New Discourse, New Legal Instruments and a New Political Context for Minorities and Their Languages

  • Sue Wright


As we have seen, Western political traditions have been a powerful factor in the linguistic homogenisation of populations. Nationalism promoted the creation of large communities of communication. A minority of these retained a measure of pluralism but in the majority there was relentless eradication of linguistic difference in order to achieve that community. In the last half century the homogenisation process has continued with the structures of globalisation encouraging an ever larger community of communication. Over the same time period, however, we have also witnessed a growing and energetic movement to halt, counter and reverse linguistic convergence. Will Kymlicka has suggested that the recent expansion of minority rights thinking and legislation, of which this is part, can be seen as a defensive response to nation state building (2001: 2). Reaction to the assimilatory policies of some nationalisms may well be among the causes of this expansion, but there is perhaps as much reason to believe that the trigger for renaissance has been different postnational facets of globalisation.


Language Policy Mother Tongue Political Context Minority Language Legal Instrument 
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Copyright information

© Sue Wright 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PortsmouthUK

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