Languages, Regional Conflicts and Economic Development in South Asia

  • Selma K. Sonntag


The relation between economic development and linguistic diversity has been a topic of inquiry among social scientists, with implications for language planners and policy-makers, for a number of decades. In the aftermath of decolonization, researchers informed by the modernization paradigm of development tended to view ethnic and linguistic diversity within newly independent Third World countries as a hindrance to economic development. Daniel Nettle (2000, p. 336) points to the ‘famous studies’ by Joshua Fishman (1968) and Jonathan Pool (1972) as the standard bearers of the paradigmatic negative correlation between linguistic diversity and economic development in the field of language policy and planning. Fishman (1968), the doyen of sociolinguistics, gave an impressionistic overview of cross-polity datasets that became available in the mid-1960s and that included a measurement of ‘linguistic homogeneity’. Pool (1972) followed up with a statistical analysis, employing techniques that helped fill in gaps in the data.


Language Policy Linguistic Diversity Economic Development Strategy Linguistic Distance Language Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Selma K. Sonntag

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