Detached implementation: Discourse and practice in minority language use in Romania

  • Tibor ToróEmail author
Original Paper


The paper focuses on minority language policy implementation in Romania. Although the policy framework of minority language use is considered quite satisfying by many authors, a deeper analysis reveals significant problems in the implementation of these policies. Based on implementation research, the paper reveals the hidden mechanism of language policy in Romania. First, it presents evidence that without clear guidelines and tools for accountability, state authorities leave room for negotiation, and municipalities can choose whether they want to implement minority language use provisions or not. Second, rather counterintuitively, in many cases Hungarian settlements do not implement it either. All explanations point toward the fact that Hungarian political elites fail to create public pressure to force implementation, thus they choose to keep claims regarding minority language use in the symbolic and political realm. Moreover, it argues that policy implementation is not always a necessary condition for successful claim making, as the two domains are not always linked by the public. Also, it underlines the importance of micro-level analysis in the case of minority language policies, which can be achieved by putting more focus on implementation research, instead of legal and policy-based macro-analysis.


Romania Hungarian language Language policy implementation Minority language rights Language ideology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Relations and European StudiesSapientia Hungarian University of TransylvaniaCluj-NapocaRomania

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