The central question of Marten's volume is how languages and parliaments
interact, and what role a parliamentary institution can play within
language policy. This question is addressed in particular in the context of
minority languages and language revitalisation processes. Based on in-depth
research of parliamentary documents and interviews with policy makers,
scholars, and language activists from Scotland and Norway, the study
investigates how the establishment of the decentralised Scottish Parliament
and the parliamentary assembly for the Sámi population in Norway, the
Sameting, have generated increased efforts of language maintenance of the
Gaelic and Sámi languages respectively.
For this purpose, Marten on the one hand contrasts the situations before
and after the establishment of these two parliaments in 1999 and 1989
respectively, and on the other hand compares the developments in the two
countries in the light of the different political structures in Scotland
and Norway. The study illustrates how negotiations take place between
supportive and reluctant policy makers in the two parliamentary contexts
and shows how they have eventually resulted in a higher level of
empowerment of the two speech communities. As a result, the volume
therefore shows that a decentralisation of parliaments can indeed lead to
increased language maintenance efforts, albeit within certain limits.
Parliamentary decentralisation is thus identified to be one piece within
the large puzzle of minority language policy. As such, it is related to the
theoretical literature on minority languages by suggesting an additional
component in the evaluation of minority language situations.