Language policy briefs for govt offiicials

Don Osborn dzo at
Sat Feb 28 13:11:59 UTC 2009

Thank you for this information. A few quick follow up questions (quick to
ask at least), because it is precisely the issue of policy in African
countries that I'm working on:

* Why are you asked to address the issue of language policy? I.e., is this
something you see as particular to South Africa (given its history and
having 11 official languages)?

* Do you have any of your presentations online or otherwise publicly

* Why do you think the decisionmakers do not implement language policy?

* Is there something that could be done differently in terms of content or
presentation of information to policy makers and people responsible for
policy implementation that might lead to more positive results?

The latter two questions are particularly important given what Ayo Bamgbose
describes as "declaration without implementation" in his summary of problems
with language policy in Africa. On a continental level, of course, there
have been numerous declarations and plans of action, but little to show for
them. In specific countries the story is often similar, but more
complicated. In either case, how to deal with it?

In discussions with Dwayne Bailey (project lead of African Network for
Localisation - ANLoc - and head of on promotion of
policies supporting localization (related closely to language policy), the
idea has been brought up of use of graphics and stories to make more
tangible the otherwise abstract concepts and numbers. In effect, what I
interpret as incorporating tools of marketing in the awareness-raising and
educational effort. 

Ultimately such approaches would find themselves incorporated in printed and
online policy briefs/memos, which is why I'm interested in what you and
others have done.

Thanks in advance for any further information.



From: Theodorus du Plessis [mailto:dplesslt.HUM at] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:08 AM
To: a12n-policy at; Don Osborn; lgpolicy-list at
Subject: Re: Language policy briefs for govt offiicials


I am usually asked to do presentations at fora (where decision-makers are
present). Usually you are asked to make a short speech on topics such as:
Why language policy? What is language policy? etc. This happens at
provincial and local government level in South Africa where decision-makers
have to design and implement language policy (but then do not do it anyhow).


Prof. L.T. du Plessis
Eenheid vir Taalbestuur/Unit for Language Management
Universiteit van die Vrystaat/University of the Free State
Posbus/P.O. Box 339
9300 RSA
Tel:  +27 51-401 2405
Faks/Fax: +27 51-444 5804
E-pos/E-mail:  <mailto:dplesslt.hum at> dplesslt.hum at
Web:  <> 

>>> On 2009/02/23 at 07:13 PM, <dzo at> wrote:

Has anyone done any work producing policy briefs/memos relating to language
for people in government who are in a position to influence language policy
and its implementation?


By policy briefs or policy memos I mean information presented in a succinct
way for an educated audience not specialized in the topic addressed.
Commonly these are used to advocate a position on the topic described. I'm
particularly interested in the form used, purpose or agenda promoted, and


I have found few instances on the web. A couple of examples:
RP_Winter04.pdf (a
61-page document which was described at  as a "policy brief" at
32> &L=lgpolicy-list&P=6132 )


In other domains, such as ICT policy, briefs are also used. An African
example is:


While I am referring to the latter  and others, I am still seeking examples
relating to language policy.


Don Osborn



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