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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Language Policy in a Comparative Perspective

Category 'Best Course for Career Development'
Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Type: Elective course (Political Science and World Politics)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 3 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4
Contact hours: 40

Course Syllabus


The aim of the course is to give the student a thorough introduction to theory-building in the field of language policy and planning (LPP). The course aims to incorporate various theoretical and methodological approaches to language policy from the field of sociolinguistics, international relations, sociology, sociolinguistics, and cultural studies. Through a variety of case studies of language policies across the globe, students will be able to demonstrate a broader understanding of the main issues in the field of language policy and planning and learn what factors influence political decision-making at the national and international levels. With a special focus on language planning in a minority language context, the course will give the students insights into theories on language maintenance, language shift, and language revitalisation. The cases selected for further discussion cover different regions and political and historical contexts: official bilingualism and multicultural policy (the case of Canada), post-Soviet (Ukraine and Belarus), European Union (the Baltics, France, Finland), and developing countries/postcolonial contexts (India).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide a general overview of existing theoretical and methodological approaches to language policy and planning
  • To describe a variety of language policy regimes across the globe
  • To define factors that influence political decision-making in the field of language policy and planning at the local, national, and international levels.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrates a broader understanding of different language policy regimes across the globe.
  • Presents the central theories and methods in language policy and planning research
  • Reflects on the necessity of studying English in order to be more economically competitive in the modern world and how the intention to study English and incorporate it in the system of education in the postcolonial contexts might create an unfavourable situation for the local languages.
  • Reflects on the importance of diversity management in multi-ethnic and multinational societies
  • Gets an understanding of how the choice of languages/language models can become a source of political confrontation and conflicts on different examples of language policies across the globe.
  • Explains the most important terms and concepts used in the field
  • Demonstrates a basic understanding of international , European, and national norms of the protection of the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities
  • Applies theoretical models and methodological approaches to analyse language policy in the country/region of their choice.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Language, Identity, and Nationalism
    In this part of the course, we will discuss the interrelationship between language and identity; language and ethnicity, as well as the role of languages in nation-building
  • Introduction into Language Policy and Planning (LPP)
    Main theoretical approaches in language policy and planning will be discussed in this part of the course. Students will also be introduced to a variety of language policy regimes across the globe.
  • Language Policy, Multiculturalism, and Minority Rights
    Multilingualism in the modern world, diversity management, international and legal instruments of protecting the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities
  • Language Policy, Globalization, and Political Economy
    English as an international lingua franca, the importance of studying English in the postcolonial contexts and associated challenges
  • Language Policy and Education
    The interrelationship between language policy and the spheres of education, linguistic minority rights in education
  • Political Conflicts over Language/Case Studies
    The status, societal and political position of the language as a source of political conflict
  • Case Studies on Language Policy
    During the four final seminars students will discuss particular regional (country) cases of, by applying theoretical frameworks studied in the course to the country (region) evidence. The cases include different tracks, political and historical contexts: post-Soviet "track" (Ukraine/Belarus and the Baltics), European Union's "track" (the Baltics, France, and Finland), the politics of multilingualism/official bilingualism (Canada), and postcolonial contexts (India).
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Creative essay/policy paper (based on the students' preferences)
    Students are allowed to choose between a creative (argumentative) essay or a policy paper, based on their personal preferences. In a creative essay, students are expected to imagine the situation when they are policymakers in the country of their choice and are about to choose the most appropriate trajectory of language policy. They should argue for or against a certain model of language policy, based on the theoretical and methodological approaches to language policy, which were studied in the first part of the course. They need to present clear-cut arguments and justify their conclusions by referring to the scholarly works, experts' opinions, comparisons to other countries/regions, statistical data, which are related to this country. If a student chooses a policy paper, he/she is also expected to analyse the political course of the development of language policy in the country of their choice and to make recommendations for policymakers.
  • non-blocking Attendance and active class participation
  • non-blocking Quizzes
  • non-blocking Group presentations
    Students are encouraged to split into several research groups, based on their regional preferences: language policies of the European Union and EU members; language policies in the post-Soviet countries; language policies in the postcolonial contexts (Africa, Latin America, etc.). Students are allowed to choose any country and present a group work based on the analysis of the sociolinguistic landscape and the model of language policy of the respected country, the legal instruments of the protection of ethnic and linguistic minorities' rights, political conflicts and confrontation between the majority and minorities (if applies).
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Attendance and active class participation + 0.3 * Creative essay/policy paper (based on the students' preferences) + 0.3 * Group presentations + 0.2 * Quizzes


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Aktürk, S. (2012). Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey. Cambridge University Press.
  • Anderson, B. R. O. . (DE-588)118140795, (DE-627)079267602, (DE-576)165345845, aut. (2006). Imagined communities reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism Benedict Anderson.
  • Barbora Moormann-Kimáková. (2016). Language-related Conflicts in Multinational and Multiethnic Settings : Success and Failure of Language Regimes. Springer VS.
  • Cheskin, A. (2016). Russian Speakers in Post-Soviet Latvia : Discursive Identity Strategies. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Cheskin, A., & Kachuyevski, A. (2019). The Russian-Speaking Populations in the Post-Soviet Space: Language, Politics and Identity. Europe-Asia Studies, 71(1), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2018.1529467
  • D. Johnson. (2013). Language Policy. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dr. Aneta Pavlenko. (2008). Multilingualism in Post-Soviet Countries. Multilingual Matters.
  • Edwards, J. (2009). Language and Identity : An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kulyk, V., Beissinger, M., & Kotkin, S. (2014). Soviet Nationalities Policies and the Discrepancy between Ethnocultural Identification and Language Practice in Ukraine. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781107286191.010
  • Kymlicka, W. (DE-588)114420254, (DE-576)168349779. (2002). Multiculturalism and minority rights : West and East / Will Kymlicka.
  • Maksimovtsova, K. (2019). Language Conflicts in Contemporary Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine : A Comparative Exploration of Discourses in Post-Soviet Russian-Language Digital Media. ibidem.
  • Ricento, T. (2019). Language Politics and Policies : Perspectives From Canada and the United States. Cambridge University Press.
  • Spolsky, B. (2004). Language Policy. Cambridge University Press.
  • Spolsky, B. (2012). The Cambridge Handbook of Language Policy. Cambridge University Press.
  • Stephen May. (2012). Language and Minority Rights : Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language: Vol. 2nd ed. Routledge.
  • Thomas Ricento. (2006). An Introduction to Language Policy : Theory and Method. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Thomas Ricento. (2015). Language Policy and Political Economy : English in a Global Context. Oxford University Press.
  • Uldis Ozolins the Impact of European Accession upon Language Policy in the Baltic States. (2002).

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. (2019). European Federation of National Institutions for Language.
  • Hanna Wiczanowska, & Łukasz Szoszkiewicz. (2018). The Protection of the Right to Education in Minority Language: the Council of Europe’s Standards. https://doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2018411
  • Järve, P. (1999). Minorities and majorities in Estonia : Problems of integration at the threshold of the EU ; Flensburg, Germany, and Aabenraa, Denmark, 22-25 May 1998 / Priit Järve and Christian Wellmann. European Centre for Minority Issues.
  • Kulyk, V. (DE-576)185537960. (2015). One nation, two languages? [Elektronische Ressource] : National identity and language policy in post-Euromaidan Ukraine / Volodymyr Kulyk. PONARS Eurasia.
  • Kuzio, T. (DE-588)120488523, (DE-627)080706746, (DE-576)170547426, aut. (1998). Ukraine state and nation building Taras Kuzio.
  • Moser, M. (2013). Language Policy and Discourse on Languages in Ukraine Under President Viktor Yanukovych. ibidem.
  • Spolsky, B., Tannenbaum, M., & Inbar-Lourie, O. (2014). Challenges for Language Education and Policy : Making Space for People. Routledge.