Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice
An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics
Oxford University Press 2016
According to the blurb, Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice: An Introduction to Applied Sociolinguistics (Oxford University Press, 2016) “explores the ways in which linguistic diversity mediates social justice in liberal democracies.” This is true, but tends to understate the force of the arguments being put forward here. Ingrid Piller presents a powerful case for how language is variously overlooked or misunderstood as a factor that entrenches disadvantage and inequality in a globalized society. She argues that discrimination based on language persists, often justified by appeal to the false premise that individuals exercise complete control over their own linguistic repertoires, and reinforced by tacit assumptions embedded in our cultural practices.
In this interview, we talk about some of the relevant domains, and ask how a better-informed approach to linguistic diversity can potentially help in addressing persistent forms of social injustice.