Policies concerning language use are increasingly tested in an age of frequent migration and cultural synthesis. With conflicting factors and changing political climates influencing the policy-makers, Elana Shohamy considers the effects that these policies have on the real people involved. Using examples from the US and UK, she shows how language policies are promoted and imposed, overtly and covertly, across different countries and in different contexts.
Concluding with arguments for a more democratic and open approach to language policy and planning, the final note is one of optimism, suggesting strategies for resistance to language attrition and ways to protect the linguistic rights of groups and individuals.
Elana Shohamy is affiliated with the University of Tel Aviv. She is a major figure in international applied linguistics circles and right at the top of the language policy and testing fields. She founded and co-edits a new joournal: Language Policy (Kluwer), has co-authored several books on language policy and recently published an important book on testing: The Power of Tests: critical perspectives on the uses of language tests (Pearson, 2001).