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POLITICAL THEORY / October 2001Patten / POLITICAL THEORY AND LANGUAGE POLICYPOLITICAL THEORY AND LANGUAGE POLICYALAN PATTENMcGill UniversityLanguagepolicyisanissueofconsiderableethical,political,andlegalimportanceinjurisdictionsaroundtheworld.InrecentyearsintheUnitedStates,“English-only”activistshavewagedacampaigntoremoveanumberofrightspreviouslyenjoyedbylinguisticminoritiesandtodeclareEnglishtheofficiallanguageofthecountry.IntheEuropeanUnionandinmanydevelopingcountries,effortstoconstructcommoninstitutionsandasharedidentityhavebeenseverelycomplicatedbylinguisticdiversityanddemandsforrecognitionbynumerouslanguagegroups.AndinQuebec,Catalonia,Belgium,theBalticStates,andelsewhere,locallinguisticmajoritieshavesoughttonormalizetheuseoftheirlanguagesinthepublicsphere,oftentothe protests of other language groups.Despitetheubiquityandsalienceoflanguagedisputes,surprisinglylittlehasbeenwrittenaboutlanguagepolicyfromanormativepointofview.1Itistrue,ofcourse,thattherehasbeenagreatsurgeofinterestinm...