Maxi-Min Language Use A Critical Remark on a Concept by Philippe van Parijs

Open access

Abstract

Philippe van Parijs explains in Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World the concept of maxi-min language use as a process of language choice. He suggests that the language chosen as a common language should maximize the minimal competence of a community. Within a multilingual group of people, the chosen language is the language known best by a participant who knows it least. For obvious reasons, only English would qualify for having that status. This article argues that maxi-min is rather a normative concept, not only because the process itself remains empirically unfounded. Moreover, language choice is the result of complex social and psychological structures. As a descriptive process, the maxi-min choice happens in the reality fairly seldom, whereas the max-min use of languages seen as a normative process could be a very effective tool to measure linguistic justice.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • AMMON Ulrich. 2015. Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt. Berlin–München–Boston: Walter de Gruyter.

  • AMMON Ulrich–DITTMAR Norbert–MATTHEIER Klaus J.–TRUDGILL Peter (eds). 2006. Sociolinguistics/Soziolinguistik. Ein Internationales Handbuch zur Wissenschaft von Sprache und Gesellschaft (HSK 3). Berlin: de Gruyter.

  • BOLTON Kingsley–KUTEEVA Maria. 2012. English as an Academic Language at a Swedish University: Parallellanguage Use and the ‘Threat’ of English. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 33(5): 429–447.

  • BROWN Penelope. 2005. Linguistic Politeness. In: U. Ammon–N. Dittmer–K. J. Mattheier–P. Trudgill (eds) Sociolinguistics. An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. Berlin–New York: de Gruyter 1410–1416.

  • GRICE Paul. 1975. Logic and Conversation. In: P. Cole–J. Morgan (eds) Syntax and Semantics. 3: Speech acts. New York: Academic Press 41–58.

  • COULMAS Florian. 2013. Sociolinguistics: The Study of Speakers’ Choices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • GERHARDS Jürgen. 2010. Mehrsprachigkeit im vereinten Europa. Transnationales sprachliches Kapital als Ressource in einer globalisierten Welt. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

  • GILES Howard–COUPLAND Justine–COUPLAND Nikolas (eds). 1991. Contexts of Accommodation: Developments in Applied Sociolinguistics. England: Cambridge UP.

  • GRIN François. 2011. Using Territoriality to Support Genuine Linguistic Diversity Not to Get Rid of It. In: P. Van Parijs–P. De Grauwe (eds) The Linguistic Territoriality Principle: Right Violation or Parity of Esteem. Brussels: Re-Bel e-book 11.

  • HABERMAS Jürgen. 2001. Braucht Europa eine Verfassung? In: J. Habermas (ed.) Zeit der Übergänge. Kleine Politische Schriften IX. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 104–129.

  • KRUSE Jan–AMMON Ulrich. 2013. Language Competence and Language Choice within EU Institutions and the Effects for National Legislative Authorities. In: A.-C. Berthoud–F. Grin–G. Lüdi (eds) Exploring the Dynamics of Multilingualism: The DYLAN project. Amsterdam: Benjamins 157–178.

  • LÜDI Georges–HÖCHLE Katharina–Kohler FEE Steinbach–YANAPRASART Patchareerat. 2010. Formen der sprachlichen Minorisierung in den Diskursen sowie im Sprachenmanagement von Firmen sowie in den Vorstellungen und im Sprachgebrauch der Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter. Vitalità di una lingua minoritaria : aspetti e proposte metodologiche: atti del convegno di Bellinzona 15–16 ottobre 2010 111–150.

  • LÜDI Georges–HÖCHLE Katharina–Kohler FEE Steinbach–YANAPRASART Patchareerat. 2006. Multilingual Repertoires and the Consequences for Linguistic Theory. In: K. Bührig–J. Ten Thije (eds) Beyond Misunderstanding: Linguistic Analyses of Intercultural Communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins 11–42.

  • PENNYCOOK Alastair. 2010. Critical Applied Linguistics. New York: Routledge.

  • PHILLIPSON Robert. 2015. The Business of English Global Panacea or Pandemic? Myths and Realities of ‘Global’ English. 9th GEM&L International Workshop on Management & Language Helsinki 10–12 June 2015.

  • PHILLIPSON Robert. 2003. English-only Europe? Challenging Language Policy. London: Routledge.

  • SEIDLHOFER Barbara. 2011. Understanding English as a Lingua Franca: A Complete Introduction to the Theoretical Nature and Practical Implications of English Used as a Lingua Franca (Oxford Applied Linguistics). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • VAN ELS Theo. 2005. Multilingualism in the European Union. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 15: 263–281.

  • VAN PARIJS Phillipe. 2004. Europe’s Linguistic Challenge. Archives européennes de sociologie 45(1): 111–152.

  • VAN PARIJS Phillipe. 2007a. Linguistic Diversity as Curse and as By-Product. In: Respecting Linguistic Diversity in the European Union. Amsterdam: Benjaminis 17–46.

  • VAN PARIJS Phillipe. 2007b. Europe’s Linguistic Challenge. In: D. Castiglione–C. Longman (eds) The Language Question in Europe and Diverse Societies. Oxford: Hart 217–253.

  • VAN PARIJS Phillipe. 2011. Liguistic Justice – for Europe and for the World. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • VAN PARIJS Phillipe. 2014. Het Engels als lingua franca van de Europese Unie: vereiste van solidariteit bron van onrechtvaardigheid factor van verval? In: E. De Bom (ed.) Europese Gedachten. Beschouwingen over de toekomst van de Europese Unie. Kalmthout: Pelckmans 179–198.

  • WODAK Ruth–FORCHTNER Bernhard–KRZYŻANOWSKI Michał. 2012. The Interplay of Language Ideologies and Contextual Cues in Multilingual Interactions: Language Choice and Code-Switching in European Union institutions. Language in Society 41(2): 157–186.

  • WRIGHT Sue. 2009. The Elephant in the Room: Language in the European Union. European Journal of Language Policy 1(2): 93–120.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 232 128 5
PDF Downloads 106 66 2