IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Linguistic justice in policy and practice

12 February 2020, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

View of a globe. Image: Juliana Kozoski via Unsplash

In this talk, Professor Robert Phillipson will assess whether the learning and use of English is being promoted so energetically worldwide that it strengthens multilingualism or marginalises other languages.

Event Information

Open to





John O'Regan


UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way

Universal human rights declarations aim to counteract the injudicious effects of market forces, but language policy and language rights are weakly represented in them. There are measures to ensure linguistic justice in some EU functions and in policies in some member states. Whether the increasing dominance of English represents a threat to other languages or not needs empirical investigation in specific contexts. 

The five Nordic countries (Scandinavia and Finland) have policies aiming to ensure a healthy balance between English and national languages, and recommend policies to achieve ‘parallel competence’ in higher education. This goal needs to be integrated into policies for ensuring linguistic justice for speakers of all languages.

The UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics hosts a number of research seminar events throughout the academic year. These are led by leading scholars in fields of research associated with applied linguistics and TESOL. The seminars are free and open to all.


About the Speaker

Robert Phillipson

Professor Emeritus at Copenhagen Business School

Robert Phillipson is Professor Emeritus in the Department of International Language Studies and Computational Linguistics at the Copenhagen Business School. He is best known for writing ‘Linguistic Imperialism’ (1992) and for his work, often with Tove Skuttnab-Kangas, on language endangerment and linguistic human rights.