Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




Any language policy (and even the absence of a formal language policy constitutes, in effect, a language policy) reflects the social, political, and economic context of public education. At the same time, the effect of that policy on society extends beyond the generation receiving direct services under it, for it influences what that generation brings to the task of educating its children.

The current study explores the relationship between language policy and non-linguistic, non-educational issues in two case studies, both set in Hawaii. The first involves the loss of Hawaiian, the indigenous language, to English, an immigrant language during the Nineteenth Century. The second involves the linguistic assimilation of the Japanese during the first half of the Twentieth Century. While both involve language loss, the long-term effects in each situation have been quite different.

The two case studies provide a historical backdrop for understanding the contemporary setting. The second part of the paper examines several current issues in language policy and language planning in Hawaii, especially as they relate to programs of bilingual education.