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Language Policy Evaluation and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Language Policy Evaluation and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. By FcG. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2003. 55[pounds sterling]. xii+ 281 pp. ISBN 1-4039-0032-9.

After an introductory section that considers the nature of language policy, the second part of Grin's book presents the history and main features of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the practical problems that the member states intending to sign it may encounter. The third part begins by discussing the nature of policy as distinct from political and legal issues. According to Grin, language policy needs to be linked to the practical results of the measures that are adopted to safeguard regional or minority languages. A good policy meets three main criteria: effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and democracy, in particular participatory democracy. These three principles are then applied to a 'walk-through example' (p. 17), that of education, since this 'is arguably the single most important area of intervention in language policies and one in which states must step in, in compliance with the undertakings to which they subscribe as parties to the Charter' (p. 164).The final part offers a general conclusion in which Grin underlines the importance of the link between policy measures on the one hand and their outcomes on the other. He urges language-planning bodies to assess whether a policy has achieved the positive results expected. Four appendices contain the text of the European Charter, the Explanatory Report on this charter, the Flensburg Recommendations on the Implementation of Policy Measures for Regional or Minority Languages, and a selection of Internet resources.

Grin's study provides an innovative perspective since it creates a bridge between different disciplines: sociolinguistics, language law, policy analysis, and language economics or education economics. His goal is not to be exhaustive, but to guide readers to formulate their own model of language-policy implementation. Grin stresses the originality and flexibility of the European Charter in comparison with other international instruments. Rather than suggesting specific measures for the safeguarding of regional orminority languages, he points out that a measure that is appropriate in one case may not be so in another. He also explores the commonalities in the problems faced by the formulators of language policies. Grin's book will thus be a very useful tool for those involved in designing language policy, since it enhances awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of different options.



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Author:La Sala, Maria Chiara
Publication:The Modern Language Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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