Language policy and planning

Dennis Ager*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Unfettered freedom to do what we like with our words: There has long been a naive and romantic belief that in Britain language, like culture, is a simple reflection of a mysterious social consensus nonetheless based on a robust, democratic, individualism which rejects outside influences. ‘We've ruled ourselves and allowed the natural forces of change to be curbed only loosely by general dogma and prejudice’ (John Simpson in The Guardian, 27 December 1995); ‘It is that unfettered freedom to do what we damn well like with our words that is the glory of English’ (Elmes 2000:106). Taken to the extreme, it is suggested that British English has a life independent of British society. It is my belief that such reification of language is dubious; that, as in most countries, there has long been control and management of language and particularly of language behaviour; and that language control by authority, much of it connected to the state, continues. This chapter will briefly discuss a dozen examples of language policy and planning (henceforth LPP) occurring mainly over the 25 years from 1975 to 2000 in the British Isles, or in the United Kingdom unless Ireland is specified. Everybody agrees with Saussure (1916) that language change, and language behaviour more generally, are directly affected by society. Ever since Labov's (1966) studies of covariation in New York City, and Trudgill's (1974) work on Norwich, sociolinguistic studies have tracked covariation between dependent linguistic variables (such as h-dropping) and independent social variables (such as class).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage in the British Isles
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter23
Pages377-400
Number of pages24
Volume9780521791502
ISBN (Print)9780511620782, 9780521791502
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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language policy
language behavior
planning
language
reification
language change
dogma
individualism
sociolinguistics
prejudice
Ireland
linguistics
management
Society

Cite this

Ager, D. (2007). Language policy and planning. In Language in the British Isles (Vol. 9780521791502, pp. 377-400). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.025
Ager, Dennis. / Language policy and planning. Language in the British Isles. Vol. 9780521791502 Cambridge University Press, 2007. pp. 377-400
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Ager, D 2007, Language policy and planning. in Language in the British Isles. vol. 9780521791502, Cambridge University Press, pp. 377-400. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.025

Language policy and planning. / Ager, Dennis.

Language in the British Isles. Vol. 9780521791502 Cambridge University Press, 2007. p. 377-400.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Ager D. Language policy and planning. In Language in the British Isles. Vol. 9780521791502. Cambridge University Press. 2007. p. 377-400 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620782.025