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In this article, I claim that, while placing his theory of language, language planning, and standardization within a conceptual and historical framework inspired by Modernity, the emergence of the nation-state and liberal democracy, Haugen carefully mapped sociolinguistic phenomena onto their political treatment. And it was this careful and honest cartography—unafraid of generating internal tensions—that revealed aspects of language planning practice and scholarship in need of a critical treatment. Ultimately, Haugen embraced an understanding of linguistics that revolves around normativity and accepts language’s fundamentally political nature.


This article was originally published in Language Policy, available at



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