Ahn, Elise. (2007) "A Region Divided/United: Language Policy Developments in the European Union". In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. As Cooper writes “[T]o plan language is to plan society.” (1989: 182) And nowhere does this statement resonate as much as in Europe. From the emergence of the nation-state, to the decolonization that took place after the World Wars, language has played a pivotal role as an agent of change in this particular context. And oftentimes likened to the Tower of Babel, the EU is an institution sui generis when it comes to its historical commitment to institutional plurilingualism. However, trying to understand the multi-facetedness of the EU's language policies is neither simple nor unproblematic. Given the complexity of the language situation in both the EU and its Member States, this paper in no way attempts to suggest best practice situations, or language policy alternatives. This paper does aim to: (1) To develop an overview perspective on the EU's language policies; and (2) To develop a better understanding of how language policy (policies) are developed in the EU. I will follow the distinction that Van Els (2005; 2006) makes between the EU's “institutional” and “non-institutional” language policies. Briefly, the distinction between institutional and non-institutional is that where the EU's institutional language policy is its policy applying to language use within the EU institutions, its “non-institutional language policy” refers to the policies extending to impact language use within Member States and between Member State citizens.
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