Date: 14 December 2020

Keynote speaker: Prof. Helen Kelly-Holmes, University of Limerick, Ireland.

AGM agenda & minutes (for members): click here.

Access arrangements: BSL/English interpreters and captioners.

Keynote address, Helen Kelly-Holmes

'Language Policy 4.0 – are we ready, are we relevant?'

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD2HebcI0AA


Using Friedman’s (2007) framework of globalization, in this paper, I explore the readiness of language policy in terms of focus, theories and methods for dealing with what I am terming ‘Language policy 4.0’. According to Friedman’s ‘Flat World Theory’, globalization can be understood in terms of different eras primarily in relation to the key actors of the respective era. Thus, he sees globalization 1.0 as being driven primarily by countries; globalization 2.0 by companies; and globalization 3.0 by individuals in combination with technology. Web 4.0 will see increasing automation through AI, augmented reality and big data. At play in these different eras have been different technological imperatives and economic frameworks which have determined the shape of these different eras of globalization. In this paper, I argue that Friedman’s framework albeit flawed and partial is a good one for exploring and understanding language policy. Reviewing how language policy has evolved in relation to understanding globalization 1.0 and 2.0, I then go on to question how language policy studies are grappling with the current era of globalization 3.0 as well as how well it is prepared for the evolving Web 4.0. I would like to pose two important questions: First of all, is language policy ready and able to cope with an era in which language management is increasingly automated? Are our tools, concepts and methods fit for purpose and, if not, how might they need to evolve? Secondly, how can / why should language policy be relevant in this technologized present and future?

Friedman, T. (2007) The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twenty-first Century (Revised Edition). London and New York: Penguin.

Helen Kelly-Holmes is Professor of Applied Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, and since 2017 has been Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Ollscoil Luimnigh/University of Limerick. Her research focuses on the interrelationship between media, markets, technologies and languages. She is particularly interested in the economic aspects of multilingualism, especially in relation to minority languages and the global political economy of English. From 2015-2020, Helen was Co-Editor-in-Chief of Language Policy and she also is co-editor of Palgrave's long-running Language and Globalization book series (with Sue Wright). She holds an Adjunct Professorship in Discourse Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Recent publications include:

Gonçalves, K. and Kelly-Holmes, H. (Eds.) Language, Global Mobilities, Blue-Collar Workers and Blue-collar Workplaces. (Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism). Routledge https://www.routledge.com/p/book/9780367279004

Kelly-Holmes, H. (2019). Multilingualism and Technology: A Review of Developments in Digital Communication from Monolingualism to Idiolingualism. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 39, 24-39. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190519000102