1st Edition

Revivals, Nationalism, and Linguistic Discrimination Threatening Languages

By Kara Fleming, Umberto Ansaldo Copyright 2020
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    Is linguistic revival beneficiary to the plight of newly emerging, peripheral or even ‘threatened’ cultures? Or is it a smokescreen that hides the vestiges of ethnocentric ideologies, which ultimately create a hegemonic relationship? This book takes a critical look at revival exercises of special historical and geopolitical significance, and argues that a critical and cautious approach to revival movements is necessary.

    The cases of Sinhala, Kazakh, Mongolian, Catalan, and even Hong Kong Cantonese show that it is not through linguistic revival, but rather through political representation and economic development, that the peoples in question achieve competitiveness and equality amongst their neighbors. On the other hand, linguistic revival in these and other contexts can, and has been, used to support nationalist or ethnocentric agendas, to the detriment of other groups, recreating the same dynamics that generated the argument for revival in the first place. This book argues that respect for linguistic and other diversity, multilingualism and multiculturalism, is not compatible with linguistic revival that mirrors nation-building and essentializing identity construction.

    1. On Language, Power, and the Nation

    2. Sri Lanka: Linguistic Nationalism and its Perils

    3. Kazakhstan: Revival in Postcolonial Negotiations

    4. Mongolia: Purism, Identity, and the Other

    5. Hong Kong: Language and Survival in a ‘One-China’ World

    6. Catalonia: Good and Bad Revivals

    7. Reflections and Takeaways


    Kara Fleming is Assistant Professor in the College of Humanities and Education at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Umberto Ansaldo is Professor and Head of the School of Literature, Arts, and Media at The University of Sydney, Australia.

    "In Revivals, Nationalism, and Linguistic Discrimination Fleming and Ansaldo offer a lucid and accessible exposition of language politics across a number of contrasting jurisdictions. In so doing they provide an overview of where we are now in global developments in language policies and the practical and ideological tensions that inform them. For once, language politics is treated within academic linguistics as real politics, rather than being viewed through the lens of a predetermined ideological position – typically European vernacular Romanticism. In this way the authors bring new insights and dynamic analysis to bear on an important, fascinating, yet deeply contested domain." — Christopher Hutton, Professor, School of English, University of Hong Kong