Ruiz’s (1984) language orientations

An analytical framework for understanding language orientations of macro-micro policy agents


  • Muhammad Zeeshan Assistant Professor, Department of linguistics and philology, University of Balochistan


Language policy; Language orientations; Language-as-problem; Language-as-right; Language-as-resource; Linguistic diversity


In light of recent trends/development in language policy and planning (henceforth, LPP), this review paper argues that Ruiz’s (1984) language orientations conceptualization can be used as an analytical framework to better understand the possible ideological orientations (language attitudes/ideologies/beliefs) of explicit nature/macro policy actors and conceptual aspects/micro policy agents of LPP development in the given context. In other words, this analytical model could be used as a guide to analyze given LPP contexts, and to examine the attitudes of different key policy actors (i.e., language policy makers, print media journalists, English language teachers, English language students, among other possibilities) towards language(s). Consequently, in light of such analysis/examination, researchers can expose inequalities caused by the language policy of given contexts and, accordingly, may propose an LPP perspective that could foster social justice and equity. This paper also explains Ruiz’s concept of orientation and its key elements , i.e., language-as-problem, language-as-right and language-as-resource. The language-as-problem orientation considers linguistic diversity as a threat to a given polity. The language-as-right orientation advocates language as a fundamental human right. The language-as-resource orientation opposes the problem-oriented approach as it highlights the benefits of linguistic diversity. I hope this review helps develop understanding regarding Ruiz’s  language theorization and its justification as an analtytical tool to analyze language orientations of macro and micro policy agents of LPP development in a given language policy context in general and in Pakistani context in particular.