“Disaster Language Policy”: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Pandemic

Cecilia Gialdini

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper will address the issue of planning language policies to ensure linguist justice during emergencies. Looking at the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will outline the necessity for "disaster linguistic" planning, as well as a more comprehensive linguistic capacity-building in the public sector.
The will start from the premise that no country in the culturally and linguistically homogeneous, due to the presence of national minorities, asylum seekers, and refugees. Every country needs to design language policies, and the choices make in this regard can create disadvantages among the population. Furthermore, extraordinary situations may enhance the discrepancies and linguistic barriers.
Taking the United Kindgom and Italian experience during the pandemic as an example, the paper will show how the public sectors, in most cases, did not have a "disaster plan" for linguistic diversity. That has result in failure to deliver efficient and inclusive linguistic policies to tackle the health emergency.
The lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic should then serve as a input to raise awareness to language policy and planning, and to create strategies to ensure linguistic justice even during emergencies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2021
EventPolitical Studies Association International Conference 2021 - Online
Duration: 29 Mar 202131 Mar 2021


ConferencePolitical Studies Association International Conference 2021
Internet address


  • Linguistic Justice
  • emergency management
  • Linguistic diversity


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