Language policy-making in Ireland: A preliminary study of the consultation process of Languages Connect
Keywords:Languages Connect strategy, language consultation, language policy and planning, policy analysis, participatory policy-making, deliberation
This study aims to explore the policy-making process of Languages Connect - Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. For that purpose, we concentrate on the consultation process adopted by the Department of Education and Skills. Drawing on a concept of foreign language competence as human capital, the aim of this study is twofold. On the one hand, we investigate the extent to which the submissions to the consultation process form a sequence with the final document, Languages Connect; on the other hand, we examine the Irish government documents and compare the submissions reflecting the government approach to language with those problematising such discourse. The former analysis reveals how a market-led valuing of languages is embedded in the government discourse. The latter analysis further shows that linguistic diversity did not receive as much attention as language competence. Bearing in mind that participatory and deliberative procedures are meant to provide legitimacy for policy decisions, the paper concludes by discussing some of the positionings taken in Languages Connect and the role of the procedural mechanisms employed in the consultation.
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