Discourse, Social Scales, and Epiphenomenality of Language Policy: A Case Study of a Local, Hong Kong NGO
AuthorTso, Elizabeth Ann
Keywordscritical discourse analysis
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this multi-methodological (Gee, 2011; Hult & D. Johnson, 2015) study, I examine Richard Ruiz's (2014) original concept of the epiphenomenal nature of language in language policy and planning (LPP) across social scales (Hult, 2013) in Hong Kong. While research in Hong Kong has focused on interactions between schools, teachers, students, parents, business, and the government, the work on non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remains a neglected social scale. Addressing this gap, I examine the role of a local NGO, Hong Kong Unison (Unison), as a social actor involved in the negotiation of language-in-education policies for the city's ethnic minority students. Through the collection of one decade of publically accessible documents, I created a corpus of Unison's work. Corpus linguistics approaches and a wider-angle perspective to critical discourse analysis (cf. Tian, 2006, 2008) were combined in order to highlight salient patterns and discourses within the data (cf. Baker, 2016). Corpus and discursive analyses indicate that Unison is primarily involved in transforming language policies through their active role in increasing public awareness about the social, political, and educational difficulties ethnic minority students encounter in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the NGO’s ideologies reveal the epiphenomenal nature of LPP. Epiphenomenality reflects how decisions made about language are influenced and shaped by non-linguistic phenomena. Unison's negotiation of LPP demonstrates how their decisions about language are connected to issues of equality, justice, economic opportunity, educational attainment, and social advancement. These ideologies manifest themselves in dialogue across social scales, demonstrating Unison's impact in negotiating LPP in Hong Kong. This study, while providing more insight into LPP research by examining the role of a local NGO, continues to raise questions on how to best understand how multiple scales intersect in the policymaking process, and how the epiphenomenal nature of language shapes decision-making.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching