European Journal of Applied Linguistics vol:3 issue:1 pages:21-45
In this article I deal with language policy as it is aimed at changing the language practice of certain people within a group (Spolsky 2004). I will especially focus on instances of language policy that are meant to have an emancipatory function: policy is aimed at changing the language practice of some people in order for them to function in situations that are considered socially important. I start my account of successes and failures in language policy with an exploration of the concept of language. I will try to make clear that there are two concepts of language which are commonly used, and that these concepts differ from one another in the way the relation between variation and uniformity in language is seen. I will situate these concepts in Realist Social Theory (RST), and will go into the consequences of interpreting language from one of these angles for the
effectiveness of language policy.