Join the editor of Language, Andries Coetzee, and the associate editors of the Language and Public Policy (LPP) section, Patricia Cukor-Avila and Vaidehi Ramanathan, for a discussion about LPP issues and its place in the journal.  The overall aim of this section is to raise awareness of the role that linguistics plays in our collective understanding of public issues that have strong policy implications.  

In some ways, this area of investigation extends an already established domain in applied and sociolinguistics, namely language policy. In simple terms, language policy has been defined as deliberate choices that governments, institutions, and programs make with regard to the relationship between language and social life. Within this space, areas such as education and courts of law have received a lot of attention since national, regional, or institutional policies impact everything within these domains, including concerns around teacher-education, curriculum development, language/s used in courts, and translation services for speakers of minority languages, or language/s used in health/medical settings. More recently, though, language policy research has been exploring enactments of policies to openly address spaces for transformative interventions. A general aim with this orientation is to focus on human engagements in public domains, whether they be regarding middle-school teachers in rural South Africa who prefer to teach in Xhosa instead of Zulu or English or ensuring that court transcribers in California can ‘hear’ Spanglish and African American English so as to provide accurate transcriptions.

The webinar will begin with a short introduction by the editor and co-editors on language and public policy as a developing area of research for Language.  After this there will be 3 short presentations that exemplify how linguistic analyses aid in our understanding of public concerns and policy issues. This will be followed by a panel discussion between the editor and co-editors about  the kinds of paper the journal wishes to attract, and the 'ideal' LPP paper.  Finally, the panelists will take audience questions in the remaining minutes of the webinar.

View a recording of the webinar

Panelist handouts:  Vaidehi Ramanathan     Peter J. Torres     Chloe Brotherton     Jeremy Rud     Patricia Cukor-Avila

The webinar is open to scholars at all levels who wish to know more about this section of the journal, about the kinds of papers we wish to attract for it, and the ‘ideal’ LPP paper.


Andres Coetzee is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan and Editor of Language.








Peter Joseph Torres is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Department at the University of California, Davis. His applied and interactional sociolinguistic work focuses on language policies as well as language and health. His current research is on the language of the opioid crisis in health policies and medical practice.







Jeremy A. Rud is a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at UC Davis. His research broadly focuses on the role of language in the asylum process and addresses issues of asylum seeker credibility at intersections of public policy, narrative performance and entextualization, and speech perception. Through this work he uncovers and challenges taken-for-granted notions of language held by institutions that act as gatekeepers to asylum seekers.






Chloe Brotherton is a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at UC Davis. Her research focuses on language, gender, and sexuality, using discourse analytic and sociophonetic methods. She also is interested in how language policy, ideology, and identity are intertwined. Her dissertation investigates these connections in the context of feminist and queer activist communities of practice on a university campus.







Patricia Cukor-Avila is Professor of Linguistics at the University of North Texas. Her primary research focuses on language variation and change, specifically in African American Vernacular English. She is co-editor with Guy Bailey and Natalie Maynor of The Emergence of Black English: Text and Commentary (1991). She is also co-author with Guy Bailey and Juan Salinas of a forthcoming Cambridge Elements monograph, Inheritance and Innovation in the Evolution of Rural African American English and with Guy Bailey on a forthcoming book The Springville Project: Explorations in the Synchronic Approach to Language Change.  







Vaidehi Ramanathan is a Professor of Applied Sociolinguistics in the Linguistics Department at the University of California at Davis. Her research interests span language and public policy as well as language and health. Her publications include Alzheimer's discourse: some sociolinguistic dimensions (1995, Erlbaum); The politics of TESOL education (2001), Routledge), The English-Vernacular Divide: postcolonial language policies and practice (2005); Bodies and Language: Health, ailments, disabilities (2009) and Language and memory: explorations in historical sociolinguistics. She has also edited Language Policies and Dis)Citizenship: Rights, Access, Pedagogies, and co-edited a special issue of TESOL Quarterly on language policy and a special issue of Language Policy on health.