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Singapore Management University

Singapore

South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Coalitions And Language Politics: Policy Shifts In Southeast Asia, Amy H. Liu, Jacob I. Ricks Jul 2012

Coalitions And Language Politics: Policy Shifts In Southeast Asia, Amy H. Liu, Jacob I. Ricks

Research Collection School of Social Sciences

Why is it that some governments recognize only one language while others espouse multilingualism? Related, why are some governments able to shift language policies, and if there is a shift, what explains the direction? In this article, the authors argue that these choices are theproduct of coalitional constraints facing the government during critical junctures in history. During times of political change in the state-building process, the effective threat of an alternate linguistic group determines the emergent language policy. If the threat is low, the government moves toward monolingual policies. As the threat increases, however, the government is forced to co-opt ...