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Economics and LPP. Main questions. What ideas can be shared between language and economics? What are the main issues in language-&-economics? How does language affect economics? How do economic concerns affect language policy and planning? How do we evaluate the relationships?.

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main questions
Main questions
  • What ideas can be shared between language and economics?
  • What are the main issues in language-&-economics?
    • How does language affect economics?
    • How do economic concerns affect language policy and planning?
  • How do we evaluate the relationships?
language and economics
Language and economics
  • Pierre Bourdieu: Linguistic marketplace
  • Linguistic resources
    • Whole languages
    • Knowledge of language styles, including social and situational uses
  • Utility: roughly equivalent to “satisfaction”
language and microeconomics
Language and microeconomics
  • How does language affect earnings or earning potentials?
    • Language discrimination
    • Bilingualism as a valuable resource
      • Depends on the language
    • Accents: Stigmatized or valorized?
      • Call centers in India
  • Grin & Sfreddo (1998) showed that having Italian as L1 in Switzerland in the non-Italian part of the country puts people at an economic disadvantage, earning about 30% less than others
slide5

Language as an inexhaustible resource

    • Becomes more valuable as people use it more—Why?
  • Language as an attractive resource
    • The cachet of English, French
    • Do people really prefer vendors who speak their language? Will it sway their economic decisions?
language and macroeconomics
Language and macroeconomics
  • Language as a commodity
    • Costs of translations vs. benefits
      • EU
      • Hospitals
      • Businesses
  • When do the costs of language accommodation outweigh the benefits?
    • Costs of misunderstanding
    • Costs of time lost
    • Costs of educating speakers, translators
    • Costs of development and production of materials
    • Benefits of new markets
    • Benefits of social concord
measuring costs benefits
Measuring costs (& benefits)
  • Cost per person-hour
  • Benefits: ??
    • Measure language use
    • Measure language attitudes
    • How do we know what the appropriate threshold is? Should there be a minimum fixed ratio of cost-to-benefit? Should the goal always be to have the benefits outweigh the costs?
case studies
Case studies
  • Landick (1999, 2001): Government regulation
    • Potential conflicts between EU & French law
    • Labelling products to be sold in France in French
  • Grin & Vaillancourt (1999)
    • English-Welsh street signs
      • Low-cost promotion of Welsh
      • Use as tourism marketing tool
      • Has greatly improved language situation
slide9

Welsh TV station S4C (1982)

    • TV station won from British national gov’t
    • Features original programming, including prime-time dramas and morning cartoons
    • Some English subtitling
    • 1996 budget: over £70 million
    • High-cost way of promoting Welsh
slide10

Atkinson & Kelly-Holmes (2007): Free-choice

    • Looks at language choice in Catalonian newspaper available in both Castilian and Catalan
discussion questions
Discussion questions
  • When is it appropriate for a government to interfere with language use in the marketplace (understood broadly)?
  • What argument would you give to someone who doesn’t want to support multilingualism (minority, foreign languages) to change their mind?
  • What argument would you give to someone who does want to support multilingualism to change their mind?