[lg policy] Call for new chief government linguist to boost profile of languages in policy

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu Nov 29 14:05:53 EST 2018

Call for new chief government linguist to boost profile of languages in
Written by Richard Johnstone on 28 November 2018 in News

Greater awareness about the benefits of multilingualism would help boost
crucial post-Brexit areas including international relations and trade, say
[image: a dial selecting different global languages]

*Photo: Adobe Stock*

The government has today been urged to create the post of a chief
government linguist to boost the awareness of modern languages in
policymaking and ensure coordination to increase the numbers learning new

The call comes from the Open World Research Initiative, a major modern
languages research initiative funded by the Arts and Humanities Research
Council and involving over 100 researchers in fifteen universities around
the UK.

According to the group, increased awareness of the impact learning
languages can have would help improve policymaking in areas as diverse as
international relations, trade, defence, culture and community cohesion.


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A chief government linguist would be similar to the existing post of
government chief scientific adviser. He or she would be a senior civil
servant who would mobilise executive support and coordinate the embedding
of languages in government policy across a range of departments, and could
act as a champion for languages both within and outside government,
Professor Janice Carruthers, a Modern Languages Leadership Fellow from
Queen’s University, said:

“In both Whitehall and the devolved administrations, support for languages
in departments of education is clearly vital if we are seeking to ensure
that future generations have strong language skills,” she said. “But it is
also important that languages are embedded in policy across a range of
government departments and in government strategies where they are highly

The OWRI project will set out details of the plan to MPs and others at an
event in Westminster Hall today.
About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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