A Game-Theoreteic Analysis of Minority Language Use in Multilingual Societies
Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón
This chapter studies multilingual democratic societies with highly developed economies. These societies are assumed to have two languages with official status: language A, spoken by every individual, and language B, spoken by the bilingual minority. We emphasize that language rights are important, but the survival of the minority language B depends mainly on the actual use bilinguals make of B. The purpose of the present chapter is to study some of the factors affecting the bilingual speakers language choice behaviour. Our view is that languages with their speech communities compete for speakers just as fi rms compete for market share. Thus, the con ict among the minority languages in these societies does not take the rough expressions such as those studied in Desmet et al. (2012). Here the con flict is more subtle. We model highly plausible language choice situations by means of choice procedures and non-cooperative games, each with different types of information. We then study the determinants of the bilinguals ' strategic behaviour with regard to language. We observe that the bilinguals' use of B is shaped, essentially, by linguistic conventions and social norms that are developed in situations of language contact.