Perspectives on Language Policy and Planning

James W. Tollefson

in The Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics

Second edition

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195384253
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Perspectives on Language Policy and Planning


When language policy and planning first became widely practiced in the 1960s and 1970s, LPP specialists believed that their newly emerging understanding of language in society could be implemented in practical programs of “modernization” and “development” that would have important benefits for “developing” societies. The major achievement of this early period of LPP was a deeper understanding of the relationship between language structure and language functions on the one hand and various forms of social organization on the other. The critique of early LPP was, in part, a manifestation of the general collapse of social planning that took place during the 1980s, as centrally planned economies gave way to market economies in which planning plays a relatively limited role. The use of LPP by dominant groups is not limited to developing nations. In the Soviet Union, for instance, the spread of Russian was selectively encouraged in regions where central planners sought to extend their authority.

Keywords: language policy; society; practical programs; language structure; language functions; planners

Article.  4226 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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