Language Rights and Teaching

Language Rights and the Teaching of Minoritised Languages

Just. Journal of Language Rights and Minorities, Revista de Drets Lingüístics i Minories

Guest editors:

Anna Marzà & Joaquim Dolz


Societies nowadays are multilingual, that is, composed of groups speaking different languages. From a social point of view, multilingualism is conceived as the set of language practices and varieties, with diverse economic and symbolic status, that coexist in a social and cultural context. Population movements, especially internal and international migration and tourism have amplified the coexistence of languages within the same territory. Hence multilingualism can be considered as a universal phenomenon that develops in various ways according to the situations, the status and the representations about the languages that coexist, and the language policies of the countries and institutions. In this context, the terms bilingual or plurilingual are used to describe individuals who know and practice more than one language, as well as educational systems that aim at the simultaneous development of several languages or a holistic treatment of the languages present in schools (Coste, Moore & Zarate [1997] 2009; Béacco & Byram 2007).


The distribution of linguistic resources both from a social point of view and in educational systems is not always fair (Leglisse 2017). This is manifested most notably in the so-called Global South, decolonized countries where people's epistemic rights are racially devalued (Mignolo 2009). Glottophobia and discrimination are more general phenomena and are present in various situations of linguistic minorisation around the world (Blanchet 2005; 2016; Monzó-Nebot & Jiménez-Salcedo 2017) and prompt an ethical and legal reflection on linguistic uses, in particular on their application in the educational field. It is for this purpose that we propose a thematic issue that revolves simultaneously around the following three areas:

  • the linguistic rights of linguistic minorities,
  • their implementation in educational systems,
  • the pedagogical and didactic innovations that characterize them.


Language rights and especially the rights of linguistic minorities have become an object of study (de Varennes 1996; Henrard 2000; Patrick & Freeland 2004; May (2001) 2012). Likewise, they have received attention from international institutions (Ramón i Mimó 1997), as in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Council of Europe 1992). The report presented by the UN special rapporteur on minority issues (Izsák-Ndiaye 2012) mentions nine concerns regarding the rights of linguistic minorities, three of which seem particularly relevant for this thematic issue: first, the recognition of minority languages and linguistic rights; second, the use of languages in public life; and finally, the position that languages occupy in education.


Educational systems. Faced with the challenge of unequal multilingualism, countries respond with language policies that can be very varied within the educational field. This special issue focuses on the proposals for linguistic organization within educational systems in different contexts. Comparative analyses on the application of the linguistic rights of minorities related to the specific sociolinguistic contexts are particularly relevant. Comparison allows different solutions to emerge as linked to particular situations, revealing the necessary adaptations to the phenomenon of minorisation and their relevance and effectiveness to specific contexts. We are specifically interested in bringing together research that analyses the impacts of the implementation of educational policies catering for the linguistic rights of minorities (Milian i Massana 1992; Kontra et al. 1999; Flors-Mas & Manterola 2021).


Practical experiences promoting minority languages in education present great diversity (Rispail 2017): immersion programs (Artigal 1997; Björklund, Mård-Miettinen & Savijärvi 2017), the incorporation of minority and heritage languages in the classrooms (Maynard, Armand & Brissaud 2020; Sales, Marzà i Ibàñez & Torralba 2023; Prasad & Bettney Heidt 2023), intercomprehension (Bonvino 2015; Carrasco Perea & de Carlo 2019), or mother tongue-based multilingual education (Tupas 2015), among others. Nowadays there is a didactic engineering trend towards the integrated treatment of languages focusing on minority languages, either present in the territories or brought by migration (Perregaux et al. 2003; Pascual 2006; Dolz & Idiazabal 2013; García Azkoaga & Idiazabal 2015; Candelier 2016). The analysis of educational experiences considers the particular teaching strategies, the type of interactions between languages and the dilemmas that occur in educational practices (de Pietro 2004; 2021). Didactic devices can delve into language attitudes and the learning of these languages to limit their minorisation or even to avoid their assimilation or disappearance (Cummins 2000; Candelier 2003; 2008).


Based on the three thematic areas described above, the following questions may guide the preparation of contributions for this special issue:


  1. What are the fundamental language rights related to education?
  • How has the history of language rights influenced multilingual education?
  • What linguistic minorisation and discrimination phenomena can be found in the different sociolinguistic contexts?
  • How do contexts (population movements, historical events, current legislation) affect children's language rights?


  1. How are linguistic rights applied in educational systems?
  • How do educational systems, educational policies, and curriculum designs in different countries or contexts deal with the language rights of minorities?
  • How are language policies in education assessed?
  • What is the impact of educational measures on linguistic rights?


  1. What are the current experiences and dilemmas of educational practices based on language rights?
  • What educational innovations foster the development of positive BAK (beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge) systems about language justice at school?
  • What are the characteristics of the didactic engineering devices that favour the treatment of minority languages?
  • How does the work on language rights impact language learning?


Just. Journal of Language Rights & Minorities, Revista de Drets Lingüístics i Minories is a journal dedicated to disseminating scholarship on the protection, enforcement, and promotion of the rights of linguistic minorities as well as related themes arising from the confluence of language, the social dynamics of dominance and oppression, and the law. Scholars are invited to express their interest in presenting an article with a 5-line proposal or to send any queries directly to the guest editors, Anna Marzà ( and Joaquim Dolz (, by 15 May 2024. Prospective authors are also invited to send the full article by 15 October 2024 through the journal's platform: The word count must range between 6000 and 8000 words (excluding abstract or references, but including footnotes). Manuscripts will be submitted to a double-blind review by a minimum of two expert reviewers. Please include a brief bionote about the authors and their affiliations in a separate file. All abstracts and manuscripts should follow Just's adaptation of the Chicago Manual of Style(CMS) (, both for citation and in other aspects of the writing.

The publication of this special issue will adhere to the following editorial timeline:

Deadline for full articles

15 October 2024

Feedback (double blind peer review)

15 January 2025

Deadline for the final version of the articles

15 February 2025

Final decision

15 March 2025


April 2025



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