The Dangers of Normativity — the Case of Minority Language Media

Part of the Language and Globalization book series (LAGL)


Minority language media are often a focal site for particular normative logics and practices of minoritized language communities. Being highly regulated and ordered, ideologically invested in terms of prestige, visibility and voice, and central for minority language practices, innovations and markets, minority media are at the heart of normativity (cf. Jaffe, 2007; Moriarty, 2009; Kelly-Holmes et al., 2009; Pietikäinen, 2008). Normativity is an intrinsic feature of every multilingual situation; it can be seen as an attempt to bring order to the potential disorder of multilingualism and heteroglossia and sometimes also as an attempt to delineate linguistic practices from each other in an attempt to demarcate languages and ‘purify’ them, as part of a modernizing project. But how does this normativity impact on speakers and on languages? In this chapter,1 we want to explore whether and how normativity can be both dangerous and protective for languages and speakers, using the case of minority language media, and drawing on our own long-standing work in Sámi and Irish language media.


Native Speaker Language Policy Minority Language Social Approach Language Ideology 
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© Sari Pietikäinen and Helen Kelly-Holmes 2012

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