give the language consumer a competitive edge in the employment market? Or, as Grin (1995: 227–231) asks, what benefits would individuals actually reap, particularly in the labor market, because of their academic skills in an indigenous language? And how would these benefits compare to the benefits derived from the skills in a foreign language (such as English, French, or Portuguese)? I argue that the response to these questions lies in the relationship between language and economic returns. This explains, as Grin (1999: 16) observes, “why people learn certain languages and why, if they have the choice of using more than one, they prefer to use one or the other.” As economists would say, individuals respond to incentives and seek to acquire those language skills whose expected financial benefits exceed their expected costs (Bloom and Grenier 1996: 46–7). Associating an education through the media of indigenous languages with economic advantages and prestige might constitute an incentive for the speakers and potential users of these languages to study and be schooled through them in the educational system. Second, certified skills or knowledge, that is, school-acquired knowledge of African languages, must become one of the criteria for access to employment in the public and private sector, much as is the case for skills in ex-colonial languages. Thus, the value of ex-colonial languages such as English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish or of any language for that matter depends mostly not so much on “who is using it and in what context” (Ricento 2013: 134) but rather on the purpose or ends for which it is used. It follows that because


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of the ends for which they are used, ex-colonial languages have a higher market value and privileged status than local languages in the national curricula (Kamwangamalu 2000: 59), and proficiency in them serves as a marker of socioeconomic class (Ricento 2013). In an earlier study (Kamwangamalu 2004), I have argued that meeting the stipulated conditions does not mean removing former colonial languages from or diminishing their status in the educational system or in other higher domains. Rather, it simply means creating conditions under which the selected indigenous languages can compete with former colonial languages, at least in the local linguistic marketplace. After all, for the language consumer—the term refers to the receiver of language planning, that is, an individual whose language or speech community is the target of planning—the most central question is not so much whether or not the selected indigenous language should be used as a medium of learning. Rather, the consumer is interested in the outcome of an education through the medium of an indigenous language and how this would compare materially with the outcome of an education through the medium of a former colonial language (Kamwangamalu 2013c). In the proposed prestige planning framework, indigenous languages are seen as potential cash cows and as a commodity to which the market assigns a value. To view language as a commodity is, as Pennycook (2008: xii) notes, “to view language in instrumental, pragmatic and commercial terms, which is precisely the dominant discourse on language in many contemporary contexts.” Thus, at the core of the proposed prestige planning framework is “linguistic instrumentalism,” which Wee (2003: 211) describes as “a view of language that justifies its existence in a community in terms of its usefulness in achieving specific utilitarian goals, such as access to economic development or social mobility.” In this vein, I reiterate that for the African masses to embrace their own languages as the medium of instruction in the schools, they would want to know whether that education would accrue the benefits (access to resources and employment opportunities) that are currently associated only with an education through the medium of former colonial languages. As we see in the next and last section, the literature offers several case studies of prestige planning for minority languages around the world. I argue that with the political will to change the status quo, I see no reason why the proposed prestige planning framework would not succeed for minoritized majority languages in the African continent.

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 ase Studies of Successful Prestige Planning C for Minority Languages It seems that Africa does not have a history of successful prestige planning for indigenous languages, particularly not one that associates use of these languages in education with economic returns (Bamgbose 2000; Djité 2008; Kamwangamalu 2013a; Koffi 2012). As a matter of fact, in Africa, language planners have hardly taken economic considerations into account, especially as they relate to educational use of the indigenous languages (Heugh 2002; Wright 2002). There are, however, the cases of Somali in Somalia, Amharic in Ethiopia, Kiswahili in Tanzania, Ile Ife in Nigeria, and Afrikaans in South Africa that African scholars often reference as success stories in prestige planning (Alexander 1997; Bamgbose 2007; Batibo 2001). These cases are successful insofar as they demonstrate that children learn better when they are taught through the medium of a familiar language, which may or may not necessarily be their mother tongue/primary language, rather than through the medium of a foreign language. From the perspective of the prestige planning framework I am proposing, the success of these case studies, except of Afrikaans in South Africa, is a limited one, for the economic returns deriving from an education through the medium of either of the languages (Amharic, Kiswahili, Somali) are comparatively lower than those deriving from an education through the medium of a former colonial language, be it English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish. The literature has increasingly recognized the importance of the linkage between language and the economy in determining the success or failure of any given language planning and policy (Paulston 1988; Walsh 2006; Gopinath 2008). In particular, there is sufficient evidence that language planning and policy activities succeed if they lead to desirable economic outcomes. In recent publications (Kamwangamalu 2010, 2016), I have reported on several case studies of indigenous language promotion in education, showing that parents in particular support education in indigenous languages if it is associated with economic returns. In particular, I have pointed out that when a language becomes associated with an instrumental value, the population will strive to acquire or be schooled through that language without reference to whether it is an indigenous vernacular or a foreign language (Fishman 2006). Consider, for example, the case of the Macedonian language as reported in Tollefson (2002b). Tollefson notes that when the Republic of Macedonia was created within Yugoslavia, the Macedonian language served as the medium of government operations and education. The use of Macedonian in these


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higher domains guaranteed access to jobs in the administration and schools, and the communication industries enjoyed more clients for their books, newspapers, and music. Fishman (2006) makes a similar comment regarding prestige planning for the Basque language in Spain, pointing to the success of what he calls Basquecization activities, that is, activities intended to promote the Basque language in that country. He explains that Basquecization activities were successful because participation in these activities yielded certification at various levels of competence, entitling their bearers to qualify for promotions, higher wages, job tenure, and other perquisites of success in the workplace (e.g., Fishman 2006). In a related comment on the success of Spanish Basque, Le Page (1997: 16) drew attention to the considerable political will exerted to ensure the success of policies favoring use of the Basque language alongside Spanish not only in education but also in every domain as well as to the availability of financial resources to implement those policies. Additionally, Giri (2010) explains why speakers of Sino-Tibetan languages in Nepal are attracted to Nepali as the medium of instruction rather than to their own indigenous languages. She remarks that, in Nepal, Nepali and English are status symbols and, increasingly, serve as tools in the hands of the ruling elites who use those languages to create linguistic hegemony within the polity. As a result, speakers of Sino-Tibetan languages choose Nepali as their second language because their own indigenous languages do not have the same value as Nepali in the linguistic marketplace. Last but not least arguably, one of the most telling case studies of successful prestige planning for an indigenous language is the Malay language in Malaysia, a multilingual and multiethnic nation that obtained political independence from Britain in 1957. Soon after independence, Malaysia adopted a language policy replacing English with Bahasa Malaysia as the sole official and national language (Gill 2006). The policy has had its ups and downs: • English was replaced by Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of the state (1957–2002); • English was allowed restricted status as the medium of instruction for science and mathematics (2003–2009); • Bahasa Malaysia was reinforced as a tool for unity (from mid-2009); and, • Bahasa Malaysia replaced English as the medium of instruction for science and mathematics from 2012 onward (Ali et  al. 2011; Ting 2010: 399, 402).

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Despite these hurdles, which are, after all, part and parcel of a language planning exercise, prestige planning for Bahasa Malaysia has been successful. Malaysia has succeeded in promoting the status of an indigenous language, Bahasa Malaysia, while not denying the value of the former colonial language, English. Additional case studies of successful prestige planning for economically driven minority languages can be found in Kamwangamalu (2016) and include French in Canada (Vaillancourt 1996), Welsh in Wales (Edwards 2004; Ferguson 2006), Chinese Mandarin in Singapore (Gopinath 2008), and Gaelic in Scotland (Grin 1996).

Concluding Remarks In Africa, all past prestige planning activities, except prestige planning for inherited colonial languages, have concentrated only on the production of language planning, as defined earlier. The prestige planning framework being proposed in this chapter, however, requires legislation that not only gives official status to selected indigenous languages, hence the production of language planning, but also and most importantly changes hearts and behaviors of the target language community, hence receiver-based prestige planning. The legislation can achieve this double goal by associating an education through the medium of indigenous languages with economic returns and advantages. But, as Bourdieu (1991) reminds us, participants in language planning activities have different goals; some, including language professionals, seek to change the status quo, as argued in this study, while others, among them policymakers in particular, seek to preserve it by legitimatizing some linguistic capital—in this case, former colonial languages. In this regard, consider the experience I had some years ago at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, where I delivered a paper proposing prestige planning for the local indigenous lingua franca, Kiswahili. One member of the audience reacted to the proposal as follows: Professor, what you are proposing will not work. Let us move on. English has brought us development; it has brought us jobs; it has brought us education; it has brought us literacy; but what have African languages done for us? Nothing! Let us just move on! (Kamwangamalu 2013b)

This reaction sums up the elite’s attitude toward African languages as compared with former colonial languages, in the present case, English. Moving on simply means using English as the sole medium of instruction in schools. And yet, despite the early introduction of English into the education system and


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the resources invested in its promotion, there have been numerous claims of “falling standards” of English in educational institutions in English-speaking African countries, including Kenya (Mazrui 1997). Regarding Kenya, Mazrui (2013) quotes the vice-chancellor of a local university as saying that “many undergraduate students in that country’s [Kenya’s] public universities are functionally illiterate in English and could not even write a simple application for a job in the language” (Mazrui 2013: 149). It is telling that although Western education has not succeeded in spreading literacy in Africa, language-in-education practices in the continent as a whole continue to be informed by inherited colonial language policies. One must ask whether it is pedagogically justified to continue investing only in Western education, or what Coulmas (1992: 149) rightly describes as a “monolingual, elitist system,” even if that education, practiced for nearly 200 years, has failed to spread literacy among the populations in the continent. To change this state of affairs, and drawing on critical theory and language economics, I have proposed prestige planning for African languages if these languages are to become, like former colonial languages, instruments for upward social mobility. For prestige planning to succeed in Africa, the selected African languages must bear economic returns for their users, for the attribution of real value has been the key ingredient for the success of prestige planning elsewhere (Fishman 2006; Grin 2006; Coulmas 1992; Tollefson 2013; Walsh 2006). Only the linkage between African languages and the economy, a link that is frequently overlooked in the debate over the medium of instruction in African schools, would allow future generations of policymakers to break away from existing language policies, which have mainly, for far too long, benefited African elites at the expense of the masses. Prestige planning for African languages is in line not only with developments in language economics but also with the thinking in critical linguistics, a field of study that entails social activism (Fairclough 1989, 1992) and where, as Tollefson (2002a) explains, linguists are seen as responsible not only for understanding how dominant social groups (i.e., African elites) use language for establishing and maintaining social hierarchies but also for investigating ways to modify those hierarchies. If those hierarchies are to be altered in Africa, if, says Brock-Utne (2000), social and educational inequities are to be redressed, and if economic and technological development is to involve the majority of Africa’s population, the solution lies with its languages. The framework of prestige planning proposed in this chapter envisages associating selected indigenous languages with an economic value in the labor market and requiring academic skills in these languages as one of the criteria for access to employment. If Africa’s policy-

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makers embrace the proposed framework and make indigenous languages valuable and competitive with former colonial languages at least in the local formal labor market, they would have made a big leap in the right direction. If they move on with inherited colonial languages alone, then these languages will continue to serve, as Graddol (2006: 38) notes, as some of the mechanisms for structuring inequality in developing economies, particularly in the African continent. Put differently, unless African languages are given a market value, that is, unless their instrumentality for the process of production, exchange, and distribution is enhanced, as proposed in this study, “no amount of policy change at school level can guarantee their use in high-status functions and, thus, eventual escape from the dominance and hegemony of former colonial languages” (Alexander 2013: 108).

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Spencer, J. (1985). Language and Development in Africa: The Unequal Equation. In N.  Wolfson & J.  Manes (Eds.), Language of Inequality (pp.  387–397). Berlin: Mouton. Strauss, G. (1996). The Economics of Language: Diversity and Development in an Information Economy. The Economics of Language: Language Report, 5(2), 2–27. Tan, P., & Rubdy, R. (Eds.). (2008). Language as a Commodity: Global Structures, Local Marketplaces. London: Continuum. Ting, S. H. (2010). Impact of Language Planning on Language Choice in Friendship and Transaction Domains in Sarawak, Malaysia. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(4), 397–412. Tollefson, J. W. (1991). Planning Language, Planning Inequality. New York: Longman. Tollefson, J.  W. (2002a). Language Rights and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. In J. W. Tollefson (Ed.), Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues (pp. 179–199). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Tollefson, J. W. (2002b). The Language Debates: Preparing for War in Yugoslavia, 1980-1991. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 154, 65–82. Tollefson, J. W. (2006). Critical Theory in Language Policy. In T. Ricento (Ed.), An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method (pp. 42–59). Oxford: Blackwell. Tollefson, J. W. (2013). Language Policy in a Time of Crisis and Transformation. In J.  W. Tollefson (Ed.), Language Policies in Education  – Critical Issues (2nd ed., pp. 11–34). New York/London: Routledge. UNESCO. (2003). Education in a Multilingual World. UNESCO Education Position Paper. Paris: UNESCO. 129728e.pdf. Accessed 28 June 2015. UNESCO. (2013, June). Adult and Youth Literacy: National, Regional and Global Trends, 1985–2015. UIS Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO. (2014, September). Adult and Youth Literacy. UIS Fact Sheet. http://stat. Accessed 5 July 2016. Vaillancourt, F. (1996). Language and Socioeconomic Status in Quebec: Measurement, Findings, Determinants, and Policy Costs. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 121, 69–92. Walsh, J. (2006). Language and Socio-Economic Development: Towards a Theoretical Framework. Language Problems and Language Planning, 30(2), 127–148. Wee, L. (2003). Linguistic Instrumentalism in Singapore. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 24, 211–224. Weinstein, B. (Ed.). (1990). Language Policy and Political Development. Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Wright, L. (2002). Why English Dominates the Central Economy. An Economic Perspective on ‘Elite Closure’ and South African Language Policy. Language Problems and Language Planning, 26(2), 159–177.

13 Language Minorities in a Globalized Economy: The Case of Professional Translation in Canada Matthieu LeBlanc

Introduction This chapter of the handbook is devoted to the work of professional translators in a globalized economy and more specifically to the role translation plays for members of today’s linguistic minority communities. It looks at this through the lens of professional (as opposed to literary) translation, with a focus on the effects of changing working conditions for translators as a result of globalization. It pays particular attention to the Canadian context, with special emphasis on professional translation into French, the language of the officially recognized linguistic minority.1 The first part of the chapter examines the role translation plays for linguistic minorities in general. What is the impact of translation—and thus of translators—in the shaping of a minority language? Does translation contribute to the dissemination and development of minority languages? Or on the contrary, is translation a mere replica of the more dominant language(s)? Moreover, what do translation practices reveal in terms of power relations between linguistic communities? The second part of the chapter explores changing practices in professional translation, asking, for example, to what extent have working conditions— M. LeBlanc (*) Faculté des arts et des sciences sociales, Université de Moncton, Moncton, NB, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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rates of pay, deadlines, productivity requirements—changed for professional translators over the last quarter-century? How has globalization affected the work of translators? Furthermore, to what extent have the introduction and adoption of translation technologies changed the work of translators and, as a result, the end product, that is, the target text? What impact have these changes had on the target audience and, ultimately, the members of the linguistic minority, the principal consumers of translation? The third and final part of this chapter illustrates the tensions that arise when changes to the translation process and product are such that a linguistic minority, the consumers of translation, feel they are no longer being treated as citizens with rights equal to those of the linguistic majority. This examination ultimately shows that for members of minority linguistic communities, translation is intrinsically linked with language ideologies, language policies, power relations, language rights, and identity. The focus here is on the transformations that have marked the government of Canada’s Translation Bureau since the mid-1990s.

Translation and Linguistic Minorities As Branchadell states in his chapter on translation and minority languages in the Handbook of Translation Studies, translation has always been correlated with minority languages, but the link between the two, surprisingly, has not been examined as closely as one would expect in the field of translation studies (2011, p. 98). Cronin even goes so far as to say that minority languages have been long neglected by translation studies: “Translators working in minority languages have often been ignored in theoretical and historical debates on translation. […] the experiences of minority languages have much to reveal to other languages in a world increasingly dominated by one global language” (1998, p. 145), here meaning English. First, a definition of the term “minority language” is given here as it relates to the purposes of this chapter. According to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, “regional or minority languages are those that are (i) traditionally used within a given territory of a state by nationals of that state who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the state’s population and (ii) different from the official language(s) of that state, on the understanding that such definition (iii) does not include either dialects of the official language(s) of the state or the languages of migrants” (Branchadell 2011, p. 97).

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Branchadell suggests an even narrower definition than the one proposed by the Charter, wherein a minority language is “one that excludes true state languages such as French or German but still includes a merely symbolic state language such as Irish Gaelic” (2005, p.  2). While this definition may be defended by various motives, it does not always correspond to what is understood as a “minority language.” Scholars in the fields of translation studies, linguistics, and language policy have proposed broader, more encompassing definitions of “minority language.” Indeed, for many experts, the term “minority” can be used to refer to a much wider range of situations. As Venuti states, “I understand ‘minority’ to mean a cultural or political position that is subordinate, whether the context that so defines it is local, national or global. […] The terms ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ are relative, depending on one another for their definition and always dependent on a historically existing, even if changing, situation” (1998, p. 135). This broadens the definition, in that a language that can be considered as a majority language in some situations (e.g., French in France) can also be understood as a minority language in other settings (e.g., French in Canada or Switzerland). This is the definition I have adopted for the purposes of this chapter. In the same vein, Cronin deems that the “concept of “minority” with respect to language is dynamic rather than static. “Minority” is the expression of a relation not an essence. The relations can assume two forms: diachronic and spatial. The diachronic relation that defines a minority language is an historical experience that destabilises the linguistic relations in one country so that languages find themselves in an asymmetrical relationship” (1998, p. 86).

Cronin adds that the “majority status of a language is determined by political, ­economic and cultural forces that are rarely static and therefore all languages are potentially minority languages” (1998, pp.  86–87). Cronin uses Irish Gaelic as an example. These broader definitions of “minority languages” are in the end much better adapted to the situations and contexts described in this chapter.

Translating for Linguistic Minorities As Toury posits, it is “an established fact that minority language communities have often turned to translating in critical periods” (1985, p.  3) and that translation has thus contributed to “the development of these languages and


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their cultures” (1985, p.  3). This has been the case for modern Hebrew in Israel and for Gbaya in Central Africa, for example (Delisle and Woodsworth 2012). In such instances, translation can play an instrumental role in the dissemination and preservation of a minority language. It can in fact fulfill a variety of functions in the target language system, especially in cases where a strong majority language—for example, English—can have a displacing impact on the minority language(s) with which it is in contact. In such cases of asymmetry between majority and minority languages, “[i]f a minority language [group] wishes to resist displacement by the majority language of the community, it will seek to defend itself by strengthening each and every domain of language usage” (Toury 1985, p. 7). Translation into the minority language is one of the ways the minority language community can foster its survival in various domains of language use, at least partially: “translating may […] serve as a means for both actual preservation and development of a language—and enhancing self-esteem in its speakers, which is a necessary prerequisite for successful results: it is no doubt a good and highly economical way of developing new linguistic forms to their full utilization for all communicative purposes, but it may also be a reassurance for the community and its individual members that everything that has or can be formulated in other languages can also be formulated in the minority language in question, which may well be a cause for great comfort and real encouragement” (Toury 1985, p. 7).

What Toury highlights are the positive effects of translation in the development of minority languages. Along the same lines, Cronin believes that translation can be of utmost importance for linguistic minorities in the sense that it can be instrumental in the development and dissemination of the minority language. He does, however, point to an important problem that linguistic minorities often face: “Minority languages have a fundamentally paradoxical relationship with translation. As languages operating in a multilingual world with vastly accelerated information flows from dominant languages, they must translate continually in order to retain their viability and relevance as living languages. Yet, translation itself may endanger the very specificity of those languages that practise it, particularly in situations of diglossia. The situation of translation in the culture of a minority language is therefore highly ambiguous. The ambiguity is partly related to the functions of translation in the minority language culture” (Cronin 1998, p. 89).

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What Cronin emphasizes is the asymmetrical relationship in which languages find themselves, and the resultant power relations that are established between them. Often, as Cronin points out, translation is unfortunately “unidirectional” (1998, p.  90) or, if not, heavily dominant in favor of the minority language. Such is the case for Irish Gaelic in Ireland, French in Canada, and even Italian in Switzerland. While translation allows the speakers of minority languages to benefit from rights and/or privileges equal to those of speakers of the majority language, it also has the potential for introducing lexical or syntactical “interferences” into the target minority language, which in turn can transform the minority language into a “pallid imitation of the source language in translatorese” (Cronin 1998, p. 90). Toury (1985) has also signaled this risk of interference in the minority language. That being said, by suppressing all source language elements from their translations, translators also run the risk of “overdomesticating” the target text: “if they [translators] resist interference and opt for target-oriented communicative translations that domesticate the foreign text, the danger is one of complacent stasis. Translation no longer functions as an agent of regeneration in the target language” (Cronin 1998, p. 90). Overall, the relationships between the source and target texts on a microscopic level (and between the source and target cultures on a more macroscopic level) may be uncovered through an examination of translations and translation practices and processes. What are ultimately revealed are the power relations—more often than not asymmetrical—between the languages and thus the linguistic communities in contact (see Tymoczko and Gentzler 2002 on the “power turn” in translation studies). While translation may allow the dominant language to maintain its position of power and so serve to promote linguistic and cultural imposition, it can, on the other hand, also be used to combat domination: “[t]ranslation is an effective tool to change users’ perception of the symbolic and practical value of their own language, as a language into which translations are made is considered a useful one” (Diaz Fouces 2005, p. 102). In some respects, translation becomes a way of normalizing language use within the minority community, all the while giving members the opportunity—or the right—to use that language in various contexts and situations. Its role, although complex and sometimes paradoxical, is thus broad and ultimately essential. As García González suggests, “translation is an activity that has to be fostered and activated, as a mechanism to promote the language itself ” (2005, pp. 110–111). Its role in language planning and language maintenance cannot be underestimated. What we must not forget, she adds, is that its “role in language normalization processes (that is, in the attempts to cause a language to be normally used in all spheres of a speech


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community) can be of equal or even more importance for such languages than the communicative function itself ” (García González 2005, p. 111). This is, for example, the case for French in Canada in provinces other than Quebec.

Linguistic Minorities, Translation, and Globalization Since the 1990s, several translation studies scholars have written about the effects of globalization on translation. According to Shiyab, “[t]he effect of globalization [has] had a tremendous linguistic and social impact on translation and translation studies simply because globalization necessitated translation” (2010, p. 7). Globalization and technology are inextricably linked as the former is a consequence of technological advancement, “and the consequences of such globalized technology is the daily translation services we see everywhere” (Shiyab 2010, p. 9). The demand for translation has increased dramatically over the last three decades (Shiyab 2010; Cronin 2003), thanks in large part to technological advances. In fact, with the advent of the internet and new technologies, there has been an “exponential increase in information, and its centrality to the informational society has created a situation not where there is no work for translators but rather where there is in fact too much work” (Cronin 2003, p. 112). What this has meant—and still means—for linguistic minorities is a source of concern for some in the sense that, more than ever, minority languages are “under pressure” (Cronin 2003, p.  141) from powerful, major languages, most notably English. This is precisely what I will investigate in the next two sections of this chapter, beginning with an examination of the work of the translator in a globalized economy.

The Work of Translators in a Globalized Economy Translators have witnessed major shifts in their work landscape over the last 20 years. Similar to many other professionals, in this technological revolution they are adopting a variety of sophisticated tools, workflows, and procedures. These new tools have revolutionized the art and science of translating. No longer a “craft” as it had been for hundreds of years, professional translation has become more of an “industry,” to use Gouadec’s term (2007). The first part of this section discusses the technological changes professional translators have witnessed over the last 30 years; the second part examines the effects of globalization and industrialization on the practice of translation and on professional translators. The goal is to establish who is most concerned by these

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changes and how linguistic minority communities may or may not be affected by them.

The Technological Revolution in Professional Translation The advent of personal computers and sophisticated workstations in the 1980s and 1990s brought translation abruptly into the twenty-first century. Gone are the days when translators used typewriters, consulted paper dictionaries, spent hours searching through in-house libraries gathering scientific or technical documentation for their translations, or revised and edited translations with pen and paper. The adoption of technological tools by translators has been swift, and professionals today work in highly technologized environments. The modern translator workstation consists of a number of computer-­ assisted translation tools (CAT), some of which are simple reproductions of traditional tools (e.g., dictionaries) while others are new and complex. While word processors remain at the core of the translator’s workstation, many other tools are now also used, including online and electronic dictionaries, spell checkers (and grammar checkers), terminology databases, bitexts and concordancers, internet search engines, translation memory (TM) software, and machine/automatic translation (MT) systems (see Bowker 2002, and Kenny 2011, among others). Translators do most of their work directly at their workstations and spend many hours in front of screens. They work less and less with paper, and seldom consult traditional sources of documentation. In fact, “[p]rofessional translation has become a multi-activity task within a complex system of client expectations, technological aids, information sources, and organizational constraints” (Ehrensberger-Dow and Massey 2014, p. 199). The two tools that have most significantly changed the nature of the work of translators are translation memory systems and machine translation systems. A translation memory system is “a type of linguistic database that is used to store and retrieve source texts and their translations when translating a new source text” (Bowker 2002, pp. 154–155). TMs have been widely used for a number of years already—they were made commercially available in the 1990s—and are part of most translators’ toolkits, be they freelance or in-­ house, salaried translators. TMs offer numerous advantages in that they allow for increased productivity and improved consistency. Designed to retrieve existing translations, they help translators increase the number of words translated in a set period of time. They can also help to improve terminological and stylistic consistency, as well as reduce repetitive work. Finally, TMs constitute in and of themselves a text repository containing original text and their trans-


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lations; this searchable repository can be used as parallel corpora and thus be very useful for translators (Christensen and Scholdager 2010; LeBlanc 2013). TMs have significantly changed the translators’ relationship with the source and target texts (Garcia 2009; Mossop 2006a; Pym 2011). First and foremost, rather than work with whole texts, translators now deal with segments, more often sentences but also parts of sentences, as required by the software and sometimes by the clients themselves. The result of this sentence-by-sentence approach is that translation becomes a mere sentence-replacement activity that renders the holistic, whole-text approach difficult. The technological constraints are such that the act of translating is in some instances quite decontextualized. In cases where large parts of texts have been previously translated, only the non-translated segments appear, making it hard for translators to decode the meaning. Moreover, professional translators see many other drawbacks to TMs: they render translators increasingly passive; they affect the translators’ natural reflexes; they contribute to error propagation; they influence productivity requirements; and they subject translators to existing translations and sometimes encourage “blind” recycling (LeBlanc 2013; see also Pym 2011). Contrary to TMs, machine translation systems were only recently integrated into translator workstations. Although more and more commonplace, MT systems are not nearly as widespread as TMs. When applied to translator workstations, an MT system is often used in combination with TMs. There are fewer studies of translator interaction with MT systems, but what we know is that MT systems alone, without the help of a human translator, cannot produce translations that are of high quality and thus market-ready.2 In other words, texts produced by MT systems are revised or post-edited by professional translators before being delivered to clients. Although certain types of documents may be suited for MT because of their predictable and repetitive nature (Gouadec 2007), many text types are not suited for MT. The wide availability of MT systems on the internet (e.g., Google Translate) has cast a shadow on the translation profession, as it gives the mistaken impression that translation is—or will be—a fully automated activity. For example, Google Translate is used more and more by individuals and corporations instead of human translators; the end product is either unedited—which gives rise to unintelligible translations—or edited by a bilingual non-professional, a practice that may have deleterious effects on the quality of the target text. Overall, the integration of MT and TM has profoundly changed the relationship translators have with their texts. In general, many researchers concede that the nature of the translation task has been altered by translation technology as a whole (Jiménez-Crispo 2009; O’Brien 2012). As Pym suggests,

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“[t]he first thing you find is that the text is segmented, broken into units that sit one on top of the other. That is, the text is broken into paradigmatic form; its linearity is repeatedly interrupted. The translation mind is thereby invited to work on one segment after the other, checking for terminological and phraseological consistency but not so easily checking, within this environment, for syntagmatic cohesion” (Pym 2011, p. 3).

We are, according to Pym, moving away from linearity (2011, p. 4). The rapid technological changes that professional translation is undergoing makes it hard to predict what the translator’s—or post-editor’s—workstation might look like in ten or 15 years: “[c]hange is hardly expected to slacken, so attempting to envision the state-of-the art in 2020 would be guesswork at best” (Garcia 2014, p. 85).

The Industrialization of Translation While translation technologies have made life easier for translators in many ways, they also have made things more complicated, as we have seen. As Gouadec posits, “[c]omputerization has changed translation (…) into an industrial process. IT [information technology] has in fact encouraged and probably induced the industrialization of the translation profession by (a) significantly increasing the volumes of translatable material; (b) providing the tools needed to process such large volumes; and (c) accelerating the implementation of standardized procedures” (Gouadec 2007, p. 286).

We now refer to translation as an “industry”; in Canada, we commonly speak of translation as part of the “language industries” which include the development of translation technologies and second-language teaching—and translation now “bears all the hallmarks of an industrial activity” (Gouadec 2007, p. 297). Some of these hallmarks include the development of industrial methods, ­procedures, and work organizations; the standardization of the translation process itself through the use of templates; the development (and imposition) of specific translation tools and technologies; the internationalization, globalization, and offshoring of translation activities; the outsourcing of translation (which has led in some cases to the downsizing or outright closure of internal translation services or departments); the rapid development of private translation agencies and companies; the division of labor within translation agencies and companies (pre-translation, translation, editing, terminological services, etc.); the increase in productivity requirements


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for all translators; and finally an increased pressure on tariff rates (Gouadec 2007, pp. 297–298). The impact of this computerization and subsequent industrialization of translation has been felt by almost all professional translators since the 1990s (Gouadec 2007, p. 311; Mossop 2006a). According to Garcia, while the digital age has “affected all professions, […] change has been felt by translators more keenly than most” (Garcia 2009, p. 199). Forced to work almost exclusively in front of screens and more and more dependent on—if not subordinated to—translation tools such as TM and MT systems, translators are dealing not so much with whole texts, but more with segments. These segments have for the most part been pre-translated using MT and TM, transforming the translation task into more of a post-editing task (Gouadec 2007; Mossop 2006a; Garcia 2009). As Erhensberger-Dow and Massey confirm, “many comments made by professional translators suggest that language technology tools are unnecessarily constraining their creative autonomy. […] Some translation tools and aids might be pushing translation into the direction of a search and match or patchwriting task and away from interlingual transfer or meaning within a multilingual’s mind” (2014, pp.  202–203). Others, such as Garcia, deem that the “[translation] industry itself is being sidelined by technological advancement, and is proving slow to react” (2009, p. 210). This may have a negative effect on the professional status of translators (Katan 2009) or on the working conditions of translators as they compete with non-professionals, mere “amateur bilinguals” (Garcia 2009). Finally, as Gambier puts it, “[t]hese changes in the conditions and pace of work can ultimately demotivate translators, who become dispossessed of all power, forced to always be online or beholden to the tool imposed by the client” (2016, p. 894). All in all, translators who feel that technologies have in some ways led to a loss of control over their work tend to view technologies in a more negative light, as Marshman (2014) has shown in a study of technologies in the workplace. Only time will tell if the professional status of translators will witness a genuine revolution, or if the pressures of cost effectiveness will lead to the “deputizing of competent bilinguals in place of professional translators” (Garcia 2009, p. 208) in certain cases. Pym also wonders if “[p]rofessional translators and their organizations will concede market space to the volunteers and paraprofessionals able to post-edit machine translation output and apply translation memories” (2011, p. 5). What we do know, however, is that most changes “have been changes in translation as a business” (Mossop 2006a, p. 789; see also Mossop 2006b). As many have pointed out, the industrialization and globalization of translation activities have meant

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“translation companies [are] providing service to an international clientele and dealing with remotely located translations suppliers in many countries. The very production of translations is now sometimes globalized, in the sense that a text is received for translation at one location and divided into chunks which are sent to translators around the world” (Mossop 2006a, p. 789).

As a mere commodity, translation is in some situations regarded as a simple product, destined for a non-specific linguistic community. In some instances, very little thought goes into the role that the translated text plays in the target society. This brings us back to the role of translation for members of linguistic minorities. In this new climate (and in light of the new conditions under which professional translation is practiced) we need to ask: how are linguistic minorities affected by the forces of industrialization and globalization with regards to translation? The next section focuses more specifically on the Translation Bureau of Canada and on the significant corporate and technological revolution it has undergone since the mid-1990s.

 ranslation, Globalization, and Linguistic T Minorities: An Example from the Canadian Context The Translation Bureau of Canada The Translation Bureau (TB) of Canada is the “federal organization responsible for supporting the Government of Canada in its efforts to communicate with and provide services for Canadians in the official language of their choice” (Translation Bureau 2016). It is one of the leading translation organizations in the world and the largest employer of language professionals in Canada. Since its founding in 1934, the TB has become the federal government centre of expertise in translation and linguistic services. In addition to having been a service provider for more than 75 years, the TB plays a lead role in terminology standardization within the government of Canada, standardizing the vocabulary used in various areas of government activity. In addition, the TB is the exclusive supplier of translation, revision and interpretation services for Parliament. As a leader in the Canadian linguistic services industry, the Translation Bureau stays abreast of emerging trends and makes every effort to leverage technological advances and new technologies.


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Because of its rich culture of innovation, the Bureau increasingly stands out as a leader in language technologies. (Translation Bureau 2016)

From its inception in 1934 until 1995, all government agencies and departments were required to use the TB’s services, which were free. In 1995, the TB underwent major changes in its operations and became a Special Operating Agency (SOA) of the Treasury Board of Canada. From that point, agencies and departments were no longer required to use the TB’s services for translation; they could deal with outside language service providers (LSPs). Moreover, the TB, operating on a cost-recovery basis, was required to charge all its clients—agencies and departments—for its services (House of Commons 2016, p. 6). For the government, the goal of making the TB an SOA was to create a more cost-effective and competitive organization (House of Commons 2016, p. 13). From 2008, fewer and fewer government agencies and departments— or clients—dealt with the TB, preferring instead the private sector (House of Commons 2016, p. 14). Furthermore, staffing levels at the TB have declined progressively since 2011 due in large part to the increased use of translation technologies. The TB has been looking to modernize its operations and to decrease its operational costs. Most of the positions eliminated have been through attrition of workers due mainly to retirement (House of Commons 2016, p. 16). Ultimately, the TB underwent a seismic shift in the mid-1990s when the “commissioner—the government—decided to start using translation less as a major domestic cultural-political activity (as has been the case since the 1970s), or a minor constitutionally mandated legal requirement (as had been the case since the 19th century), and more as an economic activity in which Canada could do well both domestically and on the world stage” (Mossop 2006b, p. 3).

 he Government of Canada’s Machine Translation Tool: T Portage While the transformations at the TB had been the object of some concern among translators and the translation community, nothing attracted as much attention as the government of Canada’s decision in 2015 to make the TB’s machine translation tool, Portage, available to all federal public servants. Designed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Portage is a statistics-based translation software program. According to the NRC, “this technology, given adequate data, can automatically generate new

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machine translation systems for virtually any pair of languages and any domain of specialization” (National Research Council 2016). The goal was to increase translator productivity. Made available to all TB translators, Portage was now set to be made available to every public servant as it contains “millions of professionally translated government-specific terms and phrases (…) and (was) intended to make it easier for public servants to function effectively at work in their acquired official language” (House of Commons 2016, p. 21). The news of the government’s decision to provide universal access to Portage was met with dismay—and outrage—by professional translators, translators’ associations, language rights advocates, and several translator-training institutions. Federal government translators reacted negatively to the news in the fear that Portage would gradually replace a significant number of translators and that some would lose their jobs. However, what federal translators feared the most was the impact of such a decision on the TB’s reputation, which the Bureau had worked hard to build since its creation in the 1930s. The use of Portage by public servants who lack good knowledge of their second official language would have a major impact on the “quality of internal government communication to the point where it would ‘trample’ on public servants’ language rights” (Woods 2015). The union representing federal translators reacted vehemently and publicly by stating that the decision would “threaten the survival of the Translation Bureau and of the translation profession itself ” (Woods 2015). While federal translators have access to Portage and may occasionally use it to compose a first draft, all translations done with the software are revised by professionals and thus are never sent to clients without having been approved by a professional. The fear among translation professionals was that the move would give public servants the impression that the translations produced by Portage are of high quality, acceptable for release as is. Such is not the case, and the concerns raised by the translation community were in large part justified as some public servants unknowingly used Portage to translate documents intended for a general readership. The Translation Bureau’s management, however, defended its decision to allow all public servants to use Portage by stating that the tool should be used for “gisting” purposes, that is, for understanding the gist of a text written in another language. It could, according to the TB, help francophones and anglophones to better understand texts written in the other official language. The TB also believed the tool could be used for the “translation of short, unofficial internal communications” (Woods 2015). It was, however, clear for the Bureau that the oversight of professional translators would still be necessary for longer texts and all publications destined for the general public.


M. LeBlanc

Investigation of the Translation Bureau in 2016 In early 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages undertook a study on the Translation Bureau “in light of concerning media reports about the TB, especially with regard to its reduced workforce and its announcement that it was introducing a machine translation tool within the federal public service” (House of Commons 2016, p. 3). Witness testimonies included those of professors and researchers in the fields of translation studies, language rights experts, linguistic minorities advocates, as well as representatives from the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (the union representing federal translators), the Language Technologies Research Centre, the Language Industry Association, and officials from the Department of Public Works and Government Services, which houses the Translation Bureau. Many of the witnesses had already reacted publicly to the federal government’s decision to allow the use of Portage by all federal public servants. The fears expressed by the majority of expert witnesses revolved around Portage’s limitations and the fear that its use would become widespread in the federal public service. As the tool cannot be used to produce quality translations, the witnesses insisted on the role that professional translation plays in safeguarding Canada’s linguistic duality. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages was reminded that under the Official Languages Act of Canada, English and French have equality of status and equal rights and privileges in federal institutions. The Act also guarantees that federal institutions must provide Canadians with services in the official languages of their choice, services that are required to be of equal quality. In this respect, all translations produced, be they in English or French, must be of the same quality as the original text. Furthermore, witnesses also pointed out that although English and French are, in designated bilingual regions of the country, considered under Part V of the Act as official languages of work, there is an important discrepancy in the use of the two official languages in federal institutions. English has always been the main, common language of work in bilingual settings (LeBlanc 2014). Ongoing reports by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada clearly show that English remains the primary language used for drafting documents, for meetings, and for training in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes (e.g., the National Capital Region or the province of New Brunswick). Many reports and studies have revealed an erosion of bilingualism in the federal public service, and in their testimonies, witnesses were quick to point out that French remains a language

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of translation. The proportion of texts translated from English into French stands between 85% and 90%, a figure that shows that French is rarely used for drafting documents. The widespread use of English as a language of work within the public service has always been a concern for language rights advocates and minority-­ community interest groups. The functioning of English as the dominant language of work is seen as a threat to the vitality of the French linguistic minority community. This is where the role of translation into French, the language of the minority, comes into play. In the federal public service, translation is not just a vector for conveying information in another language; it is a means of contributing to the presence—and to the vitality—of the minority language and as such it plays a capital role in the dissemination and promotion of that language. The quality of the translations is thus of paramount importance for members of the linguistic minority. Reactions to the use of Portage by public servants were almost unanimous. In fact, between June 2015 and May 2016, a large number of newspaper articles and editorials were written about the TB’s decision about Portage. References were made to the fact that machine translation would not simply be used as a “language comprehension tool” but as a “translation tool,” the effects of which would be extremely detrimental to the quality of French in the public service on the one hand, and even more so to the right of francophones to access texts of equal quality on the other. Some commenters and witnesses questioned whether the Translation Bureau, whose mandate is to help Canada fulfill its constitutional obligations with respect to the equality of English and French, was not indirectly doing a disservice to members of the linguistic minority by encouraging non-professionals, often members of the unilingual anglophone majority, to use a machine translation tool of whose limitations they are unaware. Finally, some questioned whether such a move was not a major step backwards in terms of linguistic equality for members of the francophone community. At the end of the hearing, the Standing Committee on Official Languages produced a report, Study of the Translation Bureau, containing seven recommendations. It was stipulated that “the Government of Canada recognize the essential role that translation and translators play in Canada’s linguistic duality” (House of Commons 2016, p.  30, Recommendation 3) and that “the Portage language comprehension tool be used solely by federal public servants for the purpose of understanding a text and not for disseminating public or internal documents for information” (House of Commons 2016, p.  30, Recommendation 5). It also stated clearly that users of Portage, that is, federal public servants, should be made fully aware that the tool was to be used “solely


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for the purpose of comprehension rather than communication” (House of Commons 2016, p. 30, Recommendation 7).

The TB’s Shift from Culture to Business The important ideological shifts that the TB has undergone since the mid-­ 1990s, coupled with the public service-wide release of Portage, clearly show that over the years, translation has indeed become less and less of a “sociopolitical” activity for the government of Canada. As Mossop states, following the introduction of Canada’s Official Languages Act in 1969, “[t]he government’s translating work was seen by the government itself, and by others, as part of the state’s action on society. It was a component of the bilingualization process, which, among other things, sought to bring about a cultural change, that is, a change in how Canadians conceived of the country and an enhanced role for the French language in Canadian public life” (Mossop 2006b, p.  6; see also Delisle 1984, p.  71; Delisle and Otis 2016, pp. 425–437).

As mentioned previously, most of the translation was done from the language of the linguistic majority (English) into the language of the linguistic minority (French) and thus translators and the Translation Bureau as their employer played an important role in ensuring the presence and vitality of French both in the public service and in public life. A Translation Bureau publication from 1978 reads that “because a huge proportion of French writings in Canada are translations, careless translation is a major source of Anglicization. As a result, the English-to-French translator plays a non-negligible role in the destiny of the French language in Canada” (Translation Bureau 1978, p. 8; quoted from Mossop 2006b, p. 7). With its increasing focus on cost recovery, productivity, and the use of translation tools, the TB gradually adopted a business model similar in many ways to that of a translation agency. Over the years, as the TB bore more and more of the hallmarks of an industrialized activity (Gouadec 2007; Mossop 2006b, pp. 10–11), less and less time was devoted to quality control. In other words, the quality of service became more important than the quality of its final product—the texts produced (Mossop 2006b, p. 21). The introduction of TMs, and gradually of MT, brought about new challenges concerning quality. To summarize, Mossop states that

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federal government translation in Canada is now being done increasingly under the sign of economic policy whereas previously it was done mainly under the sign of socio-cultural policy. In other words, the driving force behind the government’s translating activity is becoming the economics of translation, by which I mean the use of translation to support other sectors of industry wishing to export their products, or make them available on both French and English markets in Canada, but translation as itself an economic activity. (Mossop 2006b, p. 25; author’s emphasis)

Mossop concludes that [t]he socio-cultural goals enshrined in the Constitution and the Official Languages Act are still operative and still proclaimed. But, I suggest, they are no longer the driving goals, the source of initiatives. Economic goals (providing employment and profit) now appear to have the upper hand. The contention here has been that when translation comes to be treated as an economic end in itself rather than a socio-cultural activity which incidentally provides people with a living, this has an impact on linguitic output. (Mossop 2006b, p. 25)

The tensions resulting from this shift in policy mirror what emerges from the study conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages. Overall, we see that Canada’s translation “industry” is not immune to the effects of industrialization and globalization: “[t]he traditional Canadian translation industry is being challenged by both globalization pressures to cut costs and claims by statistical machine translation (MT) providers. […] A new trend is that clients are willing to accept a ‘good enough’ translation without revision if it is fast and low price. Quality used to be evaluated by means of a revision process, which is now eliminated to cut costs or because no revisers are available” (McClintock et al. 2017).

Conclusion This chapter’s main goal has been to discuss the role translation plays for linguistic minorities. An additional focus on the role of professional translation into French in the Canadian context clearly illustrates the complexities of the translational activity in linguistic minority contexts. There are naturally countless other examples from all across the globe that would illustrate alto-


M. LeBlanc

gether different dynamics and different power relations. As Cronin says, “[e] ach minority language is involved in a particular translation dynamic, a dynamic that varies from language to language” (2003, p. 161). The picture I have painted would be very different in the case of a minority language that is not, like French, a major world language, or of a minority language that has no official recognition at all, for instance, most of Canada’s numerous aboriginal languages. While there is a desirability for a theory of minority language translation (Branchadell 2011, p.  100), much work remains to be done in order to grasp the multitude and complexity of comparable situations worldwide. That being said, the example of professional translation as practiced in the Canadian context does allow us to shed light on the role of translation in a minority language setting. Translation—or more specifically the directionality of translation—is to a large extent a barometer of the asymmetrical linguistic relations and the weight languages carry in a given social and political context. In many cases, members of the linguistic majority, at least in the Canadian context, worry very little about the effects of translation on their community, on their language, on their rights. In the eyes of the majority, translation is for the minority. As we have seen, working conditions for translators have changed tremendously since the 1990s and more changes are to come. With industrialization and globalization, volumes of work have increased while deadlines have been tightened. Translation, as for many other sectors, has not been shielded from the effects of globalization. Technology is now at the core of the translating profession, and professional translators are feeling the effects of the shifting business practices that are being observed in many translation environments across the world. These changes are of particular concern to linguistic minorities as they are the principal consumers of translation, and as such it is “unwise and unhelpful to sunder technological developments from the political and economic contexts of language use” (Cronin 2003, p. 119). This is precisely what has been illustrated in the last section of this chapter. When the Canadian government decided to make MT available to all public servants, members of the linguistic minority reacted negatively, as translation represents an activity that is essential in many respects to the development of Canadian francophone language and community. The two cannot be separated. An increased automation and mechanization of the translation process is seen as a threat to the language as much as to the quality of the final product, and as such is considered as a form of minorization or assimilation. These are concerns from which members of the linguistic majority are sheltered, for obvious reasons.

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In the end, although we have been witnessing more and more interest in minority language translation in recent years (Branchadell 2011, p. 99), we need to further investigate and reflect upon the role of translation in minority settings and more importantly the effects—positive or negative—that it has on the minority community. Acknowledgment I would like to thank my research assistant, Marc-André Bouchard, for his tremendous help, as well as Karen Spracklin for revising the manuscript.

Notes 1. The official languages of Canada are English and French. Enacted in 1969, the Official Languages Act of Canada gives English and French equal status throughout the government of Canada. English is the official language of 58% of the population, and French is the official language of close to 22% of the population. Close to 21% of Canadians have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French. For example, there are more than 60 aboriginal languages in Canada grouped in 12 different language families, the largest of which is Algonquian, followed by Inuit. These languages, however, have no official recognition in the Canadian Constitution. Only the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, two of the three territories located in the Canadian North, have conferred official status to certain aboriginal languages. None of the ten Canadian provinces have followed suit. Besides English, French, and the numerous aboriginal languages, there are, across Canada, over 200 other mother tongues spoken in Canada (immigrant mother tongues). The most important ones are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Punjabi, Spanish, Italian, German, Tagalog, Arabic, Polish, and Portuguese. 2. For more information on computer-aided translation tools, that is, translation memory and machine translation, please refer to Garcia (2014) and Kenny (2011).

References Bowker, L. (2002). Computer-Aided Translation Technology: A Practical Introduction. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. Branchadell, A. (2005). Introduction: Less Translated Languages as a Field of Enquiry. In A.  Branchadell & L.  M. West (Eds.), Less Translated Languages (pp.  1–23). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


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Branchadell, A. (2011). Minority Languages and Translation. In Y. Gambier & L. van Doorslaer (Eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies (Vol. 2, pp.  97–101). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Christensen, T. P., & Schjoldager, A. (2010). Translation-Memory (TM) Research: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? Hermes – The Journal of Language and Communication, 44, 1–3. Cronin, M. (1998). The Cracked Looking Glass of Servants. Translation and Minority Languages in a Global Age. In L. Venuti (Ed.), Translation and Minority [Special Issue of The Translator, 4(2)] (pp. 145–162). Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing. Cronin, M. (2003). Translation and Globalization. London/New York: Routledge. Delisle, J. (1984). Bridging the Language Solitudes. Translation Bureau 1934–1984. Ottawa: Department of Supply and Services. Delisle, J., & Otis, A. (2016). Les douaniers des langues. Grandeur et misère de la traduction à Ottawa, 1867–1967. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval. Delisle, J., & Woodsworth, J. (Eds.). (2012). Translators Through History (Revised ed.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Diaz Fouces, O. (2005). Translation Policy for Minority Languages in the European Union. Globalization and Resistance. In A. Branchadell & L. M. West (Eds.), Less Translated Languages (pp.  95–104). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Ehrensberger-Dow, M., & Massey, G. (2014). Translators and Machines: Working Together. In W.  Baur, B.  Eichner, N.  Keβler, S.  Kalina, F.  Mayer, & J.  Ørsted (Eds.), Man Vs. Machine. Volume I. Proceedings of the XXth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators (Berlin, 4–6 August 2014) (pp. 199–207). Berlin: BDÜ Fachverlag. Gambier, Y. (2016). Rapid and Radical Change in Translation and Translation Studies. International Journal of Communication, 10, 887–906. Garcia, I. (2009). Beyond Translation Memory: Computers and the Professional Translator. JoSTrans – The Journal of Specialized Translation, 12, 199–214. Garcia, I. (2014). Computer-Aided Translation Systems. In S.  W. Chan (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Technology (pp. 68–87). London: Routledge. García González, M. (2005). Translation of Minority Languages in Bilingual and Multilingual Communities. In A. Branchadell & L. M. West (Eds.), Less Translated Languages (pp. 105–123). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Gouadec, D. (2007). Translation as a Profession. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. House of Commons of Canada. (2016). Study of the Translation Bureau. Report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Ottawa: Parliament of Canada. Jiménez-Crispo, M. A. (2009). The Effect of Translation Memory Tools in Translated Web Texts: Evidence from a Comparative Product-Based Study. Linguistica Antverpiensia, 8, 213–232.

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Katan, D. (2009). Occupation or Profession? A Survey of the Translators’ World. In R. Sela-Sheffy & M. Shlesinger (Eds.), Profession, Identity and Status: Translators and Interpreters as an Occupational Group [Special Issue of Translating and Interpreting Studies, 4(2)] (pp.  187–209). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Kenny, D. (2011). Electronic Tools and Resources for Translators. In K. Malmkjaer & K. Windle (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies (pp. 544–472). Oxford: Oxford University Press. LeBlanc, M. (2013). Translators on Translation Memory (TM). Results of an Ethnographic Study in Three Translation Services and Agencies. The International Journal for Translation and Interpreting Research, 5(2), 1–13. LeBlanc, M. (2014). Language of Work in the Federal Public Service: What Is the Situation Today? In R.  Clément & P.  Foucher (Eds.), Fifty Years of Official Bilingualism. Challenges, Analyses and Testimonies (pp. 69–76). Ottawa: Invenire. Marshman, E. (2014). Taking Control: Language Professionals and Their Control When Using Language Technologies. Meta, 59(2), 380–405. McClintock, B., McKenven, É., & Williams, M. (2017). Quality in the MT Era: Importance and Measurement. Circuit [Online] No. 133. Available at: http:// Accessed 25 Jan 2017. Mossop, B. (2006a). Has Computerization Changed Translation? Meta, 51(4), 787–793. Mossop, B. (2006b). From Culture to Business. The Translator, 12(1), 1–27. National Research Council of Canada. (2016). Machine Translation [Online]. Available at: Accessed 5 Sept 2016. O’Brien, S. (2012). Translation as Human–Computer Interaction. Translation Spaces, 1(1), 101–122. Pym, A. (2011). What Technology Does to Translating. The International Journal for Translation and Interpreting Research, 3(1), 1–9. Shiyab, S. M. (2010). Globalization and Its Impact on Translation. In S. M. Shiyad et  al. (Eds.), Globalization and Aspects of Translation (pp.  1–10). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Toury, G. (1985). Aspects of Translating into Minority Languages from the Point of View of Translation Studies. Multilingua, 4(1), 3–10. Translation Bureau. (1978). La Traduction au service de l’État et du pays. Ottawa: Secretary of State. Translation Bureau. (2016). Translation, Terminology and Interpretation [Online]. Available at: Accessed 3 Oct 2016. Tymoczko, M., & Gentzler, E. (2002). Translation and Power. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.


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Venuti, L. (1998). Introduction. In L. Venuti (Ed.), Translation and Minority [Special Issue of The Translator, 4(2)] (pp. 135–144). Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing. Woods, M. (2015). Canadian Translators Worry Wider Access to Software Will Lead to “Hundreds” of Job Losses. Metro News [Online]. Available at: http://www. Accessed 4 Jul 2016.

Part V Education, Literacy, Access

14 Indigenous Children’s Language Practices in Australia Samantha Disbray and Gillian Wigglesworth

Introduction The languages and language practices of Australian Indigenous children have received growing research attention in recent years. As a result, we know a good deal more about the diverse linguistic contexts in which these children grow up and the rich language repertoires they develop (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2008). In very remote areas of Australia, some are growing up speaking their traditional language and hearing it from parents and grandparents while learning English as a foreign language in school. Others, in ­middle-­class settings, speak Standard Australian English (SAE). Some live in cities that were dispossessed from their ancestors over 200 years ago. In some country towns, there are community elders who recall some words from their traditional language learnt in childhood. Many also recall being punished for speaking their language in the school playground (Briscoe 2008). In many areas, traditional languages are no longer spoken as languages of everyday communication, and styles of Aboriginal English and other contemporary varieties fulfil this role in in-group communication. Recent research has documented a wide range of new contact languages, spoken as first and additional S. Disbray (*) Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia e-mail: [email protected] G. Wigglesworth University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2019 G. Hogan-Brun, B. O’Rourke (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities,



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languages and dialects by children. Particularly in more remote areas, the languages the children are learning present a ‘moving target’ in the sense that language change and shift is occurring at the same time the children are learning these languages. Nonetheless, family, in-group networks, and distinct cultural practices and worldviews remain tight. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people constitute approximately 2.8% of the population of Australia. The greatest number live in New South Wales, while the greatest proportion live in the Northern Territory, where they make up 26% of the overall population, with the majority living in remote or very remote areas. It is this remoteness that has an important role to play in the maintenance of traditional Indigenous languages. An estimated 270 languages were spoken across the Indigenous nations of precolonial Australia (Walsh 1991). According to the 2016 census data, 63,800, or 10%, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians reported speaking or knowing some of their heritage languages. Some 150 languages are named, reflecting both a diverse and an extremely fragile language ecology, with significant language endangerment which makes Australia one of five language endangerment hotspots worldwide. Two National Indigenous Languages Surveys (NILS), conducted nine  years apart, demonstrated the extent of the endangerment of traditional languages in Australia. The first reported 18 languages still being learned by children (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2005), whereas the later survey, NILS2 (Marmion et  al. 2014), reported that, nine years later, only 13 could be considered strong. Although NILS2 used a different methodology, some decline in use of the remaining traditional languages is clearly occurring. Several drivers have motivated growing attention to Indigenous child language practices in Australia. Descriptions of the acquisition of traditional languages and contemporary languages have mapped specific languages and language situations and are important for providing a clearer picture of the linguistic vitality and innovation in Australia. Research in Australia also addresses the bias towards European languages and monolingual settings in first language acquisition and socialisation studies. Kelly, Kidd, and Wigglesworth (2015b, p. 279) observe that: a comprehensive theory of language acquisition must explain how human infants can learn any one of the world’s 7000 or so languages. As such, an important part of understanding how languages are learned is to investigate acquisition across a range of diverse languages and sociocultural contexts.

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There is a degree of urgency surrounding this task due to the vulnerability of Australian languages, which remain under pressure from, and respond to, the impacts of colonisation. Some Australian research has focussed on the language practices of Indigenous youth, observing innovative language practices, styles, and interactions with multimodalities, including electronic media in changing social contexts. As this work explores new identities, codes, and practices, it overlaps with, and has the potential to contribute to other fields in the sociology of language such as language and mobility (Canagarajah 2017). Phenomena evident in colonialisation settings, such as issues of language loyalty, change, and shift, and complex multilingualism, occur in contexts of geographic mobility. A further important motivation for research is the interface between home language and schooling. The elucidation of Indigenous child language practices can address some of the challenges and opportunities for Indigenous students, teachers, and other education professionals in the provision of quality education in Australia, where significant public attention is often drawn to the low rates of academic achievement levels among Indigenous students, particularly those in remote Australia (Disbray 2015). The development of a Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Languages as part of the newly released Australian National Curriculum presents a new affordance for teaching and learning traditional languages among Indigenous and non-­ Indigenous students, particularly for second language speakers in language revitalisation contexts. Conversely, however, the opportunities for speakers of traditional languages to learn through their first language remain limited. While the Northern Territory Bilingual Education programme was vibrant throughout the 1970s and 1980s, increasing cuts to funding (including for teacher training) and lack of political will have seen these programmes dwindle. Traditional language-speaking students rarely have access either to programmes in their mother tongue or to specialised English as an additional language programmes. This is equally true for speakers of new contemporary varieties, such as the creoles spoken widely across Northern Australia. In many settings neither their home languages nor their learning needs as (Standard Australian) English language learners are acknowledged and addressed in education policy and practice research. Outside the political realm, research efforts have been dedicated to better understanding the language repertoires of, and community aspirations and appropriate pedagogy for, Indigenous children. Methodologically, there is a broadening spread of studies. Researchers have drawn on sociocultural and acquisition, formal descriptive, variationist, pol-


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Tiwi Islands

Torres Strait Islands





Kalkaringi TERRITORY


Lajamanu Yuendumu

Ipmanker Alice Springs




Tennant Creek



Ltyentye Apurte Mimili










Shepparton Mooroopna


Melbourne VICTORIA



Fig. 14.1  Places named in the chapter. Map created by Brenda Thornley

icy analytic, discourse analytic, and experimental methods, addressing challenges that small speaker numbers can pose for rigorous empirical research (Kelly et al. 2015a). The remainder of this chapter addresses the issues raised in this introduction and reviews key Australian research on Aboriginal child language practices. The final section considers new research directions (Fig. 14.1).

Language Socialisation and Child-Directed Speech Child language socialisation, particularly in remote contexts, has been the focus of several studies. Annette Hamilton’s early study (1981) of traditional child-rearing practices among the Anbarra in the multilingual community of

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Maningrida in Northeast Arnhem Land highlights a set of key cultural tropes that appear in the literature across sites and time. The interrelated concepts of sociality, autonomy, and the centrality of kin are perhaps the most universal. Lowell et  al. (1996) describe ‘the incessant communicative interaction in which young children participate, and the large number of people with whom they interact’ (p. 109) among Yolngu at multilingual Galiwin’ku in Northwest Arnhem Land. This is a recurrent depiction in the literature (Western Desert of West Australia in Jacobs 1988; among Warlpiri in Central Australia in Bavin 1993; O’Shannessy 2011; Musharbash 2016; and in the Northern Australia Wadeye among Murrinhpatha in Forshaw 2016, p. 11). With respect to autonomy, studies note that young children are given great freedom to explore their environment and are encouraged to be independent, to make their own decisions and choices, and to assert themselves in the large social groups they inhabit (Lowell et  al. 1996, p.  135; Forshaw 2016; Hamilton’s 1981 work in Maningrida and later among the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara at Mimili in northern South Australia). As Bavin (1991, p. 93) notes: Adults [give children verbal demands and] expect the appropriate behavioural responses, but are not upset if the child does not respond as expected. It is assumed that children will eventually take responsibility for their own actions.

When exploratory behaviours among infants and children must be curbed, scary routines such as stories of malevolent beings rather than punishment or forced acquiescence have been observed (Eickelkamp 2004; Kral and Ellis 2008; Musharbash 2016; Tjitayi and Lewis 2011). O’Shannessy too writes of the freedom of behaviour extended to children at Lajamanu, who from age five to six spend ‘most of their time playing with other children and only return home for meals and to sleep’ (2011, pp. 132–133). With such autonomy comes social responsibility, as children take responsibility for themselves and for younger children. As Gillian Shaw (2002, p. 96) reports in her study of Ngaanyatjarra (at Warburton, Western Desert) child-rearing practices: Children know themselves and what they need, and that they will grow up in their own way. An adult’s role is to meet the child’s demands where possible, and to hold the child as part of the family.

Being part of the family is a core value. This manifests in myriad ways in social life and in children’s early language practices in both urban and traditionally


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oriented settings. Traditional Indigenous languages have complex kin and classificatory kin (‘skin’) systems, which reflect the importance of kinship by encoding aspects of it into the lexicon and/or syntax as a specialist domain or ‘kintax’ (Evans 2003). Children hear explicit and staged instruction about kinship in baby talk registers in Central and Northern Australian languages (Kral and Ellis 2008; Laughren 1984; Musharbash 2011; Turpin et al. 2014; Bavin 1991, 1993; Davidson 2017; Lowell et al. 1996). Several studies report on ways that children mobilise their developing language knowledge in play as ‘imitative of adult social practice’ (Ngaanyatjarra Lands—Ellis, Green, and Kral, 2017, p. 4; in Lajamanu—O’Shannessy 2011; but cf. Tjitayi and Lewis 2011—Ernabella). The centrality of socialisation to a kin network is also observed in urban contexts, where children speak English, as in Shepparton and Mooroopna in country Victoria (Andrews 2008), and in Aboriginal English styles in Western Australia, which commonly retains or innovates traditional conceptualisations, as observed in children’s narrative practices by Malcolm and Sharifian (2002). Studies of baby talk registers in traditional languages have also typically found patterns of phonological reduction, lexical and structural simplification, and repetition (Jones and Meakins 2013; Laughren 1984; Lowell et al. 1996; Machbirrbirr 1990; Turpin et al. 2014). Child-directed speech to older children in traditional languages has been investigated at Galiwin’ku (Lowell et al. 1996). Reeders (2008) analyses the collaborative construction of knowledge in learning interactions between adult and child Djambarrpuyngu speakers in Northeast Arnhem Land. To co-construct knowledge with children, adults used repetition, listing and modelled rules for contribution and recaps that affirm consensus about contributions. In contrast to frequent claims in the research that questions are avoided in Indigenous speech pragmatics, Reeders found that both adults and children asked questions, though not all questions are expected to be answered. However, speech events, such as statements followed by a tag, triggered responses. The speech directed towards young children (2–5 years of age) in contact language settings has been the focus of further studies. Moses and Yallop (2008) examined question routines in adult-child interactions in the Kimberly community of Yakanarra, finding, similarly to Reeders, a high volume of questions but different speech pragmatics in interactions than those typically reported in Standard English. Disbray (2008) analysed interactions during joint story construction among Wumpurrarni English speakers in Tennant Creek and found that as children mature, caregivers increasingly encouraged co-construction. Further studies in these communities explore the use of features of the traditional languages in adult-child interactions (Disbray and

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Wigglesworth 2008; Morrison and Disbray 2008) and conversational load (Vaughan et al. 2015). They reveal diversity in caregiver speech styles in terms of the amount and length of talk but shared patterns of traditional language insertional code-switching (in Walmajarri in Yakanarra and Warumungu in Tennant Creek). Insertions include common nouns, some directionals and verbs, and in Wumpurrarni English some semantic case marking sourced from Warumungu. This input leads to the production of traditional language tokens by children, which constitutes evidence of language maintenance practices in local contact languages (Morrison and Disbray 2008). Investigations of children’s understanding of lexical items from their local traditional languages (Meakins and Wigglesworth 2013; Loakes et al. 2012) using experiment and testing found children’s knowledge to increase with age and the frequency with which the items appeared in the contact language, demonstrating the importance of maintaining some access to the traditional language.

F irst-Language Acquisition and Child Language Development Acquisition studies in two polysynthetic1 traditional languages have contributed cross-linguistic insight. Forshaw’s (2016) study of five children’s acquisition at Wadeye in the Northern Territory traced the acquisition of the complex verbal system by young children. They were aged between the ages of one year nine months and four years three months at the beginning of a two-year data collection (Language Acquisition in Murrinhpatha Project, LAMP; cf. Kelly et  al. 2015a). In Murrinhpatha, verb stems are constructed of two distinct parts: a classifier stem that carries extensive grammatical information and the lexical stem that shows the meaning. This results in long and complex verbs, which pose understandable challenges to the language-acquiring child. Indeed, Forshaw (2016) found the system was too complex to allow for abstract rule-based acquisition of the patterns, but also too large to rely on rote learning of each marked form. Rather, Forshaw posits that children begin by ‘using a small core of rote learned inflected forms and gradually expand verb paradigms along predictable pathways relying on low level analogy and semi-regular patterns of inflection’ (2016, p. iii). In Central Australia at Yuendumu, Edith Bavin and Tim Shopen investigated how Warlpiri children aged three–seven years become social communicators (Bavin 1991; Bavin and Shopen 1991) and acquire the forms and


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structures of this nominally complex ergative-absolutive language (Bavin 1992, 2013). Using a range of experimental approaches, they examined the development of case frame and ergative marking (Bavin 2013; Bavin and Shopen 1985, 1989), in which ellipsis of subjects and objects is common, and knowledge of the verb’s semantics and case frame allows interpretation (Bavin 2000). They show a long developmental trajectory, as children must learn and operationalise interrelated systems of verbal semantics, case frames, along with high levels of allomorphy and homophony, optional case marking for first- and second-person singular pronouns, free word order, and frequent argument ellipsis. ‘The child must have a certain amount of input in order to make generalizations about the use of case markings’, and this takes time (Bavin and Shopen 1985, p. 609). More recently, O’Shannessy has investigated the role of children in linguistic innovation and later child language development among children in another Warlpiri community, Lajamanu, where a new mixed language known as Light Warlpiri has emerged. Its nominal structure is from Warlpiri, its lexicon from Kriol/English and Warlpiri, and it has an innovated auxiliary system which expresses information about tense and subject. Children are central to O’Shannessy’s account of the emergence of Light Warlpiri. This account shows that children heard extensive code-switching in the language input to them, which they received as one code. Over time, they reanalysed, regularised, innovated, and conventionalised the input to create a new code. Through this, speakers express their distinctive geographic and generational identity. Children and young adults demonstrate subtle and masterful linguistic and sociolinguistic awareness in their code choices (O’Shannessy 2013, 2015), and they acquire both Light Warlpiri and Warlpiri, with the codes separated by age nine (2008, p. 279). Further studies in contact language settings have investigated specific aspects of children’s first language development. Meakins and Algy  (2016) devised a task to gauge Gurindji Kriol speaking children’s knowledge of cardinal expressions, a complex yet central lexical domain in traditional Gurindji. Children gave significantly more correct responses on the east/west axis which suggests continuing attention to geocentric cues but fewer correct responses than adults overall, revealing a transformation in the expression of spatial relations. In a study of child discourse development in Wumpurrarni English, Disbray (2016a) looked at the ways that children aged between 5 and 13 years maintained and switched reference to characters to structure discourse in narrations of a picture story prompt (the Frog Story, cf. Berman and Slobin 1994b), revealing developmental and language-specific findings. There was a clear developmental change in children’s ability to maintain the same strategy

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irrespective of the changing referential load of the story, with some eight-year-­ olds and children aged ten and over managing this aspect of the task at adult levels. A subset of the narrations was performed in children’s Standard English, which is a second dialect/variety. Results here showed this posed an additional cognitive load. The discourse strategies used in the English narrations were less mature than the productions in Wumpurrarni English by like-aged children. With respect to language-specific features, adults and accomplished child narrators frequently used full lexical nouns to maintain reference, as repetition and recasting are valued in narration in this variety. Children’s language practices in peer interaction have been examined in both contact and traditional language settings. Eickelkamp (2008a, 2008b), Ellis et al. (2017) and Kral and Ellis (2008) have paid particular attention to the  multimodal games  that children in western desert settings play. These include sand storytelling, a practice of inscribing symbols on the ground— often desert iconographic symbols common in traditional body and contemporary fine art—which accompany the unfolding narrative. They argue that these practices in verbal arts provide children the opportunity to imagine and explore inner lives and to socialise, explore, reproduce, and innovate social identities and knowledge. Kral and Ellis (2008) also observe the use of alphabetic symbols in sand storytelling and explore literacy social practices in Ngaanyatjarra children’s lives. Dixon (2015) used discourse analysis methods to investigate children’s peer interactions at Murray Downs in northern Central Australia. Children speak a contact variety, Alyawarr English. In a joint play session with toys, a group of girls between five and eight years of age negotiate and establish a set of rules for entitlement to and ownership of the objects of play. Expressions of ownership and entitlement comprise of set of verbal, intonational, and gestural moves, with imperatives used as a frequent means of assertion. Other means include membership categorisation phrases like ‘I’m all the grey ones’ to support a claim for a specific toy.

Youth and Language Practices The language and language practices of youth in Indigenous Australia are important sites of study due to the role children and youth play in language innovation. New styles and varieties may emerge among young speakers, and these can mature and stabilise with their speakers and become the code of a generational cohort, passed on to and innovated by their children (McConvell 2008; reference to Gurindji Kriol and other contemporary varieties including


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Dhuwaya, cf. Amery 1993; Meakins 2008; O’Shannessy 2013). These processes, both social and linguistic, have been most extensively described in Carmel O’Shannessy’s work on Light Warlpiri (2015, in particular). The following studies focus on teens rather than children. Langlois (2004, 2006) has described wordplay practices and linguistic features in an innovative youth lect among Pitjantjatjara teens at Areyonga in Central Australia. These young speakers draw on resources from Pitjantjatjara and some from English to create their distinct style. They borrow English words, but unlike speakers in other age groups, their borrowing retains English sounds, giving their style a distinct sound. There is simplification to case marking allomorphy and changes in the distribution of preferred word order, with subject-verb-object patterns more frequent in teenage speech than Traditional Pitjantjatjara. Young teenage girls also have an in-group speech style they call ‘short-way language’. Based on a systematic wordplay, it is distinct from the speech of older and younger generations and somewhat incomprehensible to them. The teens drop the first syllable of words and also the first part of reduplications. The monosyllabic words that result have a long vowel, and so the general principle of the Pitjantjatjara sound system that requires a word to have two syllables or sound parts is upheld. Short-way language is illustrated below (Langlois 2006, p. 186): Traditional

Teenager Pitjantjatjara

kutjara maku miita-miita

Tjara Kuu Taa

‘two’ ‘witchetty grub’ ‘spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend’

Langlois (2004, p. 182) observes that: the small size of the Pitjantjatjara population, and its lack of political and economic power, minimise its chances of survival, especially where, historically speaking, assimilation has been synonymous with monolingualism. However, language maintenance is also linked to people’s attitudes to their language.

A continued strong sense of Pitjantjatjara identity across generations and the limited need to use English in daily life at Areyonga may provide a buffer from excessive pressure on the fragile bilingualism that exists in this remote community, and help sustain support for the ongoing maintenance of (contemporary and traditional) Pitjantjatjara language use. Mansfield’s (2014) detailed sociolinguistic account of the culture and speech style or slang of young men (‘kigay’) at Wadeye describes linguistic and sociolinguistic features that bear some resemblance to those observed in

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Teenage Pitjantjatjara. However, the innovative use of phrasal verb constructions instead of the polysynthetic verb, the merging of morphological tense-­ aspect categories and the reordering, and variable absence, of inflectional morphology in the polysynthetic verb (p. 4) are specific to the youth style in this highly complex language. Like young Pitjantjatjara people, young men in Wadeye use English/Kriol-derived lexicon integrated into Murrinhpatha phonology in various ways. Considering the source and import of such borrowing, Mansfield (p. 471) writes: [T]his does not reflect linguistic or cultural contact with mainstream Australia, or at least not in the sense of face-to-face, social interaction. Rather, it reflects a mediated engagement with national and global cultural artefacts [predominately relating to action movies, metal music and Australian rules football] discoverable on television, CDs, and increasingly via mobile phones. For example, kigay were able to inform me that their core subcultural term ku spidi, meaning the heavy metal band one affiliates to as a group or private totem, derives from the subgenre label “speed metal”, showing that this quite specialized term was at some point acquired, before being given a local semantic twist. There are many other cases of borrowed vocabulary being semantically modified to create in-­ group terms that belong neither to traditional MP, nor to whitefellas, but to the kigay.

The importance of new semiotic and multimodal practices mediated by technology uptake and use among young Indigenous people in remote Australia is explored in work by Kral, Ellis, and colleagues (Carew et al. 2015; Kral and Ellis in press; Kral and Schwab 2012). Kral and Ellis (in press) observe that social media and digital communication technologies provide opportunities to develop communicative competence, often with a blurring of the b­ oundaries between speech and writing. Songwriting and music recording, film-­making, language documentation, and subtitling, as well as tagging and annotating in digital heritage archives enable such new modes of cultural production. Digital technologies for languages teaching and learning are gradually finding their way into education settings, discussed next as we move on to consider child language practices in schools.

Language Practices in Schools A good deal of the literature dedicated to Indigenous children and their languages in education settings focuses on matters of policy and education infrastructure and how these tackle, meet, or fail different language teaching and


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learning aims. Recognition of, and access to, traditional languages in education are significant to many Indigenous people in Australia as a means of recognising first nations’ languages and speakers’ rights to learn, reclaim, transmit, and maintain these. Mismatches between policy rhetoric supportive of traditional languages in education on the one hand, and a lack of access by Aboriginal children to instruction on and in their home and/or heritage languages in schools, have received attention (Disbray 2015, 2016b; McKay 2011; Truscott and Malcolm 2010). Research has documented first/heritage language teaching and learning in enrichment, revitalisation, reclamation, and renewal settings for Indigenous learners and non-Indigenous second language learners. Three edited volumes have been dedicated to exploring Aboriginal language programmes in first-­ language, heritage, and revitalisation programmes, providing rich accounts of programme establishment, pedagogy, curriculum, and resource development (Hartman and Henderson 1994; Hobson et  al. 2010; Devlin et  al. 2017). Recently, a National Curriculum Framework was released to support teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages as first, heritage, and second languages. The impacts of this are yet to be seen. Electronic resources designed to document, teach, and learn Indigenous languages have proliferated, particularly in language revitalisation contexts and are likely to continue to do so with the introduction of the National Curriculum. Resources include interactive dictionaries; word, or sound lists; phrase books; flash cards; interactive whiteboard resources; mobile/tablet apps wordlists dictionaries, or learning games; ebooks and other objects (First Languages Australia 2014). Their uptake and efficacy in school settings and their impact on child language practices warrant research and evaluation. A further area is the use of student’s first language as a medium of instruction, in bilingual or bi-dialectal programmes. Particular attention has been paid to the Northern Territory Bilingual Education programme, which sought to provide initial education and literacy development in first languages, in overwhelmingly traditional language-speaking communities, with staged development of and transfer to English as the main language of instruction (cf. Devlin et al. 2017). This ambitious programme operated in 25 remote Northern Territory schools between 1973 and 2008, when policy changes effectively closed it down (Devlin 2009; Disbray 2014; Simpson et al. 2009). In addition to bilingual skills development among students, some key achievements of the programme were the development of local curriculum (Christie 2017; Disbray and Devlin 2017; Disbray and Martin 2018; Disbray and O’Shannessy 2017; Morales et al. 2018) and the large literature in Aboriginal languages it produced (Christie et al. 2014), now publicly available on the

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Living Archive of Australian Languages.2 Changes in policy mean that currently only five schools operate bilingual programmes, though new policy and programme documents are in development in the Northern Territory in response to the introduction of Australian languages in the Australian Curriculum. The invisibility of contact languages in policy and pedagogy has been the topic of further analysis (McIntosh et al. 2012), with research, policy analysis, and professional learning programmes dedicated to addressing the specific English language learning needs of contact language-speaking students (Angelo 2013b; Angelo and Carter 2015; Dixon 2013; Dixon and Angelo 2014; Government of Western Australia 2012; Malcolm 2011, among further publications). The use of a high-stakes standardised instrument, the National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), administered annually to children across Australia for assessing English literacy and numeracy development has been shown to be inappropriate for assessing Indigenous children from either traditional language backgrounds or from the contact language backgrounds examined (Angelo 2013a; Wigglesworth et al. 2011). A limited number of studies have investigated English language teaching and learning for students who speak new or traditional Indigenous languages as their first language(s). In many communities, the learning context is very much a foreign-language-learning context, as the language of classroom instruction, SAE, is not spoken among classmates, their families, or as the everyday language of communication in the (immediate) community. New languages, such as Aboriginal English and creole varieties and their speakers’ second language/dialect learning needs are often completely unrecognised. These characteristics are very different to the second-language-learning experience of migrant and refugee students. Such learners are generally immersed in the second-language speech community outside of their homes, and the languages involved and the learning context are relatively well understood. Studies of language practices in schools provide evidence and justification for attention to language and education policy and practice. Moses and Wigglesworth (2008) explore dysfunctional classroom interactions as Alyawarr-English-speaking students struggle to guess the rules of the communication game in their teacher’s information elicitation routine and focus on the challenges faced by the teacher in seeking to understand and teach these students. This study resonates with previous investigations into classroom communication (Christie and Harris 1985; Gardner and Mushin 2016; Lowell and Devlin 1999; Malcolm et al. 2003). With respect to English as an additional language learning, Kenny (2015) investigated the oral English language production of Pintupi-Luritja speaking


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children in Central Australia. The children were around six years of age, with only one or two years of English language tuition in school. Kenny examined mean length of utterance and the order of acquisition of several grammatical morphemes. He found the children to be in the early stages of English language learning, with (no) evidence of stable mastery of any of the features examined. The crucial finding of the study was the mismatch between the language-learning trajectory of the students and the proscribed language progression and standards set by certain Education Department documents. A further study of English language development examined the development and use of SAE determiners (Fraser et al. 2018). Determiners are interesting as their function and distribution do not wholly overlap in Australian contact languages and SAE. The study of six children in a majority Aboriginal school in regional Queensland, whose home language is a Queensland Aboriginal English variety, spanned three years. It set out to investigate whether the frequency of SAE determiners in the children’s production increased over time and if frequency varied under certain conditions such as in interactions with the teacher, or in curriculum content focussed activities as compared to interactions with peers. Overall, Fraser et al. found the proportion of SAE and non-SAE article and demonstrative productions remained relatively steady over the three years. Children did use SAE forms more in literacy activities but did not appear to incorporate this use into a growing awareness of the distinct languages around them or their more general English language competency. The authors conclude that: simply applying mainstream, best-practice literacy teaching that assumes students are already proficient in SAE did not lead to any measurable language learning […] young speakers of Aboriginal English varieties [need] to be actively supported throughout their schooling to learn the standard variety used in their classrooms for learning and assessment. (pp. 261–262)

In a further paper, Dixon (2018) has explored bi-dialectal development of Alyawarr English and SAE in the home and school language productions of young children at Murray Downs in the Northern Territory. Dixon examines several potentially ‘camouflaged’ language features, those which involve the same or similar word form, but which have subtly different functions in related languages. Such features are often overlooked by teachers and learners alike in school contexts, which do not attend to the specific additional dialect-­ learning needs of speakers of contact languages. Rich domains for such features in the children’s speech include aspectual morphology,3 transitive marking,4 and subject pronouns. Her findings show that not all grammatical features are created equal in terms of their potential to be camouflaged forms, and in terms of their ‘learnability’.

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The use of translanguaging by bilingual and multilingual children, particularly in the classroom, has been a recent focus of investigation. The term itself (García 2011; García and Li Wei 2014) refers to speaker’s ability to draw on all of their linguistic repertoire as ‘an integrated system’ (Canagarajah 2011, p. 401). Translanguaging theorists in the education sphere emphasise the use of ‘speakers’’ construction and the use of original and complex interrelated discursive practices that cannot be easily assigned to one or another traditional definition of a language but that make up the speakers’ complete language repertoire’ (García and Li Wei 2014: p.  22) and contrast this with established conceptualisations of ‘code-switching’. Translanguaging in classrooms—that is, children using all the linguistic resources available to them— has now been reported in a considerable number of studies (e.g. Creese and Blackledge 2010, 2015; Palmer et  al. 2014), including those involving Australian Indigenous children (Poetsch 2018; Wilson et al. 2018). Poetsch’s (2018) analysis of emerging Arrernte-English bilingual children’s language practices in a classroom at Santa Teresa demonstrates how students make full use of their languages throughout a math lesson. In this context, she argues that translanguaging is the children’s natural linguistic behaviour. While in this study She found that the students provided each other with support in understanding the learning activities in the classroom, and she points out that if the teacher was bilingual, and could translanguage where necessary, it would ‘ensure efficient learning and effective development of L1 and L2 vocabulary and constructions relevant to the topic and concepts in any given lesson’ (Poetsch 2018, p. 165). Finally, in a detailed study of two Torres Strait Islander children in a preschool setting, Wilson et al. (2018) also found that the children drew extensively on their multilingual repertoire, which consisted of Modern Tiwi, English, and Kriol; these authors argued, however, that the children did not (at least at this stage) appear to have a dominant matrix language as previously described in bilingual contexts by Myers-Scotton and Jake (1995, 2000). While it is difficult to predict where the youngsters will end up in terms of their language use, the patterns pointed out in this paper bear considerable similarity to those explored and discussed in the context of translanguaging behaviour.

Conclusion: Future Directions This chapter has sought to provide a rigorous overview of the research and research directions on Indigenous child language practices in Australia. While this research has grown in recent years, many gaps remain. Systematic atten-


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tion has been paid to the acquisition of only two traditional languages. The development of and language practices in contemporary varieties, mixed languages, Aboriginal Englishes, and creole varieties have been the focus of recent studies. Many of these varieties remain undescribed, but it is increasingly clear that each is locally distinct to its speech community. Schools are an important site for language teaching, learning, and maintenance efforts; however, more information about home and community language practices are required to appraise and predict how these efforts impact on language development and use by future generations (cf. Hinton 2013). And new developments in language teaching policy and practice, such as the release of a National Curriculum document and the rise of digital language teaching technologies in classrooms, also warrant attention. The development of language assessment tools and practices, such as those reported in Meakins and Wigglesworth (2013) and Loakes et al. (2012), will additionally be needed. Few studies have investigated language practices in schools or second-­ language/dialect development in English in or out of school, though the ­studies from the volume by Wigglesworth et al. (2018), in particular, make a strong start on this programme. Significant attention has been directed to the high rates of hearing loss commonly due to otitis media among Indigenous children (Galloway 2008; Jervis-Bardy et  al. 2014; Cameron et  al. 2014), though empirical research into its impact on first or additional language development has been limited (although see Walker and Wigglesworth 2001; Verdon and McLeod 2015; Timms et al. 2014). In this chapter, we have referenced rather than reviewed the literature on language revitalisation programmes. As the public and policy discourses are increasingly acknowledging the national value of Australian Indigenous languages and heritage, such programmes are also providing Aboriginal children (and adults) with the opportunity to engage with and learn their traditional languages, an opportunity extended to many non-Aboriginal children. The Australian Curriculum Framework of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages may see this increase. This area warrants a chapter in its own right and future research attention. As we have shown in the foregoing discussions, the language repertoires of Australian Indigenous children and their ecologies are both varied and dynamic. Language shift, emergence, and change are happening at rapid rates. Revitalisation and renewal appear to be slower processes but also change the national ecology. At the same time, an increasing research focus on how children acquire still vital Aboriginal languages and the ways in which children are reinventing and changing language will provide us with unique insights which will contribute to both our theoretical understanding of language acquisition and to the potential universals entailed.

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Acknowledgements  The paucity of Indigenous researchers investigating child language practices represents a crucial shortfall, both in terms of the quality and type of such work from an insider’s perspective of someone with first language skills and of decolonising methodologies (Smith 1999). The studies reported here bear out the importance of scholarship and collaboration with Indigenous investigators. These studies reviewed could not have been carried out without the input of the Indigenous researchers who participated in the fieldwork, data collection, data analysis, and paper writing. Those named in this chapter are Julie Andrews, Cassandra Algy, Apri Campbell, Lizzie Ellis, Gurrimangu, Gordon Machbirrbirr, Barbara Martin, Betty Morrison, Nyomba, Katrina Tjitayi, and Yingi. While what has been achieved to date is limited, without their input, and that of others not named, it would be negligible.

Notes 1. Polysynthetic languages are typified by multiple morphemes constituting a word so that a whole sentence can be a single word. 2. 3. Aspect of a verb indicates how an action, event, or state is marked in relation to time, for example, ‘she is running’ (progressive) versus ‘she was running’ (past progressive) or ‘she has run’ (present perfect) versus ‘she had run’ (past perfect). 4. Transitive verbs (e.g. to want) require an object whereas intransitive verbs do not.

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