We also see a need for a stronger focus on humanistic and sociolinguistic aspects of language policy studies, since some social-science oriented studies in the field have often ignored qualitative issues such as the historical role of religion in the use and status of different languages, officially or informally, in the U.S. and elsewhere. Such issues as the separation of church, state, and education have often had covertly anti-linguistic group undertones, as seen in the events leading up to Meyer v. Nebraska, or the attempt in Oregon in the post World War I era to abolish parochial schools, with the covert intent of also abolishing German-language (parochial) schools.
There is a clear political dimension, too, to the changing status, even within linguistic studies, of Pidginization and Creolization. Put bluntly, such processes were regarded, by most 19th century European philologists preoccupied with national languages, as `unfit' for serious scientific study; and from that academic lead, folk- and many governmental perceptions took and continue to take their cue. But present-day linguistics has come to recognize such processes as pidginization not as aberrant but as central, the very essence of linguistic accommodation in a changed extralinguistic environment. Pidgins and creoles are potentially the source of many new insights on the nature of, and obstacles to, language acquisition, second-language learning, and inter-dialectal communication. The revised status of pidgins and creoles reflects new developments in our understanding of the structure and dynamics of non-standard English, the interrelationship between democracy and grammar (e.g., should standard languages allow change from `below' or should language corpus planning decisions be entrusted to an `academy'?), and the role of diglossia. In all these cases, we see the influence on language policy of a complex matrix of factors, which include historical forces, economic imperatives, ethnic identifications (whether of race, national origin, religion, or language), and class and gender affiliations. But since so many of the contributory factors to shift in language policy are covert and implicit, embedded in a society's habitual or dominant discourses about its own identity and allegiances, charting those factors is not amenable to a chiefly quantitative social-scientific analytical methodology. Quantitative approaches to these matters, we believe, may yield descriptions that are valid as far as they go, but fail at the task of explaining why these outcomes occur. Hence our adoption of a broad socio-humanistic approach sympathetic to studies which are grounded in (to mention just four appropriate traditions) the sociology of language, historical scholarship, sociolinguistics, and anthropology. Recent studies exemplary of the humanistic approach we have in mind are studies which respond to the covert evaluations and societal constructions which help confer prestige on some dialects and may go so far as to delegitimate others, such as Harlan Lane's The Mask of Benevolence (1993); R.B. Le Page and A. Tabouret- Keller, Acts of Identity (1985); J. Joseph and T. Taylor, (eds.) Ideologies of Language (1990); Woolard and Schieffelin (1994), and H. Schiffman, Linguistic Culture and Language Policy (1996).