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Multilingualism, language planning, and language policy

Through my work on Texas German I got interested in different aspects surrounding multilingualism, most notably language planning and language policy. My new research project, funded by a Humanities Research Award (College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin) and Fellowship for Experienced Researchers (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) explores the paradox of a state rich in language resources yet frequently characterized by monolingual thinking and rhetoric. More specifically, I am interested in the ways in which existing language resources in Texas can be systematically consolidated and further developed for the benefit of all citizens of the Lone Star State. A crucial aspect of this research involves a comparison of language policies involving linguistic minorities in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and five other countries. My detailed investigation of the advantages and disadvantages of these different language policies will enable me to arrive at a catalogue of language policy criteria that can be systematically employed to protect and support linguistic minorities, while at the same time benefiting linguistic majorities educationally and economically (cf. Grin et al. 2010). My project presents a program of systematic policy planning designed to use and expand the language potential of the people of Texas, thereby leading to a more competitive edge in the globalized world of the 21st century.