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Towards an index of linguistic inclusion

Project Description

1. Identifying core dimensions of linguistic inclusion (or its converse, linguistic exclusion or disadvantage) associated with measurable political and socio-economic consequences for identifiable groups of individuals.
2. Designing indicators that make use of available statistical data to characterise and quantify such forms of inclusion/ exclusion/ disadvantage.
3. Combining these indicators to create an “index of linguistic inclusion” that can be employed as a policy tool to evaluate, in a comparative perspective, the effectiveness of measures aimed at mitigating language-related inequalities. The project develops an index that makes it possible to produce interregional and international comparisons and rankings and thereby stimulate public debate on linguistic inclusion.

Theoretical Framework

It is organised in two substantive dimensions of linguistic disadvantage (practical and symbolic) and two temporal dimensions. This gives a table with four distinct (albeit interrelated) boxes that define and organise four categories of indicators. Practical disadvantage arises when a certain language policy creates disparities in access to public services. The possibility of using one’s language in communication with local authorities can carry symbolic meaning linked to political recognition and cultural dignity. Time is the second relevant dimension. Indicators should be able to evaluate linguistic disadvantage in different spheres of public life both in the short and in the long term. The needs of tourists in the emergency room, for example, are very different from stable foreign residents.


It is based on both deductive and inductive approaches. The deductive approach, by which broad conceptual ideas are specified in constitutive dimensions and then converted into instruments of empirical research, relies on the following principles: (i) an indicator should have a clear and accepted normative interpretation, that is, there should be a general agreement that a movement in a particular direction represents an improvement; (ii) it should be robust and statistically validated; (iii) it should be responsive to effective policy intervention and difficult to manipulate. The inductive approach includes an in-depth analysis of existing databases of relevant information and existing linguistic indicators, and feedback from actors involved in language policy in different (officially or de facto) multilingual regions or cities.


Indicators will focus on the outcomes of language policies rather than inputs, because the aim is to measure the effects of a policy and not the means by which they are achieved. Information concerning the context and the costs of language policy are of course relevant.


Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at

The final deadline for application is 12 April 2019.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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