Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics

ISBN : 9780199937264

Ingrid Piller
296 ページ
163 x 246 mm

Winner of the 2017 BAAL Book Prize Winner of the 2017 Language and Linguistics Prose Award

  • Prompts thinking about linguistic disadvantage as a form of structural disadvantage that needs to be recognized and taken seriously, and that warrants a serious public debate as to how it can best be mitigated
  • Includes case studies from around the world
  • Offers conversational approach inviting readers to engage with linguistic diversity and social justice through the online forum Language on the Move

Understanding and addressing linguistic disadvantage must be a central facet of the social justice agenda of our time. This book explores the ways in which linguistic diversity mediates social justice in liberal democracies undergoing rapid change due to high levels of migration and economic globalization. Focusing on the linguistic dimensions of economic inequality, cultural domination and imparity of political participation, Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice employs a case-study approach to real-world instances of linguistic injustice. Linguistic diversity is a universal characteristic of human language but linguistic diversity is rarely neutral; rather it is accompanied by linguistic stratification and linguistic subordination. Domains critical to social justice include employment, education, and community participation. The book offers a detailed examination of the connection between linguistic diversity and inequality in these specific contexts within nation states that are organized as liberal democracies. Inequalities exist not only between individuals and groups within a state but also between states. Therefore, the book also explores the role of linguistic diversity in global injustice with a particular focus on the spread of English as a global language. While much of the analysis in this book focuses on language as a means of exclusion, discrimination and disadvantage, the concluding chapter asks what the content of linguistic justice might be.



1 Introduction
Linguistic diversity
Social justice
Join the conversation
2 Linguistic diversity and stratification
Language, multilingualism, linguistic diversity
Hierarchy in diversity
Language pyramids
The diversity of the Other
Seeing 'super-diversity'
Inventing homogeneity
3 The subordination of linguistic diversity
The territorial principle
Language segregation
Debating the territorial principle
Linguistic diversity and personal responsibility
Grassroots language learning
Judging speakers
Linguistic diversity and moral worth
Remaking language learners
4 Linguistic diversity at work
Language proficiency as a barrier to employment
What's in a name?
Job interviews
Multiple vulnerabilities
Survival employment and deskilling
Language learning on the job
Suppressing linguistic diversity
Alternative language regimes
5 Linguistic diversity in education
The monolingual habitus of multilingual schools
Submersion education
Compounding disadvantage
Testing against linguistic diversity
Misdiagnosing language proficiency
Denying the benefits of multilingualism
6 Linguistic diversity and participation
Linguistic barriers to participation
Language and the gender gap
Linguistically-motivated violence
Linguistic alienation

7 Linguistic diversity and global justice
Language and development
Injustices of English language education
Injustices of English as global academic language
Paying tribute to the Anglophone center
Psychological damages of global English

8 Linguistic justice
Normative linguistic justice
Real linguistic utopias
The struggle for linguistic justice


Ingrid Piller is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her research expertise is in Intercultural Communication, the Sociolinguistics of Language Learning and Multilingualism, and Bilingual Education. She serves as editor-in-chief of the international sociolinguistics journal Multilingua and curates the sociolinguistics portal Language on the Move.

"[T]he book is very well written and well structured; it is written in a rather lay language, a fact that makes it accessible to a wide audience of both academics and non-academics. Its readability is also enhanced by the fact that all notes are presented in the form of endnotes divided by chapter, which are found at the end of the book. In this way, the reading and understanding of the content of each chapter is smooth and uninterrupted ... [T]his book is essential reading not only to socioculturally minded linguists but also to policy makers, legal advisers and professionals who are interested in sharpening their intercultural skills." - Sociolinguistic Studies

"[T]he book is a fascinating exploration of the (often hidden) ways in which language makes individuals vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination, and other forms of harm. As such, it will appeal to readers from a variety of academic disciplines, including sociolinguistics, sociology, law, and political theory. However, it is also written in such a way that it will appeal to the general reader, and I truly hope that it is widely read and considered. It is an important and timely contribution to the scholarly and public debate about linguistic diversity, with real potential to change the terms of that debate and to move it forward in productive ways." - International Journal of Constitutional Law

"Pillers introduction to applied sociolinguistics is an outstanding addition to the growing body of work on language and people on the move." - Peter I. De Costa, Language in Society

"The book offers a thorough and powerful analysis of how language-related issues stand in relation to injustice and discrimination. Todays globalized world might celebrate linguistic diversity rhetorically, but the author shows that reality is quite different one of systemic inequality and disadvantage Piller has the experience and expertise to write a volume such as this one, and she has done an amazing and thorough job. The book constitutes an important contribution to language related issues and social justice correlation in todays globalized world." - International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

"Ingrid Piller presents a powerful case for how language is variously overlooked or misunderstood as a factor that entrenches disadvantage and inequality in a globalized society. She argues that discrimination based on language persists, often justified by appeal to the false premise that individuals exercise complete control over their own linguistic repertoires, and reinforced by tacit assumptions embedded in our cultural practices." - Chris Cummins New Books Network

"This is a serious book on a serious subject. In a globalized world whose rhetoric celebrates linguistic diversity, Ingrid Piller shows that the reality is one of systemic inequality and disadvantage-and makes a strong argument that linguistic questions should figure prominently on the social justice agenda in the twenty-first century." - Deborah Cameron, Professor of Language and Communication, University of Oxford

"A vivid, powerful, and sober analysis of how language serves to entrench injustice and create indefensible discrimination. Piller's wide-ranging book should inspire and shock both the general reader and the research world." - Robert Phillipson, Professor Emeritus, Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), and author of books on language policy, linguistic imperialism, and language rights

"This text is an excellent introduction to how language is connected to local and global power structures." - Mary Hudgens Henderson, Linguist List

"Highly recommended." - Choice