Tense times and language planning

Autor/a: BIANCO, Joseph Lo
Año: 2008
Editorial: Current Issues in Language Planning. Vol. 9, nº 2 (2008)
Tipo de código: ISSN
Código: 1466-4208
Soporte: Digital




This article discusses the different effects arising from deliberations on language policy in conferences dominated by professionals compared with the interests, priorities and demands of geo-political and military security coming from defense interests. The paper proposes a three dimensional way to understand language policy: text, discourse and performance, and discusses strains and tensions placed on language policy that aims to serve explicit security agendas. Such tensions and strains are particularly strong for those languages spoken by minority populations who are sometimes forced into ambivalence between local and national identity, citizenship loyalty and the promotion and retention of needed language skills. Technical or rationalist approaches to language planning analysis fail to capture the performative and discursive dimensions of language planning under such strains, remaining at the descriptive level of policy texts and their formal declarations of intent. Community or heritage language activists negotiate such tensions but for some categories of language professional, such as interpreters in war zones who are required to mediate between occupying and occupied forces, these tensions can be extreme. The paper considers language in espionage where severe tensions are imposed between its communicative-secretive functions.