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Scientific article
English

Assessing efficiency and fairness in multilingual communication: Towards a general analytical framework

Published inAILA review, vol. 20, p. 87-105
Publication date2008
Abstract

The comparison between various language policies that aim to manage multilingual communication ought to rely on some robust methodology for evaluation. This paper discusses the possibility to found such a methodology on the well-established concepts of efficiency and fairness. Assessing efficiency implies comparing how resources are allocated under alternative policy options (or scenarios) in order to identify the policy promising the best overall allocation. Assessing fairness calls for the evaluation of the distributive effects of each scenario on the linguistic groups involved in communication — that is, ascertaining who benefits and who loses (and how much) under alternative policy options. This paper provides the background for developing indicators of effective and fair communication, which synthesise some desirable characteristics of communication processes. They enable us to compare different ways of handling communication in multilingual settings. In order to assess effectiveness and efficiency, we work with three (not mutually exclusive) definitions of communication, namely, informatory, cooperative and strategic communication. These definitions reflect the different (main) communicational intents of the actors. In order to assess fairness, we establish a distinction between communication in terms of access, process and outcome.

Keywords
  • Language policy
  • Language fairness
  • Language efficiency
  • Communication
  • Effectiveness
Citation (ISO format)
GAZZOLA, Michele, GRIN, François. Assessing efficiency and fairness in multilingual communication: Towards a general analytical framework. In: AILA review, 2008, vol. 20, p. 87–105. doi: 10.1075/aila.20.08gaz
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ISSN of the journal1461-0213
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