Language Policies in Multilingual Countries: Western and Non-Western Approaches

Seminars and Colloquia

The presentation was based on the nearly completed Ukrainian-language book that examines the varieties of language policy in a number of Western and non-Western multilingual countries, looking not only at those with official bi- or multilingualism but also at those promoting one dominant language. The book seeks to describe and explain their successes and failures in promoting certain languages, ensuring human rights, maintaining social stability, and forging national unity, with a keen eye on identifying those arrangements that could be adopted in today’s Ukraine. In the presentation, however, Volodymyr Kulyk  focused on similarities and differences between prevalent patterns of multilingualism and its management by the state in Western and non-Western (post-colonial and post-imperial) countries. He explored sociolinguistic, historical and political factors determining these countries’ choices of language policy and their degrees of success in its implementation.


Volodymyr Kulyk is Head Research Fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. From November to December 2020 he is a Visiting Fellow of IWM’s Ukraine in European Dialogue program.

Comment by
Wolfgang  Merkel (Director emeritus of the “Democracy and Democratisation” research program, Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB); Professor em. of Political Science, Humboldt University Berlin; IWM Visiting Fellow)