The power of folk linguistic knowledge in language policy

Nathan John Albury

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Just as an expanded view of language policy now affords agency to many more actors across society than authorities and linguists alone, it also accepts that the dispositions these agents bring to language affairs influence language policy processes and outcomes. However, this paper makes the case that language policy may also be guided, to some degree, by what these societal agents of language policy claim to know as facts in linguistics, regardless of the empirical accuracy of their knowledge. Drawing on an analysis of qualitative data from folk linguistic research on Māori language revitalisation, the paper discusses instances of the policy ideas and discourses of a cohort of young New Zealanders relying on what they claimed as facts about revitalisation. By bringing a folk linguistic perspective to language policy theory, the paper argues that space should be made to accommodate the power of folk linguistic knowledge in language policy theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Claimed knowledge
  • Folk linguistics
  • Language policy theory
  • Language revitalisation
  • Māori

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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