English language policy as ideology in multilingual Khorog, Tajikistan

Brook Bolander

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This chapter explores English language policy as ideology in multilingual Khorog, Tajikistan. English has steadily grown in importance in Khorog since the late 1990s, and particularly as a result of efforts by the spiritual leader of the transnational Ismaili community, the Aga Khan IV, to promote English among his local followers, who form a majority in Khorog. Ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Khorog shows that ideologies of English closely interact with ideologies of Tajik, Russian, and Shughni. In this chapter, I will analyse the discursive construction and coconstruction of ideologies of English, Tajik, Russian, and Shughni by drawing on transcriptions of interviews and particularly a group discussion in which I asked my interlocutors to take on the role of language policy-makers for Tajikistan. I will thereby show that issues of language policy and ideology in Khorog need to be explored against the backdrop of both national and transnational policy-making efforts, notably attempts on the part of President Emomali Rahmon to forge a closer union between the official language Tajik and the nation-state of Tajikistan, and of the Aga Khan to promote English.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscursive Approaches to Language Policy
EditorsElisabeth Barakos, Johann Unger
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781137531346
ISBN (Print)9781137531339
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Language Policy
  • Spiritual Leader
  • Language Ideology
  • Ethnographic Fieldwork
  • Discursive Construction

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