LANGUAGE POLITICS IN THE PORTUGUESE SPEAKING COUNTRIES: INSTITUTIONAL ASPECT

  • The authors:
    Olga A. Saprykina
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 346-351
  • Section: PROBLEMS OF INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND TRANSLATION
  • URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/346-351/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09669-2019-346-351

Abstract. Modern language politics in the countries of the Portuguese
speech is a continuation of the ideological and political activities in the
diverse space of the lusophonic world. The main goal of the language
politics is the formation of the language environment that could be favorable
to the state, to the authorities that realize the political communication. The
language environment is created within the limits of state formations and,
therefore, depends on the state structure.
The language environment is an integral area of national culture. In the
language politics, a literary language is a powerful means for the formation
and construction of national-cultural identity.
Language politics measures can be applied in three areas – institutional,
educational and economic ones. The institutional aspect of the language
politics helps to determine the status of a language. It normally occurs in
various documents (from state constitutions to documents on intercultural
cooperation) and serves multiple activities in the intergovernmental
institutions.
Language politics is usually considered to be a sum of rational measures
that could help to catch the language problems. The realization of the
language politics is associated with the government, which chooses the
principles of behavior concerning the language.
It is not easy to draw the difference between the official and state languages.
There are some states in which native (indigenous) languages are also
official and state. In some cases, the state and official languages are
identified. The difference between them is drawn on the basis of the
sociolinguistic situation. If the status of the official language is emphasized
in the linguistically diverse state, the part of the state/national language is
determined mainly in mono-ethnic states. On the other hand, it is only in the
relation to the state language that its integration function and capacity to
serve as a state symbol are mentioned. The official language is usually
described as the language of a multinational state, endowed with various
official functions.
In the Portuguese-speaking countries there are different documents that vary
in content, level and degree of legislative influence. Thus, the main
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DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-346-351
documents that emphasize the question of language, are the basic laws in the
countries of the Portuguese language, i.e. their constitutions. Some state
laws, laws of regional level, acts, decrees, which are issued by state
institutions also refer to the language problems.
In the formation of legislation on language in the Portuguese-speaking
countries, several stages can be distinguished: promotion and adoption or
updating of constitutions; integration of the legislative initiatives;
preparation of the documents concerning the common language standard
(especially, in the field of spelling).
In lusophonic countries, the division into official language (língua oficial),
co-official languages (línguas co-oficiais), native/indigenous language or
mother tongue (língua materna) and national language (língua nacional) is
accepted. Combinations of official, co-official, native (autochthonous) and
state languages form complicated configurations – language profiles.
Language profiles vary in different countries of the Portuguese world.
In the Portuguese-speaking countries, which are ethnically heterogeneous,
the Portuguese language is mainly official, what is declared in the respective
Constitutions.
In Portugal and in Brazil, for example, Portuguese is considered to be the
official language. In the People’s Republic of Angola, Portuguese is
recognized as the official (state) language alongside with the indigenous
languages. In other countries of the Portuguese speech – in the republics of
Cape Verde, Bissau, Guinea, São Tome and Príncipe, East Timor and
Equatorial Guinea, – Portuguese has the status of an official language.
The integration activity in the lusophonic world, supported by the linguistic
unity, is supported with the help of the Commonwealth of the Portuguesespeaking Countries.
Keywords: Language politics, institutional aspect, official language, state
languages, indigenous languages

Olga A. Saprykina
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia,
e-mail: inberorom@philol.msu.ru
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0228-5033

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