Minority language policy regarding personal names – an overview


  • Justyna Walkowiak




Language Policy (LP) with language planning as its implementation is now a well-established field; yet, as evidenced by the scarcity of scholarly literature, seldom concerned with personal names. The paper looks at personal names (given names and surnames) and discusses the ways in which they can be perceived as objects of minority LP. Policies regarding personal names are analysed within the framework of the traditional division of language planning into status, corpus and acquisition planning. These policies are then further examined according to other dimensions: what the object of a LP is, who its agent is, what motivates a LP, what effects it exerts, and how a LP is carried out. Finally, the paper looks at EU minority legislation with reference to personal names, especially at the country-specific opinions which reflect the FCNM monitoring process, highlighting areas of controversy. In conclusion, it is shown how vital personal names are to personal and group identity and, consequently, how control over them helps the nation-state control a minority, although – it is argued – not every regulation constitutes a minority LP


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How to Cite

Walkowiak, J. (2011). Minority language policy regarding personal names – an overview. Eesti Ja Soome-Ugri Keeleteaduse Ajakiri. Journal of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics, 2(1), 367–382. https://doi.org/10.12697/jeful.2011.2.1.24