Language Endangerment: Language Policy and Planning

26 July 2013

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Registrations are now closed


Mari Jones (Department of French/Peterhouse, University of Cambridge)
Christopher Connolly (
Peterhouse, University of Cambridge)

Plenary Speaker

Professor Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago)


Language policy is where linguistics meets politics. Linguistic legislation serves as a medium through which power is negotiated between different speech communities within a given society. Where varieties are endangered, language policy often takes the form of specific ideologies that underlie language planning strategies. As such, its goals may be specific and practical in nature, such as orthographic reform, or more emblematic, such as measures for the promotion and protection of vulnerable languages. However, language policy issues are imbued with a powerful symbolism that is often linked to questions of identity, with the suppression or failure to recognize and support a given endangered variety representing a refusal to grant a ‘voice’ to the corresponding ethnocultural community. This conference will consider how and whether the interface between people, politics and language can affect the fortunes of the endangered linguistic varieties involved. Can policy really alter linguistic behaviour, or does it merely ratify changes already underway within the speech community? Do governments have a moral obligation to support endangered languages? Should linguists play a role in shaping language policy and, if so, what should that role be? When policy decisions are at odds with the will of the speech community, which will triumph?



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH),  University of Cambridge, the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) and Cambridge University Press

Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

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Administrative assistance:



Location : CRASSH, SG1&2 and S2                        

Date : 26 July 2013



9.15 - 9.30

Welcome and Introduction (SG1)

9.30 - 11.00

'Top-Down' Policies I (SG1)

  • Poia Rewi (Otago) & Rawina Higgins (Victoria): When planning and policy don’t fit the cultural paradigm, take it to the Tribunal – The Aotearoa/New Zealand experience
  • Julia Sallabank (SOAS): Language ideologies, practices and policies in New Caledonia
  • Ya-ling Chang (Taiwan): Linguistic Landscape in Taiwanese Indigenous Communities

Language Legislation I (SG2)

  • James McLellan (Brunei Darussalam):
    Maintaining and revitalizing Borneo indigenous minority languages: Comparing top-down and community-based policy initiatives and strategies
  • Ruth Kircher (Liverpool Hope):
    Saving French by teaching English: Language attitudes in Quebec and their implications for acquisition planning
  • Arieh Sherris & Jill Robbins (Columbia):
    Miccosukee Language Revitalization: Policy, Oracy, and Teacher Appraisal

Language Policy & Orthography (S2)

  • Carlo Ritchie (Sydney):
    The role of orthographies in language conservation
  • Sebastian Bednarowicz (Kazimierz Wielki University, Poland):
    Standardization of the Turoyo Language by Using the Latin Alphabet: Does it Make Sense?
  • Jonathan Kasstan (Kent): Towards a pan-regional orthography for obsolescent Francoprovençal

11.00 - 11.30 


11.30 - 13.00

Language Legislation II (SG1)

  • Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska (Polish Academy of Sciences): Language Policy versus the needs of young Kashubs
  • Claudia Soria (CNR-ILC):
    You can speak it now: assessing the effect of official recognition on the vitality of minority languages
  • Lorena Fontaine (Winnipeg): The Life of Aboriginal peoples Comes from our Languages:  Indigenous Language Rights in Canada

Language Policy and Education I (SG2)

  • Andrew James Davies & Prysor Mason Davies (Aberystwyth):
    Perceptions and attitudes amongst bilingual post-16 students in Wales towards Welsh-medium study
  • Fabienne Goalabré (Highlands and Islands):
    Language policy successes without the expected impact on language revitalization: Immersion education in Brittany and in the Western Isles of Scotland
  • Halyna Matsyuk (Lviv): Empowered politicians, society and languages: interplay in post-Soviet Ukraine

'Top-Down' Policies II

  • Joseph Cru (Newcastle):
    Exploring grassroots efforts to revitalize Yucatec Maya in Mexico
  • Stuart Dunmore (Edinburgh): Planning for the future of an endangered language: Gaelic-medium education in Scotland

13.00 - 14.00


14.00 - 16.00


























16.00 - 16.30

Linguists & Language Policy (SG1)

  • Leigh Oakes (Queen Mary, London) & Yael Peled (Montréal and McGill): Doing Justice? Normative Language Policy in Praxis
  • Marco Tamburelli (Bangor): Finding Languages: Can linguistic criteria inform language policy?
  • Margaret Deuchar & Kevin Donnelly (Bangor): A model for evaluating the health of minority languages
  • Rebecca Mitchell:
    To be a good westerner, you need to know where you come from’: The challenges facing language preservation initiatives in central Africa


Language Legislation III (SG2)

  • Aurélie Joubert (Leicester): The interface between macro and micro levels: language ideologies and attitudes in Catalan and Occitan speakers
  • Damien Mooney (Oxford): Confrontation and language policy: non-militant perspectives on conflicting revitalization strategies in Béarn, France
  • Elisabeth Barakos (WU Wien): The promotion of Welsh in business - a discursive approach to language policy
  • Mike Tressider (Cornish Language Partnership): The impact of the Cornish language office on language policy


Language Policy and Education II (S2)

  • Nana Ama Agyeman (SOAS) & Nana Aba Amfo (Ghana): The language policy of education in Ghana: implications for minority languages
  • Margarita Valdovinos (Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin):
    From policies to practice: The complexity of mediating interactions in Náayeri public education (Nayarit, México)
  • Lucia Brandi (Liverpool):
    The politics of language maintenance: the case of Kgoyom Totonaco in Mexico
  • Anik Nandi (Heriot-Watt) & Lissa Davies (Sussex): Bottom-up language policy through Mother-Tongue-Based Multilingual Education: Voices of the Toto people in India


16.30 - 17.30

Plenary Address (SG1):

  • Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago and Inuit Circumpolar Council, Canada): The Arctic Indigenous Language Initiative: Leveraging Policy to Effect Change

17.30 - 17.45

Closing Session (SG1)

18.30 - 19.30

Wine Reception sponsored by Cambridge University Press

Peterhouse Fellows' Garden


Conference Dinner

Peterhouse Combination Room