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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, European and Regional Studies

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Maxi-Min Language Use A Critical Remark on a Concept by Philippe van Parijs

Jan Kruse
Published Online: 2016-10-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auseur-2016-0009


Philippe van Parijs explains in Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World the concept of maxi-min language use as a process of language choice. He suggests that the language chosen as a common language should maximize the minimal competence of a community. Within a multilingual group of people, the chosen language is the language known best by a participant who knows it least. For obvious reasons, only English would qualify for having that status. This article argues that maxi-min is rather a normative concept, not only because the process itself remains empirically unfounded. Moreover, language choice is the result of complex social and psychological structures. As a descriptive process, the maxi-min choice happens in the reality fairly seldom, whereas the max-min use of languages seen as a normative process could be a very effective tool to measure linguistic justice.

Keywords: maxi-min; minimex; linguistic justice; language policy; language choice


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-26

Published in Print: 2016-10-01

Citation Information: Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, European and Regional Studies, ISSN (Online) 2068-7583, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auseur-2016-0009.

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© 2016 Jan Kruse, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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