Supervisor: prof Triin Vihalemm (Tartu Ülikool)
Opponent: dr Gabrielle Hogan-Brun (Bristoli Ülikool ja Baseli Ülikool)
Answering the question of whether and how language policies can succeed also requires a critical reconsideration of what language policy is about in terms of goals stated and infrastructure developed. Rather than asking how the existing policy quarantees survival of a language norm, the question should be whether and how the policy address language users' needs, ensuring social justice, economical well-being and participation in democratic processes in the society for all it's members. Without language users' active choice to use a language, there is no (future for a) language. For that purpose an extended and interdisciplinary concept of language policy is offered that goes beyond sociolinguistics and the ethnography of language, reaching out into political and social science, with a focus on structure and agency and a concern for the distribution of resources to offer best possible solutions for language users' needs. This apporach outlines language policy as a dynamic and multilayered process, passing through circles of policy genesis, implementation, (re)creation and (re)appropriation, and being thus constantly in the making, involving different agents on different societal levels. The central point of the thesis is that a certain amount of flexibility in language policy design is required to meet language users' changing needs in different settings and on different stages of their life. The flexibility of language policy design means that different agents on different interstate, state, local municipality and institutional level should be involved to quarantee successful identification and solving of local and contextual language problems. Key points of the thesis are highlighted through contrasting examples of Estonia's overt (or thick) and Denmark's covert (or thin) language policy design. Using an analytical paradigm of allocatively and authoritatively distributed resources, and moving from the macro level in legislation to the meso and micro levels of language activity, the thesis demonstrates how 'free spaces' can open up, revealing potential for bottom-up agency to solve language problems in the allocative model, whereas the authoritative model (as in Estonia) can lead to 'holes' through its insufficient distribution of resources to support succesful linguistic integration, since the majority of resources are used on control.