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Linguistic Injustice, Decolonization, and Language Endangerment

EasyChair Preprint no. 1726

6 pagesDate: October 20, 2019


Amidst growing academic and popular interest in concepts of social justice, a small but growing literature has emerged discussing the concept of ‘linguistic justice’. However, this literature has only given very limited consideration to the issue of language endangerment. This article aims to advance a theory of linguistic (in)justice that can assist in understanding and resisting language endangerment. Central to such a theory is an understanding of the role that choice plays in the processes of language shift that drive language endangerment; unjust language shift is always coerced. Drawing on the work of political philosopher Nancy Fraser, I argue that this coercion is brought about by the unequal distribution of material resources and the existence of status hierarches between social groups and languages. I examine how both unequal distribution and misrecognition have historically been produced by colonialism, resulting in the contemporary crisis of global language endangerment. I therefore argue that decolonization represents a necessary condition for linguistic justice, and describe how decolonization can be achieved by transforming relations of redistribution and recognition. In concluding, I advocate for ongoing dialogue between disciplines, and between academics and communities, to advance theories of decolonization and linguistic justice.

Keyphrases: decolonization, language endangerment, linguistic justice, social justice

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Gerald Roche},
  title = {Linguistic Injustice, Decolonization, and Language Endangerment},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1726},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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