Interplay of Language Policy, Ethnic Identity and National Identity in Five Different Linguistic Settings

Mehdi Gran Hemat, Chan Swee Heng


This study, as a concise and critical literature review, examines related studies that investigated the interplay of the three constructs: ethnic identity, national identity and language policy. To do this, five related research articles were located and their similarities and differences in terms of their findings and methodologies were compared and contrasted. The literature review reveals that the researchers have utilized both quantitative and qualitative methods to obtain data. The findings show that ethnic identity is the contextualization of history, beliefs, customs, spiritual values, etc. of a speech community which practice their culture and values via the medium of language. National identity which emerges in time can be defined as an embodiment of the all common cultural values and social practices of different ethnic groups inside the borders of any country, and this is also manifested through a common language used as the formal and official language of their country. However, identity is a notion that remains rather illusive in its operationalization. Finally, language policy may be representative of a body of law, regulation and authoritative linguistic planned programs which are imposed on societies by governments. Language policies as nation building activities can improve the sense of nationality and reduce ethnic discords, and in the event may also suppress the maintenance or development of ethnic identity. 



Ethnicity, nationality, ethnic and national identities, language policy

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