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Palgrave Macmillan

Minority Language Promotion, Protection and Regulation

The Mask of Piety

ISBN 9781137000835
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Language and Globalization

Minority Language Promotion, Protection and Regulation blends a discussion of the role of official language strategies with an analysis as to how both strategies and legislation are implemented in a variety of contexts ranging from Catalonia, The Basque Country, Finland, Ireland and Wales to Canada at both federal and provincial level. It is an authoritative guide and reference volume which tracks recent influences on official language strategy from a legislative, political, social and economic perspective. As both activist and critic, Colin Williams provides a fresh and challenging interpretation of the manner in which formally discriminated language minorities are now grappling with the exercise of power and responsibility for language –related developments within education, the media, local government and the community. The author poses difficult questions for the wielders of power and decision-makers whose official pronouncements invariably support linguistic diversity but whose policy priorities and fiscal approach tends to undercut the capacity of vibrant communities and civil servants to deliver ambitious programmes of reform in support of minority languages.

Colin H. Williams is Research Professor and Director of the Language, Policy and Planning Research Unit in the School of Welsh, Cardiff University, UK. He also holds Visiting Professorships at Aberdeen and UHI universities in the UK and the University of Primorska, Slovenia, and Western Ontario, Canada. He is a former member of the Welsh Language Board and serves as an advisor to government agencies in Europe and North America. His previous publications include Called Unto Liberty, Linguistic Minorities in Democratic Context and, as editor, Language Revitalization, Language and Governance, and with H.S. Thomas (joint editor) Parents, Personality and Power.

1. The Mask of Piety
2. Managing Official Language Legislative Regimes
3. European Legislative Frameworks and Comparative Language Acts.
4. The Embedded Nature of Language Legislation.
5. From Act to Action: Policy Implications and Recommendations
6. Official Language Strategies in Comparative Perspective
7. The Logic of Best Practice Language Strategy
8. Official Language Commissioners
9. The Mask of Piety and the Faltering Polity


"Professor Colin Williams is one of the world's leading scholars on lesser-used languages. In this book he brings to bear not only a vast store of empirical knowledge of the subject but a passionate plea and moral vision in defence of these languages. The book examines language policies in Finland, Ireland and Wales but places these policies in a much wider perspective including approaches by European institutions such as the Council of Europe and the Canadian experience. The author examines the issues from legislative, policy and legal perspectives all the time teasing out the consequences of the shift to neo-liberalism which has dominated western countries since the 1980s. Williams not only gives a fine analysis of these trends but also provides a realistic set of policy recommendations that will help these often embattled lesser-used languages to survive." - John Loughlin, University of Cambridge, UK
"This volume is a comprehensive and stimulating analysis of the challenges arising in relation to the design and implementation of minority language promotion regimes in the early twenty-first century. The book is impressively wide-ranging in its scope, examining closely initiatives in a number of different jurisdictions, and helpfully practical in its approach, so that the analysis is always drawn towards a operative conclusion in terms of best practice." - Wilson McLeod, University of Edinburgh, UK
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