Document Type : Research Article


Assistant Professor at Philosophy Department, University of Guelph


This paper is an attempt to fill the gap in the literature by presenting a language policy formulated according to the idea of constitutional patriotism that overcomes the charge of ineffectiveness. I will argue that the procedural character of constitutional patriotism and its emphasis on the practice of law-making is best suited to allow for a pragmatic answer to the questions of language policy-making in multicultural societies. Unlike the instrumental and intrinsic arguments, the pragmatic approach views language as the matrix of communication where the goal of engaged citizens is mutual understanding. The pragmatic approach is also more effective because unlike the principled approaches, which tend to homogenize the composition of diverse societies, it constrained by (1) values of political culture of the society; (2.a) historical contingencies such as the founding role of national minorities; and (2.b) practical feasibilities such as size, vitality and concentration of linguistic populations.
In recent years the normative status of minority rights as a species of human rights has been widely discussed by political theorists. In this context, the issue of minority language rights is one of the most hotly contested topics in the prevailing debate over the claims of culture. Mainstream political theories approach this topic differently, depending on their view of an appropriate model of political association. Liberal egalitarians emphasize the significance of the liberal ideals of neutrality and autonomy in deciding appropriate language policy, while liberal culturalists focus on the constitutive role of language and culture for the individual’s exercise of rights and liberties that translate into a language policy that ranges from recognitions and accommodation to maintenance and protection of group identity and language.

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