Language Education Policy Studies
An International Network
New members welcome!

The Field of Language and Language Speakers 

The field of language is first a disciplinary question. Language is studied by applied or critical linguists, educators, anthropologists before it is taken up by language in education policy interpreters and policy makers. Their work focuses on a continuum from individual choices and practices; to social and group efforts; to studying, documenting and recording; to policymaking and implementing; to teaching and classroom practices; to deconstruction and denial.

Linguists seem to be the most obvious to take interest, although linguists are implicated negatively by historical studies that show ties between power and loss of polyglottism. Furthermore, politics still employs linguistic issues either for or against ethnic and national integration. See Monolingualism, Linguistic Intolerance, and the State; National Frameworks and National Policies. Today the field of linguistics is often merged with related fields in interdisciplinary work. Linguists’ work can be used for diverse goals: language rights, the inherent worth of languages, ethnographies of complex situations due to 21st century realities, or language teaching in different educational institutions. See Language as Social Practice, Multilingualism, Multilingualism in Schools.

This multi- and inter- disciplinary work has a range of activities and ideologies, and assumptions. Furthermore, their importance and role in policymaking regarding language and language in education is not agreed on. A disciplinary unity could reshape ideologies that inform policies and particularly language teaching and ideologies. See Defining Language, Language as Social Practice, Biocultural Link, Language Protection Questions: How to “save” and who will do it; Deep Education and Transdisciplinarity.

Due to 21st century migration, communication tools, and education- language situations have become more complex. Languages are embedded in communities of practice- in social settings as well as the classroom- where people often use hybrid forms of language. See Language as Resource, Multilingualism, Defining Language, Social Practice, 21st Century Forces.


Bibliography to unite Linguistics and other fields:


Benke, G. (2003). Applied Linguistics: A Science of Culture?


Corbett, G.C. (2001). Why Linguists Need Languages. In L. Maffi (Ed.), On Biocultural Diversity: linking language, knowledge, and the environment (pp. 175-189). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Hult, F. M. (Ed). (2010). Directions and Prospects for Educational Linguistics. Dordrect: Springer.


Davis, H.G., & Taylor, T.J. (eds), (2003). Rethinking Linguistics. London, Routledge Curzon. Essays on various topics relating to basic issues in linguistic theory.



Toolan, M. (ed.), (2009). Language Teaching. Integrational Linguistic Approaches. New York, Routledge

Harrison, K. M. (2013). The Field of Language. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 
Widget is loading comments...