Because the computer speaks English?

I’m pleased to say that a paper of mine, first presented in the Soillse seminar series in Edinburgh last year, has now been published in the Journal of Media Law. An open access version (post-peer review) is available for download here, and if you or your institution subscribe to the journal, the final version is found here.

The abstract is below. In essence, what I was trying to do here was (a) identify some of the issues concerning language rights and language policy in respect of the media in the context of changes in how media technologies are used, and (b) propose some approaches and tools that can inform a more thorough response to those issues. Much of the evidence in the paper is taken from periodic reports under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, although in the later sections I set some (tentative) theoretical points on the convergence of a number of ways of thinking – especially what I am thinking of as a digital linguistic landscape (in the line of my interest in physical and virtual spaces). I will have more to say on this in later papers.

Oh, and the title is the often-quoted remark attributed to a President of Kyrgyzstan (Askar Akayev), quoting his son on why he wanted to learn English. Al Gore told the story in a speech about the Internet in 1994, although I encountered it in Goldsmith & Wu’s Who Controls The Internet? a decade later, and it is frequently cited in work on multilingualism and technology.

Because the computer speaks English? Language rights and digital media
(2015) 7(1) Journal of Media Law
Open Access link
Subscription link

Legal measures in support of minority language media often take for granted particular models of broadcasting, but are these models valid? How flexible are key instruments such as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages? After assessing the applicability of existing law on minority languages to various media platforms and services, it is argued that combining approaches from cyberlaw with sociolinguistic themes of the linguistic landscape and functional completeness can provide a more elaborate account of minority language rights and policy in the context of technological development.

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