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BA Linguistics and Japanese

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Language Policy and Planning

Unit code LELA30751
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Linguistics & English Language
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course introduces students to a range of approaches within the field of language policy and planning in various settings. We will examine various notions of what language policy consists of, how it operates and its historical roots, focusing on three main components of language policy and planning: (1) actual practice, (2) beliefs and values and (3) language management. Different institutional frameworks (such as education, local, national and international governance) as well as bottom-up and top-down approaches to language policy and planning will be critically discussed drawing examples from a range of micro and macro contexts. Throughout the course students will develop a critical understanding of the relationship between language rights, nationalism, standardisation, ideology, language endangerment and revitalisation. This course overlaps in content with LELA30292 Language Contact and LELA31072 Language and Mediality.


Students will be able to address questions such as:

  • How/why have policies emerged in various contexts?
  • How have approaches to language policy and planning changed over time?
  • What are the different ways in which language planning can take shape?
  • How do attitudes and ideologies impact upon language behaviour?
  • How do policies account for (or fail to account for) language rights?
  • How do media facilitate change in language use in society?
  • In what ways does language policymaking affect the teaching and learning of languages?
  • What are the differences between instrumental and integrative motivations in language planning?
  • How do language-as-right and language-as-resource orientations in language planning impact on endangered languages?
  • How do language policies help to determine which language variety is sanctioned for use in society?
  • How can the “success” of a language policy be established?


Lecture 1: What is Language Policy & Planning?

Lecture 2: The emergence of standard languages

Lecture 3: Language standardisation

Lecture 4: Language planning in ex-colonies

Lecture 5: Language and education policy

Lecture 6: Language attitudes and ideologies

Lecture 7: Language endangerment and revitalisation

Lecture 8: Linguistic rights

Lecture 9: Language and globalisation

Lecture 10: Case study - language policy for Romani

Lecture 11: Revision and essay writing

Teaching and learning methods

  • 1 weekly 2 hours lecture
  • 1 weekly 1 hour seminar
  • Blackboard discussion forum
  • Revision materials made available on Blackboard

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:
  • Identify and apply appropriate methodological approaches to complex datasets 
  • Understand the relevance of language policy research within the field of socio-linguistics
  • Critically understand policies in international contexts
  • Understand the social, cultural and ideological properties of language planning

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:
  • Engage in independent reflection and enquiry
  • Engage in the discussion and critical evaluation of theories and approaches within this area
  • Critically evaluate empirical claims in different contexts by drawing on theory and methods
  • Use empirical evidence to support synthetic conclusions and interpretations

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:
  • Extrapolate patterns from complex data sets and (where necessary) propose theories of social and linguistic behaviour to account for them 
  • Critically analyse and evaluate language policies and planning efforts
  • Undertake analyses of language policy and planning and communicate findings to a diverse audience
  • Apply findings of academic research to practical issues and problems

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:
  • Understand issues of citizenship and rights and how these pertain to language policy and planning
  • Draw on academic research to make effective practical recommendations for policy 
  • Investigate how considerations of language policy are applicable to teaching and learning 
  • Use the theories and methods of language policy, planning, and attitudes in other areas of socio-linguistic research

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The course content encourages students to critically reflect upon the world outside the university thereby providing confidence to use academic research in a variety of settings. The focus on policies and their implementation will be particularly useful in a range of careers and allow students to evaluate claims made about the promotion of linguistic rights and also to present policy analysis in a clear, accurate and accessible manner.
The course will have particular benefits for any student interested in pursuing a career which involves teaching and learning, diversity management, intercultural communication and community cohesion. The course will also provide key skills in critical analysis, dissemination of information to specialist (but non-academic) audiences and therefore be of value for a range of career paths.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Coursework 1: 4 definition questions on key concepts introduced during the first half of the course


2,000 words


Coursework 2: review essay evaluating a case of language policy/planning


3,000 words




Assessment task





Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

oral feedback during seminars


written feedback via TurnitIn on written assignments


additional one-to-one feedback during consultation hours



Recommended reading

Fishman, J. A. (2006) Language loyalty, language planning and language revitalization. Multilingual Matters.

Haugen, E. (1966) Dialect, Language, Nation. American anthropologist, 68, 922-935.

Haugen, E. (1972) National and international languages. IN Haugen, E. (Ed.) The Ecology of Language. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Kaplan, R. B. & Baldauf, R. B. (1997) Language planning from practice to theory. Clavedon: Multilingual Matters.

Koenig, M. & de Varennes, F. (Eds.) (2001) Lesser used languages and the law in Europe. IJMS: International Journal on Multicultural Societies 3:1, UNESCO

Matras, Y. (2004) The future of Romani: toward a policy of linguistic pluralism. Roma Rights Quarterly, 1:31-44

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & Phillipson, R. (1995) Linguistic human rights: overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wright, S. (2004) Language policy and language planning. From nationalism to globalisation. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Daniele Leggio Unit coordinator

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