Wednesday Workshop

The Local in Language and Public Policy


Facilitators: Vaidehi Ramanathan (UC Davis), Evan Bradley (Penn State University)Kristin Denham, (Western Washington University) 

Date: June 26, 2019

Time: 10-2pm

Location: TBD


AbstractThis workshop addresses the relevance of language policies—a specific research domain in sociolinguistics—to public policy, an area the LSA is keen on growing. Language policy research has recently been paying considerable attention to ‘the local’: how small, grounded interconnections between humans, languages, institutions, and terrains shed light on the extent to which constellations of these are impacted by (sometimes several linked) policies. It debates several topics, including: What are policies? What is the language of policies? How do formal and informal policies relate to each other and to language realities on the ground? How does an understanding of language use in specific contexts open doors to addressing concerns of public policies? Seeking to connect varied contexts of language use, the workshop addresses topics including:

  • How we got to this point in language and public policy (Ramanathan)
  • Prescriptivist policies impacting the use of (un)gendered pronouns (Bradley)
  • The language of federal and state policies around opioids (Torres)
  • Policy implications of literacy development by adults learning to read and write in a second language without first language literacy (Gonsalves)
  • The role of oracy and interactions with adults learning to read for the first time (Moline)
  • Language policy in Scotland after Brexit (Brotherton)