Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2005 In this book, our goal is to understand how the language policies of various nation-states in Southeast Asia grapple with the challenge of modernity. Our focus will therefore be on language policies as these are explicitly articulated either in the form of constitutions or public proclamations made by political leaders. We do not RAPPA AND WEE: LANGUAGE POLICY AND MODERNITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA 2 deny that language policies can be implicit (Spolsky, 2004:s) since ideologies about language are prevalent regardless of whether these lead to overt policy formulations or not. However, our interest is in the attempts by Southeast-Asian nation-states to maintaidlegitimize particular ‘nationalist imaginations’ (cf. Anderson, 1991), and such attempts are best seen in the kinds of explicit declarations made by agents of the state. It seems clear that our objective includes the question of how these nation-states manage the spread of the English language, since English is often seen as the language of modernity par excellence (May, 2001).

Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia

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