chapter  3
25 Pages

The Politics of Language

In the last chapter (ĸchap. 2), I focused primarily on the relations between knowledge and politics as they related to language. Left hanging, however, was the issue of developing a political understanding of language. Since applied linguistics always has to do with language in some form, the development of a political vision of language must indeed form a backbone to critical applied linguistics. I have already alluded to a possible distinction between looking at the politics of language in terms of how forms of power affect language use and in terms of how power may operate ideologically through language. Although this may be a slightly crude dichotomy, it can serve to organize different domains of the politics of language. While the next chapter (ĺchap. 4), therefore, is concerned with the analytical and pedagogical questions that emerge from a consideration of power and meaning within language-which I choose to call the politics of texts-this chapter deals primarily with issues to do with language use in different contexts-the politics of language. I focus on a number of principal concerns:

• Language and power within sociolinguistics; • Language and power within different conceptions of language policy and planning, in

particular, frameworks for understanding the global spread of English; • Issues of resistance and appropriation raised by postcolonialism.