Policy Activity for Heritage Languages [chapter]

Joseph Lo Bianco
2017 Heritage Language Education  
Introduction Most writing on language maintenance and language shift, as well as on heritage language, uses the conceptual apparatus of sociolinguistics, and is located under the category Language in Society. As such it is linked to analysis and data about language use patterns, code variation, endogamous and exogamous marriage, bilingualism and parenting, and diglossia and the identity-language correlations, with social psychological perspectives sometimes informing the sociolinguistic
more » ... olinguistic orientation. Language policy and planning theory, which straddles applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, is sometimes drawn on as an informing sub-discipline. The effect is that heritage languages are typically discussed from perspectives informed by applied and socially influenced linguistics, both rather code-centered, as well as by language policy and planning, which also reveals the influence of code-based language sciences. Less common are analyses of how language maintenance issues are constructed, represented and positioned in political discourse, i.e., discursive representation, and explorations of how the policy sciences could contribute to enhancing the prospects for the intergenerational retention of heritage languages. This latter approach is adopted here, hence the present discussion concerns how policy documents and policy discourses characterize the interests and intended policy treatments towards languages of minority communities ("heritage" or "community" languages, of both indigenous and recent immigrant origin) in societies where these languages do not have active territory-based political separatism claims. This is a discussion, then, of how heritage languages are represented in texts that announce public policy and the desirability of heritage language support. My examples are drawn from recent developments in Scotland and Australia. Both share English as the powerful other language in relation to which advocacy responds, thereby adding problems of global modernity to the challenges of dealing with intra-national questions of identity and loyalty that face all minority language advocacy. Scotland is particularly interesting because political devolution in the UK in 1997 has produced a sense of national revival, and a kind of state-making practice is in evidence there. The Australian section discusses how with the post-Second World War immigration program language policy was undertaken in the context of new citizenship created in 1948, extended to indigenous people from 1967, and culminated in the permitting of dual citizenship from 2002. Each of these liberalizing moves in formal citizenship connects to a policy moment and offers insights into how "heritage" itself is construed as a cultural commodity. Previous work on policy representation for heritage languages has discussed the United States (Lo
doi:10.4324/9781315092997-5 fatcat:vpawnksfd5b7flmefbcbbzfdby