Small Group Project 2022-23
In an age of increased immigration, how are newcomers to be integrated fairly and equitably into the languages of host societies? What are the legitimate expectations of newcomers and host societies alike concerning their respective rights and duties in the linguistic integration process? And how should linguistic integration be conceived, especially in host societies whose languages do not enjoy global status and appeal? Rooted in an ongoing commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to complex real-world social challenges involving language policy, this project brings together four internationally recognised scholars from different pertinent disciplines to begin to systematically explore such questions and pave the way for an integrated theoretical framework for the study of the ethics of linguistic integration from a liberal democratic perspective. Combining the empirical rigour of applied linguistics/sociolinguistics with the analytical capacity of political philosophy/theory, the project compares the cases of England, Quebec and Wales to build the foundations for a comprehensive understanding of the ethics of linguistic integration that takes into account the interests, anxieties and aspirations of the various actors involved in the integration process. The funding is requested to support a series of knowledge-exchange and creation team sessions to lay the theoretical and methodological groundwork for a longer-term research programme on the topic. A dedicated conference panel at the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Ghent in July 2022 will be followed by a series of face-to-face team meetings aimed at developing a consolidated research agenda for the purpose of a major grant application. Initial insights will also be disseminated in three publications targeting specific stakeholders: (1) a co-authored peer-reviewed journal article; (2) a position paper for policymakers; and (3) a newspaper/blog opinion piece for general audiences. The project is thus optimally positioned to advance understandings of the ethics of linguistic integration in research, policymaking and broader public discourse.