Language Policy and Planning: The Nature and Goals of a Scholarly Tradition With Multiple Roots and Multiple Functions

Dates :
Lundi 20 novembre 2017 - 10:00 - 12:00
Lieu :
Inalco -Maison de la recherche - Salons d'honneur - 2 rue de Lille 75007 PARIS

A l'occasion de son séjour au SeDyL, Thomas Ricento (University of Calgary) donnera une conférence dans les Salons de l'Inalco -  2, rue de Lille,

le lundi 20 novembre (10h00-12h00) sur le thème :

Language Policy and Planning: The Nature and Goals of a Scholarly
Tradition With Multiple Roots and Multiple Functions

Toutes les personnes intéressées sont les bienvenues.


While it is tempting to characterize LPP as sub-discipline of
sociolinguistics, or in keeping with the current and ubiquitous term, an
inter-discipline (Graff, 2015), such designations tend to break down for
various reasons. The most fundamental problem in placing or locating LPP
within particular academic niches is the lack of shared agreement on the
goals of research or the nature of the field; in plain terms, the ‘it’
that we are ‘studying’, the ‘why’ we are studying ‘it’, and the ‘how’ our
findings will make a difference in the world are disparate and
ill-defined (if defined at all in our published research). The public,
generally, can understand the reasons for conducting research to find
cures for deadly diseases, for developing cheaper and cleaner sources of
energy, even for alleviating poverty in the poorest nations (even though
they might oppose paying for such research or question the likelihood
that such research will lead to positive social outcomes). Yet, if we
were to ask that same public to identify ‘language problems’ that might
be ameliorated or solved by publicly-funded research, they would likely
not immediately understand the question and would require lengthy
explanations that would inevitably lead to a discussion on values, norms,
and personal beliefs and prejudices (‘Don’t tell me I need to learn more
languages! The one I speak is just fine, thank you!’ Or, ‘Language is a
private matter, except when it comes to education, etc.’, or ‘My English
is not that good, especially the grammar’, etc.). In the end, what ‘we’
do as researchers/scholars is analyze, describe, assess, and
conceptualize conditions of living where language is an important factor
by selecting appropriate and relevant ideas, approaches, theories,
concepts, and methods from different fields or disciplines. As Graff
(2015: 5) notes, ‘Those choices, whether successful or not, influence
central questions and problems…Like disciplines, interdisciplines are
diverse in paths, locations, relationships to disciplines, organization
and institutionalization.” I am not arguing for a ‘narrowing’ or
reduction of methodological or theoretical approaches or ‘paths’ to
enhance the (inter)disciplinary and institutional ‘clout’ of LPP in order
to gain more funding or greater academic visibility and prestige; that
seems to me to be contrary to the rich scholarly tradition of LPP (see
Ricento, 2016: 1-21 for an extended discussion). The challenge, as I see
it, if our work is to have any broad impact on public consciousness, is
to clearly identify our values and goals as change agents and be clearer
on why we conduct research and why we think our work, our ideas, our
findings, and the policies we advocate serve the common good, as best we
understand it. In this talk, I will describe the challenges and benefits
of maintaining the highest ethical standards in research while advocating
for language policies that are consistent with our most profound moral
commitments to equality, fairness, and societal inclusion.

Graff, H. (2015). Undisciplining knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Ricento, T. (2016). General introduction. In T. Ricento (ed.), Language
policy and planning: Critical concepts in linguistics, Volume I, (pp.
1-21). New York: Routledge.
Equipe de recherche :