An empirical validation study of Spolsky's language policy model

Victoria Van Oss, Piet Van Avermaet, Esli Struys, Wendelien Vantieghem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates Spolsky's conception of language policy as the amalgam of language beliefs, language practices and language management. To the best of our knowledge, no quantitative evidence has ever been produced for his theoretical model. The current paper addressed this void, albeit specifically in the domain of Early Childhood Care and Education - scarce in terms of language policy research, but vital for children's (multilingual) language development. An Exploratory Factor Analysis yielded three valid and reliable scales that capture language policy from the perspective of early childhood professionals (N=305) associated with infant welfare clinics in the Flemish Community of Belgium. Furthermore, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis indicated that the three components are 'independent' as well as 'interconnected,' thereby quantitatively corroborating Spolsky's theory. We conclude that language policy is no unitary concept; therefore, if one intends to study language policy holistically, the three indispensable components are to be identified. As a corollary, one simply cannot investigate management without considering beliefs and practices, and vice versa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Issue number1
Early online dateApr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • language policy
  • multilingualism
  • early childhood care and education


Dive into the research topics of 'An empirical validation study of Spolsky's language policy model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this