The Theory of The Natural Minority

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The key criterion here is the size of the speaker population within a specific geographic context : an individual language may be a minority language in one region or state but a majority language in another. Such is the case with many immigrant languages, whose speakers may continue to be a majority in the homeland but have smaller speaker bases elsewhere. Furthermore, a single language may have different degrees of minority status within a given country. To cite one of the most obvious examples, Spanish is a majority language in a number of countries but a minority language in the United States overall.

Minority Languages - Linguistics - Oxford Bibliographies

At the same time, in US states, counties, or regions with large Latino populations it is much more prevalent and even valued, and is indeed spoken by a majority of the population in some counties in Texas and New Mexico. This example highlights the most problematic part of the definition given above; namely, that it makes no claim about the economic, social, or political prestige of a minority language. Given such differences, it may make good sense to distinguish between indigenous, immigrant, and ethnic linguistic minorities, and to characterize minority languages in terms of their social and economic functions.

Doing so follows the precedent set by landmark documents such as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, adopted in by the Council of Europe. The charter defines minority languages based on two criteria: a numerically smaller speaker population and a lack of official status. Accordingly, languages such as Irish that have official status but are spoken by smaller segments of a given population do not count as minority languages.

But at the same time, the charter excludes dialects and migrant languages, even though the classification of a language variety as a dialect is as much a sociopolitical judgment as a linguistic one. In assembling this annotated bibliography, the authors have sought to keep in mind the various, sometimes conflicting ideas of what minority languages are or should be. The sources cited have been grouped under headings related both to geographical regions North America, Africa, Australia, and so on and to issues of broader import. For readers who would like a broad take on minority languages and on the issues concerning their maintenance and revitalization, the following works are recommended.

Note that the overlap with resources on language endangerment is largely unavoidable, given that so many minority languages are losing speakers due to language shift and, as a result, face significant challenges for long-term vitality. Readers should keep in mind that while there are major global trends and typologies, the specific issues can vary from country to country, and even from region to region within countries.

Several of the works here are introductions to theoretical considerations. Ricento is an excellent, textbook-like overview of the field; Edwards and Fase, et al. Fishman is a foundational text that should prove useful for those interested in the process of language maintenance and of documentation.

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Spolsky provides a crucial discussion of language management, through which various players and institutions e. Case studies are to be found in Gorter, et al. The articles in King, et al. Edwards, John R. Minority languages and group identity: Cases and categories. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Excellent overview of issues of minority languages, with a survey of existing typologies of minority-language settings. Particularly valuable for its discussion of theoretical issues of language ecologies and contact, policy implications, and conflict.

Maintenance and loss of minority languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Each of the sections of this anthology includes chapters on larger issues, such as contact, language shift and loss versus maintenance, policy implications, and misunderstandings in bilingual settings. Fishman, Joshua A. Can threatened languages be saved?

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Multilingual Matters Clevendon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Gorter, Durk, Heiko F. Marten, and Luk van Mensel, eds. Minority languages in the linguistic landscape. Speech Acts in Philosophy of Language.


In this book I argue that most voluntary separation experiments in education are not driven by a sense of racial, cultural or religious superiority. Rather, they are driven among other things by a desire for quality education, not to mention community membership and self respect. Citizenship in Social and Political Philosophy. Discrimination in Social and Political Philosophy. Education in Professional Areas. Ethics in Value Theory, Miscellaneous. Geography in Social Sciences.

Remove from this list. One central objection to philosophical defences of liberal neutrality is that many neutrally justified laws and policies are nonetheless discriminatory as they unilaterally impose costs or confer unearned privileges on the bearers of a particular conception of the good. Call this the false neutrality objection. While liberal neutralists seldom consider this objection to be a serious allegation, and often claim that it rests on a misunderstanding, I argue that it is a serious challenge for proponents of justificatory neutrality.

Indeed, a In order to avoid the problem of false neutrality, I contend, liberal neutralists should defend a combination of neutrality of justification and neutrality of aim, and operationalize neutrality of aim through a practical test that has been a defining feature of American jurisprudence on religious freedom in the last thirty years: the general applicability requirement. Cultural Pluralism in Social and Political Philosophy.

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Cultural Relativism in Social and Political Philosophy. Rights and Religion in Social and Political Philosophy. David Miller argues that national identity is indispensable for the successful functioning of a liberal democracy. National identity makes important contributions to liberal democratic institutions, including creating incentives for the fulfilment of civic duties, facilitating deliberative democracy, and consolidating representative democracy. Thus, a shared identity is indispensable for liberal democracy and grounds a good claim for self-determination.

In this paper, I examine Multiculturalism, Misc in Social and Political Philosophy. In the face of the Brexit vote and the election of Trump, there is serious worry about whether the liberal, democratic, and cosmopolitan values thought to underlie progressive immigration policies are in fact widely shared. In this article, I examine these worries and provide suggestions about how those who do favor just progressive immigration policies might best respond to the problems we currently face.


Authoritarianism in Social and Political Philosophy. Global Justice in Applied Ethics. Social Ethics, Misc in Applied Ethics.

Applied Ethics. It does so through counter-intuitively looking to the bottom-line oriented world of corporate law. As Chander explains, modern constitutional law, which in effect ignores the racially discriminatory outcomes of facially neutral laws, has much to learn from corporate law, which strives to ensure fair outcomes - as well as procedures This commentary offers a most powerful example of the gulf between constitutional law and corporate law identified by Professor Chander.

Modern constitutional law affords no meaningful substantive protection to immigrants to the United States.

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The Supreme Court has consistently held that the political branches of the U. The "plenary power" doctrine in operation serves as a bulwark of inequality for immigrants to the United States. The EU has relied on general international law and on a European regional system of international law and, in case of necessity, accepted their norms.

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But in the s there began a process of "de-economisation of the European integration" and the importance of national minorities became higher. Protection of the national minorities has not become a generally accepted legally binding principle of the EU, On the other hand, the political relevance of national minorities' protection is very high.

The importance of protection of national minorities in future will probably grow. It is a result of the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and of the discussions regarding the European constitution and the Treaty of Lisbon. Rights in Social and Political Philosophy. Social and Political Philosophy. Renaissance Humanism in Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy.