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German Life and Letters 61:4 October 2008 00168777 (print); 14680483 (online)

THE GERMAN LANGUAGE AND THE FUTURE OF EUROPE: TOWARDS A RESEARCH AGENDA ON THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE Patrick Stevenson
ABSTRACT

Most accounts of nationalism and national identity include the idea of a national language as a foundational element and key organising principle, yet even before the advent of new technologies of communication these defining codes were rarely, if ever, contained within national boundaries. The coexistence of what are perceived as distinct linguistic varieties (languages) is therefore the normal condition of the nation-state. This contradiction between the multilingual reality of individuals and communities and what Ingrid Gogolin calls the monolingual habitus is fundamental to Susan Gals (2006) discussion of the ironies of linguistic regimes in contemporary Europe that continue to be based on Herderian principles in spite of the pluralising rhetoric of European institutions. In this paper, I start from Gals observations on migration, minorities, and multilingualism in Europe and consider their implications for a research agenda on the politics of language that takes account of the multiple layers of language policy on the one hand and the complexity of individual experiences with language on the other. I then illustrate this agenda with reference to a project on the present relationship between the German language and different forms of social identification in central Europe.

INTRODUCTION

The voluminous literature on linguistic nationalism demonstrates the pervasive importance of ideas about language in the history of nationalism and the study of national identities, especially but not exclusively in Europe, and arguably nowhere more persistently and problematically than in the German context. 1 Contrary to optimistic but na ve predictions that the resolution of the Cold War would usher in a new post-national era in Europe, in which linguistic nationalism would wither alongside other supposedly redundant ideologies, the idea of national languages continues to be invoked today, if anything with increasing vigour and insistence in the context of growing transnational, trans-European flows of people and the increasingly fluid multilingual demography of the continent. This Europe
1

See, for example, Stephen Barbour and Cathie Carmichael (eds), Language and Nationalism in Europe , Oxford 2000; Stephen May, Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language , Harlow 2001; M air ead Nic Craith, Europe and the Politics of Language: Citizens, Migrants and Outsiders , Basingstoke 2006; Colin H. Williams, Called Unto Liberty! On Language and Nationalism , Clevedon 1994; Sue Wright, Language Policy and Language Planning: From Nationalism to Globalisation , Basingstoke 2004.

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of many tongues may seem to accord with the institutionalised rhetoric of plurality and diversity in the European Union, but I shall argue that it is in fact a challenge to the aims repeatedly proclaimed by the Commission. Ideas about language, and the values and beliefs that underlie them, therefore raise particular questions about social arrangements and the relationships between individuals and states in contemporary Europe, and the consequences are manifested at different levels both within and across national borders: in the formulation of policy at the macro level but also in terms of the options available for individual processes of identification. My object in this paper is to identify some of the ways in which ideas about language figure in contemporary public discourses in the European context for example, on the nation, on citizenship, on Europe itself and also in personal narratives on social change in Europe. In particular, I want to suggest that the (study of the) politics of language will continue to play a major role in the development of conceptions of the European future, and that the position of German in this respect is especially revealing. I shall begin by problematising the conception of language in which European discourses on multilingualism are rooted. I shall then consider some of the implications of these discourses for researching language in relation to both national and transnational contexts, and finally illustrate some of these general issues with reference to a programme of research focusing on the German language in Germany and its eastern neighbours.

PROBLEMATISING LANGUAGE AND EUROPEAN DISCOURSES ON MULTILINGUALISM

Linguists are generally willing to refer to languages as convenient fictions, but not without a sense of discomfort at the conceptual fuzziness with which the term is used in both non-technical and political discourses. For some, this is a strictly terminological issue of inexact definitions, while for others it is a profoundly ideological question. For example, language names are portmanteau terms with ambiguous and often contested relationships to their referents (that is, they may function as a collective label for many varieties but are also often used as a synonym for the standard variety alone); and the scope of languages is not linguistically determinable (the inclusion of individual varieties as constituents of one language or another is linguistically arbitrary and often politically contingent, as in the frequently cited cases of Czech and Slovak, or Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian). A consequence of this is that the status of language does not derive from an inherent property in a set of linguistic forms; it is ascribed and in the gift of powerful elites. This is an important distinction because linguistic nationalism rests on a mythical conception of sameness and difference in linguistic forms, of discrete entities that are internally homogeneous and externally sharply bounded. In the present context, then, it is important to
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bear in mind Susan Gals argument that such a conception of language is a modern European invention and a significant part of the colonial legacy of European states:
Speaking is a universal feature of our species, but language as first used in Europe and now throughout the world is not equivalent to the capacity to speak, but presumes a very particular set of features. Languages in this limited sense are assumed to be nameable (English, Hungarian, Greek), countable properties (one can have several), bounded and differing from each other, but roughly inter-translatable, each with its charming idiosyncrasies that are typical of the group that speaks it. 2

The arbitrary segmentation of naturally non-discrete phenomena into clearly distinct entities is, of course, a characteristic procedure in our semantic management of the world in which we live, but the naturalisation 3 of this conception of languages as nameable and countable has clear ideological and political advantages. For example, it provides grounds for inclusion and exclusion in terms of membership of social groups, and through the common association with geographical space it permits the establishment of natural territorial limits of authenticity and of authority (linguistic form X belongs here and is therefore legitimate), a reciprocal relationship between mutually defining and legitimising national and linguistic boundaries. Linguists therefore prefer to talk of linguistic varieties and linguistic practices, which allows them also to include reflexive practices in discussions about language: in Gals terms, the interaction of linguistic practices and the metalinguistic assumptions (language ideologies) through which they are interpreted. 4 Nevertheless, the purported existence of discrete languages and their hierarchically ordered relationships with each other remains one of the most powerful and enduring language ideologies in the European context: one of the ironies of contemporary European societies and pan-European policies on language is the privileged status of national languages across myriad interconnected spaces (for example, home, street, shop), few of which are characterised by the exclusive use of one linguistic variety or even of the set of varieties held to constitute the forms of a language. This irony is compounded by the constant reiteration in EU political rhetoric of multilingualism simultaneously as an inherent condition of European societies and as a key aspiration of the model European citizen. Abundant evidence for this can be found in the plethora of programmes and actions promoting linguistic diversity and social mobility across member
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Susan Gal, Migration, Minorities and Multilingualism: Language Ideologies in Europe, in Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices: Language and the Future of Europe , ed. Clare Mar-Molinero and Patrick Stevenson, Basingstoke 2006, pp. 1327 (p.14). 3 See Norman Fairclough, Language and Power , London 1989. 4 Gal, p. 14.
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states (such as Lingua, Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci, ERASMUS) and of strategies and policy statements, for example, from the Council of Europe, from the Language Policy Unit of the Directorate General for Education and Culture, and most recently (from 1 January 2007) through the designation of a Commissioner for Multilingualism. The first incumbent of this new post, the Romanian Leonard Orban, declared in a speech on 27 April 2007 that multilingualism has been, from the very beginning, part of the genetic code of the European Union, 5 while the Framework Strategy for Multilingualism published by the Commission in November 2005 set the target for every citizen [to have] practical skills in at least two languages in addition to his or her mother tongue (my emphasis). 6 This so-called mother-tongue-plus-two, or, more simply M + 2, strategy may seem a laudable objective but it begs many questions on which the Commission remains silent. For example, what counts here as a mother tongue? Do we all have just one? And which languages should we learn in addition could they include Basque, Arabic, or Vietnamese? The Commissions strategic initiatives and policy statements draw heavily on surveys such as the Eurobarometer Special Report 243 (2006) Europeans and Their Languages , which paints a highly divergent picture of the individual linguistic capacity of European citizens: for example, according to the report, 99 per cent of Luxembourgers can participate in a conversation in another language than their mother tongue, against only 29 per cent of Hungarians. 7 A probably unintended consequence of the Commissions reliance on such data is the implicit reinforcement in its statements of the conception of monolingualism as the natural condition of individuals and of states. The Framework Strategy, for example, in placing responsibility for developing policy firmly with member states, calls for national plans to give coherence and direction to actions to promote multilingualism and concedes that the teaching of regional and minority languages should be taken into account as appropriate alongside opportunities for migrants to learn the language of the host country (and the teaching of migrant languages) (my emphasis). 8 Similarly, the new Commissioner for Multilingualism has published a political agenda for multilingualism with the key objective of providing access to online information services and EU legislation to citizens in their own languages (my emphasis). 9 What seem to be the implications of such statements? The following list is at least plausible:
5 Can Language Diversity Help Towards Creating a European Identity?, <http://ec.europa.eu/ commission barroso/orban/news/docs/270407 Speech Osnabruck public.pdf> (accessed 11.10. 07). 6 Commission of the European Communities, A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism , Brussels 2005, p. 4. 7 See <http://ec.europa.eu/public opinion/archives/ebs/ebs 243 en.pdf> (accessed 11.10.07). 8 Commission of the European Communities, A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism , Brussels 2005, p. 5. 9 See <http://ec.europa.eu/commission barroso/orban/policies/policies en.htm> (accessed 11. 10.07).
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that each member state is associated with one language; that migrant languages are not languages of the host country; that migrants existing (often extensive) multilingual competence is not valued in the same way as the (even only rudimentary) proficiency of non-migrants; that the M + 2 strategy envisages both the M and the 2 as official national languages of member states; and that citizens are identified with these official national languages (I shall return to this point). More generally, both language policies and political discourses on language seem to perpetuate, to borrow Gogolins term, 10 the monolingual habitus of multilingual societies in Europe, and, to quote Gal again, the continuing power of standardising, national regimes that are reinforced sometimes at regional scales despite or because of European supranational agencies. 11
IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCHING LANGUAGE

What does this mean for language research? How can language research help to take forward the debates on current challenges to conceptions of the nation and national identity? What are the important questions, and what kinds of methods are appropriate for answering them? The discussion above shows that one major focus of research on the evolving language dynamics in Europe must be on language policy: as Sue Wright argues, however, we need to go beyond the conventional evaluation of policies as instruments in the management of language contact and investigate:

the different levels of organisation at which language policy is developed; the relationship between the articulation of language ideologies on the one hand and the formulation and implementation of language policies on the other; and the uses and outcomes of policies in their impact on patterns of migration and identification. 12 Jan Blommaert argues that this is where language research must engage with the social, economic, political, and cultural aspects of globalisation. Of particular relevance here is his insistence that this research enterprise will need to explain the various forms of interconnectedness between levels and
10 11

Ingrid Gogolin, Der monolinguale Habitus der multilingualen Schule , M unster / New York, 1994. Gal, p. 22. 12 Wright, p. 24451.
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scales of sociolinguistic phenomena in order to understand properly what language achieves in peoples lives. 13 Following Wrights and Blommaerts injunctions, I would like to identify here two sets of closely related issues that are central to the emerging research agenda on the politics of language: research on global languages and research on national languages. The debates on global English or World Englishes that have developed over the last twenty years have begun to coalesce roughly around two positions, both of which can be construed as consequences or even essential elements of the process of globalisation. On the one hand, what I would call the discourse of conquest characterises English as the feral language of imperialism and colonialism and of cultural homogenisation, progressively supplanting other languages in public and private domains, corrupting their substance, impoverishing the linguistic ecosystem and undermining hard-earned linguistic rights; this position is represented most vigorously in the work of Robert Phillipson and Alastair Pennycook. 14 On the other hand, what I would call the discourse of opportunity positions English as the denationalised and deterritorialised language of global communication (English as Lingua Franca, or ELF), appropriated by its learners and adapted for their own purposes, whether instrumental/pragmatic or symbolic/recreational; Juliane House, Jennifer Jenkins, and Barbara Seidlhofer are leading proponents of this view. 15 However, while most attention has focused on English, a growing body of research recognises the global reach of other languages too: Clare MarMolinero, for example, has analysed the tensions in the global expansion of Spanish between spread from above (what might be called the authorised version, orchestrated by Spanish state-funded organisations such as the Instituto Cervantes and the Real Academia Espa nol) and spread from below (what might be called the vernacular version, promoted primarily through the Latino popular culture of music and mass media in the US). 16 Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly in the present context, these large-scale social processes also affect languages such as German that may still justifiably be considered international, but not global, languages. 17
13 Jan Blommaert, Commentary: A Sociolinguistics of Globalisation, Journal of Sociolinguistics , 7 (2003), 60724 (608). 14 See, for example, Alastair Pennycook, The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language , London 1994; English and the Discourses of Colonialism , London 1998; and Robert Phillipson, Linguistic Imperialism , Oxford 1992. 15 See, for example, Juliane House, Unity in Diversity: English as a Lingua Franca for Europe, in Reconfiguring Europe The Contribution of Applied Linguistics , ed. Constant Leung and Jennifer Jenkins, London 2006, 87104; Jennifer Jenkins, English as a Lingua Franca: Attitude and Identity, Oxford 2007; and Barbara Seidlhofer, A Concept of International English and Related Issues: From Real English to Realistic English , Strasbourg 2003. 16 Clare Mar-Molinero, Subverting Cervantes : Language Authority in Global Spanish, Special Issue of International Multilingual Research Journal , 2(12) (2008) 2748. 17 See Andreas Gardt and Bernd H uppauf (eds), Globalization and the Future of German , Berlin / New York 2004; Ulrich Ammon, Die internationale Stellung der deutschen Sprache , Berlin 1991.
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Nor are these processes confined to the global dimension: they also have knock-on effects in the reordering of relationships between languages at intermediate, regional levels and in changes in the nature of individual linguistic repertoires. I shall return to this point in the next section. Research on national languages has been given fresh impetus through the resumption of the historical relationship between language and space. However, whereas language myths served nineteenth-century nationbuilding projects inter alia in the demarcation of territory (a strategy subsequently applied to the carving up of colonial lands, especially in Africa), they now play a prominent part in responses to the transnational traffic of people and cultural products and increasing diversity, especially in urban populations. The idea of national languages has thus been reconscripted into dominant political discourses in order to counteract the perceived turbulence of multilingualism and assert a hierarchy of belonging that demands language loyalty from citizens and residents, establishing a process of symbolic domination to support the legitimacy of national interests. 18 This in turn is transferred into assumptions about language in non-European contexts in gatekeeping processes introduced to regulate the flow of migrants, especially refugees and asylum-seekers: Jan Blommaert and Ingrid Piller, for example, have shown how often misconceived ideas about non-European languages are instrumental in denying access to the sanctuary of European states (again, I shall return to this below). 19 This emerging research agenda suggests several things: first, the inadequacy of discrete categories of supranational, national, regional, or local for the analysis of language policies; second, the necessity of asking how policy impacts on individual experience; and third, the importance of employing a range of research methods: both text-based (such as discourse analysis) and ethnographic (e.g. observation, interviews, life stories). The kinds of question we then have to ask include:

How are the relationships between different languages or language varieties in particular states or regions being re-arranged or restratified? How are individual repertoires being re-ordered and how does this affect peoples lives? In what sense are these processes aspects of, or reactions to, globalisation? How effective can the intervention of various mediating institutions (national governments, cultural organisations, multinational corporations, representative associations) at different levels be in influencing
18 See Adrian Blackledge, Discourse and Power in a Multilingual World , Amsterdam 2005; Elana Shohamy, Language Policy: Hidden Agendas and New Approaches , London 2006. 19 See, for example, Jan Blommaert, Investigating Narrative Inequality: Analyzing African Asylum Seekers Stories in Belgium, Discourse & Society, 12 (2001), 41349; Ingrid Piller, Where Life and Policy Intersect: Language Testing in the Life of a Multiple Migrant, paper given at Sociolinguistics Symposium 16, University of Limerick, July 2006.
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language behaviours in the context of apparently directionless flows of globalised practices? 20 In the following section, I shall refer briefly to a number of current research programmes that are seeking to address such questions before discussing a recently concluded project on the German language in central Europe.
CURRENT RESEARCH ON LANGUAGE POLICY AND THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE IN EUROPE

The European Commission has itself funded two major research programmes on language policy within its Sixth Framework as contributions to research on the knowledge economy and knowledge-based societies. DYLAN: Language Dynamics and Management of Diversity, an Integrated Project co-ordinated by Anne-Claude Berthoud (Lausanne), focuses on language practices, representations of multilingualism, and language policies, and aims to provide scientific backing to the concept of multilingual repertoires as resources that can be put to use in a variety of professional, political and educational contexts. More specifically:
In the context of the emergence of a knowledge-based society, the project [seeks] to identify the conditions under which Europes linguistic diversity can be an asset rather than a drawback. Its goal is to investigate how different modes of thought, argumentation and action, which are themselves linked to different languages, partake in the development and transmission of knowledge, and what role they play in the control of interactions, problem solving and decision making. 21

LINEE: Languages in a Network of European Excellence, initiated by Peter Nelde (Brussels), aims to develop a sustainable network of sociolinguistic researchers in nine European countries and is conducting a range of individual projects across four thematic areas, including linked projects on European policy discourses, language policies, and linguistic practices affecting both new migrants (e.g. Romanians in Spain, Switzerland and the UK) and old migrants (e.g. Germans in Lorraine and in Romania). 22 A third collaborative project, funded initially by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Testing Regimes: Language, Migration, and Citizenship is developing a comparative perspective on European states policies on incorporating a measure of linguistic proficiency into
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Bernd Hu (eds), ppauf, Globalization Threats and Opportunities, in Gardt and Huppauf pp. 324. 21 See <http://www.dylan-project.org/Dylan en/home/home.php> (accessed 11.10.07). 22 See <http://linee.info/index.php?id=9&L=1> (accessed 11.10.07).
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procedures associated with migration and the acquisition of citizenship and on discourses surrounding these policies. 23 While all of these programmes include the study of German contexts amongst many others, an AHRC-funded programme at the University of Southampton on The German Language and the Future of Europe aims specifically to explore different ways in which, in the centre of Europe, the German language or rather different varieties and different conceptions of it is invoked and promoted in support of different kinds of identification process at local, national, and transnational levels. 24 It encompasses two complementary projects, focusing respectively on Germany and Austria and on their eastern neighbours (the Czech Republic and Hungary). These projects aim, on the one hand, to analyse discourses surrounding language, migration, and citizenship in Germany and Austria in terms of what Blommaert calls language ideological debates, 25 in order to enhance our understanding of the role of language in public conceptions of what it means to belong in contemporary European societies, and on the other hand to explore how German competes with English to retain and expand its influence in the cultural and economic space of central and eastern Europe, and, more importantly, how processes of social transformation have affected individual experiences with language and influenced individual linguistic repertoires. The overarching aim of the programme is to promote precisely the kind of multi-layered research agenda outlined in the previous section.
Theme 1: The national and the transnational: language, migration, and citizenship in Germany and Austria

Across Europe over the last ten years or so, policies and discourses on migration have increasingly been framed by questions of security and of perceived threats physical and cultural to the national heritage of individual states and to the integrity of the nation, even when they have been couched superficially in the pan-European rhetoric of diversity and plurality. This has been accompanied by new debates on the meaning of citizenship and by the introduction in many (but not all) states of gatekeeping mechanisms to regulate and police the process of migration, one of which is a regime of testing of individual proficiency in national languages. 26
See <http://www.testingregimes.soton.ac.uk> (accessed 11.10.07). See <http://www.glipp.soton.ac.uk> (accessed 11.10.07); the main findings of the project will appear in Patrick Stevenson and Jenny Carl, Language Regimes in Central Europe: Policies, Repertoires and Identities , Edinburgh, forthcoming. 25 Jan Blommaert (ed.), Language Ideological Debates , Berlin / New York 1999. 26 See, for example, Rainer Baub ock, Transnational Citizenship: Membership and Rights in International Migration , Aldershot 1994; Stephen Castles and Alastair Davidson, Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging , Basingstoke 2000; Gabrielle Hogan-Brun, Clare Mar-Molinero and Patrick Stevenson (eds), Testing Regimes: Critical Perspectives on Language, Migration and Citizenship , Amsterdam / Philadelphia, forthcoming.
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Measures of this kind have been introduced in Germany and Austria, in both cases in the context of revised immigration legislation, and in both cases legislative steps have gone hand in hand with an intensified focus on language loyalty in public discourses, and alongside national policies imposed from above the regulation of language proficiency has been a feature of local politics too. 27 At the national level, the trajectory of discursive change on nationality and citizenship in Germany began with the publication of a new Staatsangeh origkeitsgesetz in 2000, which introduced a qualified version of jus soli in addition to the established jus sanguinis , granting children of foreign parents born in Germany after 1 January 2000 the right to German citizenship as long as at least one of their parents has been living legally in the country for eight years or more; adults are now entitled to apply for citizenship after eight years residence in Germany, instead of after fifteen years as had previously been the case, but they must have ausreichende Kenntnisse der deutschen Sprache and declare their allegiance to the German constitution. This relatively liberal legislation foreshadowed the groundbreaking report of the Commission on Integration (the so-called S ussmuth Report), the title of which Zuwanderung gestalten Integration f ordern announced the twin concepts that would dominate the discussion on migration in the following years. Marking an irreversible break away from the previous insistence that Germany was not a country of immigration, the Report refutes this discourse of denial
Faktisch ist Deutschland seit langem ein Einwanderungsland. [. . .] Die in der Vergangenheit vertretene politische und normative Festlegung Deutschland ist kein Einwanderungsland ist als Maxime der Zuwanderungs- und Integrationspolitik unhaltbar geworden. 28

and replaces the historically charged concept Einwanderung with the more emollient Zuwanderung, its more positive nuance reinforced through the collocation with Integration. The Report was published two months before 9/11, and its liberalising influence was tempered by growing public concerns over security, linked in much media discussion with the debates on migration. These conflicting tendencies are articulated in the frequent occurrence in political texts of self-qualifying expressions such as Berechtigung and Verpflichtung, and F orderung and Forderung, and much of the 2004 Zuwanderungsgesetz bears the marks of this ambivalence. This hotly contested Immigration Act makes provisions for state-funded language and orientation courses (a requirement for those without sufficient knowledge of German and seeking the right of
For a more detailed account, see Patrick Stevenson, National Languages in Transnational Contexts: Language, Migration and Citizenship in Europe, in Mar-Molinero and Stevenson (eds), pp. 14761. 28 Zuwanderung gestalten Integration f ordern , Bericht der Unabh angigen Kommission Zuwanderung, Berlin 2001.
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permanent residence) but this carrot was accompanied by the wave of a stick: Der Versto gegen die Teilnahmepflicht hat aufenthaltsrechtliche Auswirkungen. 29 Despite the generally more positive tone of the Nationaler Integrationsplan agreed in July 2007, this dual stance was maintained in the revised Act published a month earlier:
Dauerhaft in Deutschland lebende Ausl anderinnen und Ausl ander werden in ihren Integrationsbem uhungen durch so genannte Integrationskurse unterstutzt. Die Kurse umfassen Sprachangebote sowie einen Orientierungskurs, der rechtliche, geschichtliche und kulturelle Kenntnisse vermittelt. Dem Grundsatz des Forderns und F orderns wird bei der Durchf uhrung der Integrationskurse kunftig mehr Gewicht verliehen. Im Gesetz ist das Ziel der erfolg reichen Teilnahme an dem Kurs nunmehr ausdrucklich festgeschrieben. Auch die M oglichkeiten, das Fernbleiben zu sanktionieren, sind vereinheitlicht worden. So kann beispielsweise bei nicht ordnungsgem aer Kursteilnahme das Arbeitslosengeld II um 30 Prozent gekurzt werden. Daru ber hinaus m ussen Integrationsverweigerer k unftig mit Bugeldern bis zu 1.000 Euro rechnen. 30

In public statements of this kind, integration is represented not as a desirable aspiration but as an obligation (failure to participate in integration training is considered tantamount to a refusal to integrate and incurs financial penalties), and language loyalty in the sense of formally demonstrating a degree of proficiency in (standard) German emerges as a tangible measure of good faith and of a willingness to minimise difference. This impression is reinforced by the absence in such contexts of any reference to the potential importance of other languages or of the benefits of multilingualism, in spite of the German governments acceptance of the EU strategy referred to above and in contrast to its position on multilingualism in its foreign cultural policy (see below). At the local level, language policy is characterised by contradictions and inconsistencies in the interpretation and implementation of government policy, as well as by independent initiatives of institutional actors. The most controversial of these was the introduction in early 2006 of a German-only policy by the Herbert-Hoover-Oberschule in Berlin:
Die Schulsprache unserer Schule ist Deutsch, die Amtssprache der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Jeder Sch uler ist verpflichtet, sich im Geltungsbereich der Hausordnung nur in dieser Sprache zu verst andigen. 31
29 Bundesministerium des Innern, Neuregelungen des Zuwanderungsgesetzes, <http://www. bmi.bund.de/dokumente/Meldung.ix m76106.htm> (accessed 06.07.04). 30 See <http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Bundesregierung/BeauftragtefuerInteg ration/Zuwanderungsrecht/zuwanderungsrecht.html> (accessed 11.10.07). 31 Hausordnung der Herbert-Hoover-Realschule, <http://www.herbert-hoover-oberschule.cidsnet. de> (accessed 11.10.07).
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This policy decision, determined entirely through internal processes within the school, was rapidly absorbed into national debates on citizenship, integration, and inclusion, but also into local arguments about rights and obligations within the state institution school, and about the relationships between this institution and the multilingual and multicultural neighbourhood of Wedding in which it is located and of which it is a part. 32
Theme 2: The west and the east: language policy, linguistic repertoires, and identity formation in central Europe

Language policy, and its relationship with the development of individual and group linguistic repertoires, is also the focus of the second project in the Southampton research programme. In this case, however, the perspective is on policy in relation to German outside the German-speaking countries, specifically in central Europe. Before the Second World War, of course, German enjoyed wide prestige as a cultural medium in this region, both as the heritage language of large ethnic German populations and as regional lingua franca. The denigration and marginalisation of its speakers after 1945 and, by association, the stigmatisation of the language accompanied educational policies restricting access to German, either as a first or as a foreign language. Its status and market value were revived under the new political and economic conditions after 1989, and its position has now more or less stabilised as the second most widely used foreign language after English. 33 As Gal argues, each moment of social transformation in this region has resulted in the recontextualisation of the relationships between languages and linguistic varieties and in what Blommaert refers to as the reordering of locally available repertoires. 34 The most recent social changes have resulted in a new indexicality of linguistic forms, manifested across the region in terms of the cultural and economic capital of English, standard German, and national languages, and within individual states in terms of the relationship between national languages and different varieties of German: standard
32

For a detailed analysis of the debates around the Herbert-Hoover-Schule, see Livia Schanze, Language, Migration and Citizenship in Germany, PhD thesis, University of Southampton, forthcoming. Note also that issues such as these highlight the lack of a coherent national language policy in Germany, which prompted the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung to organise a colloquium in September 2006 to address the question: Braucht Deutschland eine bewusstere, koh asive Sprachenpolitik?; see the discussion paper with the same title published by the Humboldt-Stiftung in May 2007. 33 According to the Eurobarometer report cited earlier (note 7 above), English is the most widely used language in the EU and the most learned foreign language, but German has the highest number of L1 speakers in the EU and is the second most widely used language. For detailed statistics on German learners, see Deutsch als Fremdsprache weltweit: Datenerhebung 2005 , published by the St andige Arbeitsgruppe Deutsch als Fremdsprache. Csaba F oldes has written widely on the position of German in central Europe; see, for example, Deutsch in Ostmittel-, Ost-, Nordost- und Sudosteuropa als eine Herausforderung fu r die Sprachenpolitik, Deutsche Sprache , 29 (2001), 34969. 34 Susan Gal, Cultural Bases of Language Use Amongst German-speakers in Hungary, International Journal of the Sociology of Language , 111 (1995), 93102; Blommaert, Commentary, p. 608.
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German is indexical of internationalism, cosmopolitanism, and the present, while traditional German dialects are indexical of parochialism and the past. Focusing on Hungary and the Czech Republic as the states whose citizens, according to the Eurobarometer Report, are most likely to have some knowledge of German (25 per cent and 28 per cent respectively), this project aims to explore the stratigraphy of language policy and the relationship between public discourses and private practices in the commodification and evaluation of language in order to reveal in Blommaerts terms (see above) the interconnectedness between the different levels and scales of these sociolinguistic phenomena. First, on the level of German foreign cultural policy, language policy is more explicitly formulated than it is within domestic social or educational policy (see above) and more focused in its objectives. Constrained by the historical legacy, recent German governments have trodden a fine line between the economic imperative of promoting the German language as a cultural good and the risk of perceived chauvinism, opting for a pragmatic policy of opposing a linguistic monoculture (English-only 35 ) and in the spirit of the EU Strategy promoting a model of European multilingualism in which German represents additional cultural and economic capital over and above the indispensable English. Adopting a multi-agency approach, determined by the Foreign Ministry and delivered principally through the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and the Goethe-Institut (but with the support of non-governmental agencies such as the Robert-BoschStiftung), successive German governments have developed a discourse of dialogue and exchange, appealing to a shared cultural space with its eastern neighbours, but promoting German as a foreign, not as a minority or heritage, language. Second, on the level of domestic cultural and educational policy in Hungary and the Czech Republic, new demand-led provision of language learning opportunities has resulted in greater growth of English but also a renewal of interest in German (again as a foreign language) alongside it. Both states benefit from the educational resources provided by the German and Austrian governments, but, unlike the Czech Republic, Hungary has developed policies explicitly in support of German (and other languages) as a minority language as part of a broader range of policies on national and ethnic minorities, with a view to securing reciprocal measures of support for the large Hungarian minorities in neighbouring states. Third, however, there is a level of language policy formulation that is not often recognised as such. With the removal of political constraints, different language options are now available in the private, personal sphere in terms of how individual speakers allocate particular linguistic varieties a place in their lives (past and present). The reordering of linguistic repertoires is thus not only a question of the position or status of a language within a
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See Robert Phillipson, English-only Europe? Challenging Language Policy, London 2003.
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society or community, but also, as Dell Hymes puts it, of the place of a language in a speakers biography and mode of life. 36 This entails a move away from the analysis and interrogation of public discourses to the study of language biographies, asking where German (in its various forms) fits into peoples lives, both in their memories and in the present. 37 There is often a tension between these narratives and language policies, and they reveal a more complex and differentiated representation of experiences with language and a sense of belonging than the reductive explanations of conventional macrosociolinguistic studies of language maintenance and language shift. 38
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

I began my discussion by problematising the concept of language as a countable construct and emphasising its inherent contingency. I then tried to show how this traditional common-sense conception is as important and far-reaching today in its consequences for the discursive preservation of national integrity in European states as it was in their formation. However, I also wanted to show how contemporary social and political conditions in Europe (and elsewhere) pose new questions about the place of language, and specifically of language ideologies, in national and supranational contexts. In particular, I focused on the relationship between different levels and scales of sociolinguistic practices, taking an approach to policy that is oriented towards outcomes as well as causes and motivations and that takes account of (the articulation of) individual experience with language as well as public discourses on language. By taking, albeit fleetingly, one linguistic construct the idea of German and identifying different ways in which it is enlisted to reinforce, re-establish, or contest a sense of belonging in different social, political, national, and transnational contexts, I hope to have offered some ideas for a possible research agenda on the politics of language, broadly understood, in the still emerging new Europe.

Dell Hymes, Ethnography, Linguistics, Narrative Inequality: Toward an Understanding of Voice , London 1996, pp. 445 (cited in Blommaert, Commentary, p. 614). See, for example, Jenny Carl and Patrick Stevenson, Being a German-speaker in Central Europe: Language Policies and the Negotiation of Identities, in Standard, Variation und Sprachwandel in germanischen Sprachen , ed. Christian Fandrych and Reinier Salverda, T ubingen, pp. 91112; Patrick Stevenson and Jenny Carl, Linguistic Repertoires of Diasporic Communities: Language and the Negotiation of Identities among German-speaking Communities in Central Europe, in German Diasporic Experiences: Identity, Migration, and Loss , ed. Mathias Schulze, James M. Skidmore, David G. John, Grit Liebscher and Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach, Waterloo, Ontario, 2008. 38 See Jenny Carl and Patrick Stevenson, Sociolinguistic Change in Central Europe: The Layering of Language Policy, forthcoming.
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