The present paper seeks to shed light on the language-ideological dynamics of contemporary (1995-2018) Belgian media discourses that present multilingualism as a problem. Conceiving of the media as meaningful actors in (re)producing, recontextualising and naturalising language-ideological discourses, we analyse a corpus of 170 French- and Dutch-medium press articles containing multilingualism-as-problem orientations. Following the Discourse-Historical Approach, thematic and critical-pragmatic analyses were conducted of (1) the news topics in which multilingualism can be identified as a problem and (2) the linguistic mechanisms through which that ‘problem’ is discursively constructed. Results point to three key elements: discourses of victimhood, teleological perspectives on language justice and language history, and (false) dilemmas opposing multilingualism to the community language. These characteristics will emphasise the persistence and instrumentalisation of standard language ideology and ideals of societal monolingualism rooted in Belgian history. The article concludes with a brief reflection on the role of sociolinguistic research in engaging with language ideologies in public language debate.
- Language ideologies
- Language conflict
- Discourse Historical Approach
- language conflict
- multilingualism, Discourse-Historical Approach