Determination of an official language is one of the most complex and important tasks befalling every multilinguistic state. This decision is political in nature. Its impact for members of linguistic minorities is fateful due to its effect on these groups' socioeconomic status, as well as their collective identity. This article analyzes how two deeply divided democracies—India and Israel—determined and implemented language policies with respect to two major minority languages—Urdu and Arabic, respectively. The policy of secular democratic India regarding Urdu, a language of its Muslims minority, is compared with that of Israel, an ethnic democracy, regarding Arabic, the language of its Arabic Palestinian minority. The findings indicate that both states have consigned the minority language to a marginal position on the public stage. In addition, significant differences are found between formal policy and political practices in linguistic matters, especially true in the case of Israel.
|Original language||English GB|
|Number of pages||30|
|Journal||Israel Studies Forum|
|State||Published - 2006|