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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces briefly the origins and development of the ethnography of language policy. It argues that, although this tradition has put ethnography firmly on the language policy and planning (LPP) research agenda since the turn of the twenty-first century, it has not yet sufficiently addressed some persistent problems. Against this background, metapragmatics is presented as a suitable epistemological framework, one that draws from two contemporary shifts in the study of texts, contexts, and meanings in linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics: (1) a departure from emphasis on denotational meanings, toward closer description of performative actions; and (2) a shift in the analytical entry point, from communicative events to trajectories of identification. These shifts are examined with reference to existing work and illustrated via ethnographic research that is revisited through the lens being proposed. Some of the implications for the study of LPP processes in conditions of late modernity are also addressed.

Keywords: ethnography, language planning, language policy, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, metapragmatics

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