[lg policy] bibitem: Introduction to Language Policy in Israel

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 12 15:39:18 UTC 2012

Neil Bowen, Swansea University (2011)
Language Policy in Israel


Language is a reflection of identity, culture, a person’s origins and
future aspirations, as well as a vehicle by which to communicate ideas
and beliefs within society. Yet, ever since the emergence of the
ideology of a ‘nation state’, the perpetuation of language as a
‘symbolic political instrument’(Shohamy, 2006:22) - a fixed homogenous
system to be controlled and manipulated - has been exploited by those
in power to reinforce the notion that boundaries of state should
coincide with boundaries of language; boundaries that are also
‘isomorphic with cultural [ones]’ (Scollon,2004:272). To illustrate
this implicit symbiosis one may only look at the number of countries
that share their names with the official language - China/Chinese,
Germany/German, etc. Consequently,it is easy to see why Language
Policy is an issue of critical importance (Spolsky, 2004).This paper
shall explore how one such nation – Israel, has manipulated the
implementation and enactment of policy, to not only revitalize and
revernacularize a once minority language, but also as a means of
establishing and maintaining national identity within a politically
volatile environment. It shall examine the effects of Israel’s
Language Policy by comparing the present day situation to the past,
and, via the exploration of policy implementation and the motivations
behind it, determine if it has been successful or not.

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