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Shallow Equality and Symbolic Jurisprudence in Multilingual Legal Orders$
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Janny H.C. Leung

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210335

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190210335.001.0001

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Mapping a Global Phenomenon

Mapping a Global Phenomenon

The Spectacle of Official Multilingualism

(p.39) Chapter 2 Mapping a Global Phenomenon
Shallow Equality and Symbolic Jurisprudence in Multilingual Legal Orders

Janny H.C. Leung

Oxford University Press

Having explored how official multilingualism has emerged as a product of historical and sociopolitical development, this chapter moves on to survey the extent of the phenomenon in the contemporary world. The data set offers a panoramic view of jurisdictions around the world that are officially bilingual or multilingual. Although there is not enough room to provide a detailed history of any particular jurisdiction, the chapter annotates the data and makes a number of generalized observations. The global data provide a sense of scale that speaks for itself and allow one to observe patterns and trends that help make sense of the phenomenon. Although linguistic demographics and the ideology of linguistic nationalism have a role to play, they are insufficient to explain the data. Official multilingualism is largely a post-colonial legacy, but there is also an emergent trend that official language policy responds to market forces under late capitalism.

Keywords:   multilingualism, jurisdiction, global, data, post-colonial, capitalism, official language, Asia, Africa, neoliberalism

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