Language policy, the nation and nationalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


During the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the democratic nation-state gradually came to be the form of political organization for all the countries of Europe. Europeans ceased to be subjects of rulers whose power over them was absolute and achieved, often with jolts and setbacks, the status of citizens who had to be consulted to some degree on political and social matters. The nation-state model was subsequently exported to other parts of the world, particularly as peoples who had suffered colonization sought independence. The development of the democratic nation-state had an immense effect on language practices. Whereas a king or emperor who believes he has a divine right to rule feels little need to consult his subjects, a democratic government must persuade its electorate to re-elect it. The need for a community of communication comes to the fore as soon as the ‘sovereign people’ provide legitimacy for governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge handbook of language policy
EditorsB. Spolsky
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780521195652
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameCambridge handbooks in language and linguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press


Dive into the research topics of 'Language policy, the nation and nationalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this