Domenico Amirante

Law, Language and the State in a global world: a comparative investigation

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The essay is a preliminary attempt at describing the relations between language and law within a globalized and multicultural State from a comparative law perspective. In fact, in the contemporary multicultural State, linguistic diversity represents a decisive challenge, calling for specific public policies and constitutional adjustments. This implies also a methodological effort by comparative lawyers in reconsidering the role of linguistic diversity, not only to determine an expansion of language rights, but also to modify the structure of State. This may occur through a territorial recognition of minority languages or through the application of asymmetrical federalism and in a certain cases may lead to shape the same structure of the State as multilingual. The analysis is conducted through the comparison between the traditional liberal models of Nation-States like France (with its monolingual policy) or the US (claiming neutrality towards the recognition of cultural minorities) and some multicultural States such as Canada, India or Switzerland (where the management of language diversity has influenced the same structure of the respective Constitutions). Then the essays explores the tensions linked to the extraordinary diversity of languages in contemporary Europe and ends up by pointing at some new examples of multilingual Constitutions recently enacted in South America (like Bolivia and Ecuador).


  • Multicultural State
  • Constitution
  • Linguistic Diversity


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