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The economics of language: survey, assessment, and prospects

The economics of language: survey, assessment, and prospects This paper offers a general presentation ofthe economics of language äs it has evolved since the publication of the earliest articles in thisfield in the mid-1960s. To this end, it begins by extensively reviewing the main trends and results found in the literature, which is arranged, for the purposes of this paper, in nine categories. Although much of the existing research is empirical and documents the relationship between linguistic attributes and socioeconomic Status (usually in Canada or in the United States), an increasingly wide ränge of topics is being studied. These include language maintenance and shift, the relationship between linguistic patterns and economic activity, and the selection and design of language policies. The paper then moves on to an assessment of the particular challenges facing researchers in the economics of language. On the one hand, it is important to guard against tempting but misleading analogies, of which some examples are discussed; on the other hand, the economics of language is well equipped to shed light on some causal links between linguistic and economic variables and to select, design, implement, and evaluate language policies. I try to show that language planning raises questions that are analytically similar to many http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of the Sociology of Language de Gruyter

The economics of language: survey, assessment, and prospects

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Walter de Gruyter
ISSN
0165-2516
eISSN
1613-3668
DOI
10.1515/ijsl.1996.121.17
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper offers a general presentation ofthe economics of language äs it has evolved since the publication of the earliest articles in thisfield in the mid-1960s. To this end, it begins by extensively reviewing the main trends and results found in the literature, which is arranged, for the purposes of this paper, in nine categories. Although much of the existing research is empirical and documents the relationship between linguistic attributes and socioeconomic Status (usually in Canada or in the United States), an increasingly wide ränge of topics is being studied. These include language maintenance and shift, the relationship between linguistic patterns and economic activity, and the selection and design of language policies. The paper then moves on to an assessment of the particular challenges facing researchers in the economics of language. On the one hand, it is important to guard against tempting but misleading analogies, of which some examples are discussed; on the other hand, the economics of language is well equipped to shed light on some causal links between linguistic and economic variables and to select, design, implement, and evaluate language policies. I try to show that language planning raises questions that are analytically similar to many

Journal

International Journal of the Sociology of Languagede Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1996

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