Standardizing Minority Languages: Competing Ideologies of Authority and Authenticity in the Global Periphery, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Standardizing Minority Languages

Competing Ideologies of Authority and Authenticity in the Global Periphery, 1st Edition

Edited by Pia Lane, James Costa, Haley De Korne


250 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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This volume addresses a crucial, yet largely unaddressed dimension of minority language standardization, namely how social actors engage with, support, negotiate, resist and even reject such processes. The focus is on social actors rather than language as a means for analysing the complexity and tensions inherent in contemporary standardization processes. By considering the perspectives and actions of people who participate in or are affected by minority language politics, the contributors aim to provide a comparative and nuanced analysis of the complexity and tensions inherent in minority language standardisation processes. Echoing Fasold (1984), this involves a shift in focus from a sociolinguistics of language to a sociolinguistics of people.

The book addresses tensions that are born of the renewed or continued need to standardize ‘language’ in the early 21st century across the world. It proposes to go beyond the traditional macro/micro dichotomy by foregrounding the role of actors as they position themselves as users of standard forms of language, oral or written, across sociolinguistic scales. Language policy processes can be seen as practices and ideologies in action and this volume therefore investigates how social actors in a wide range of geographical settings embrace, contribute to, resist and also reject (aspects of) minority language standardization.


"This is an exciting new collection of case studies of minority language groups focusing on crucial processes of standardization and the challenges they pose to their users." —Durk Gorter, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Standardising Minority Languages: Reinventing peripheral languages in the 21st century?
  2. James Costa, Haley De Korne, and Pia Lane

  3. Basque Standardization and the New Speaker: Political Praxis and the Shifting Dynamics of Authority and Value
  4. Jacqueline Urla, Estibaliz Amorrortu, Ane Ortega, and Jone Goirigolzarri

  5. On the pros and cons of standardizing Scots: Notes from the North of a small island
  6. James Costa

  7. Legitimating Limburgish: The reproduction of heritage
  8. Diana Camps

  9. Negotiating the standard in contemporary Galicia
  10. Bernadette O’Rourke

  11. Language standardisation as frozen mediated actions – the materiality of language standardization
  12. Pia Lane

  13. Language standardization in the aftermath of the Soviet Language Empire
  14. Lenore Grenoble and Nadezhd Ja. Bulatova

  15. Standardization of Inuit languages in Canada
  16. Donna Patrick, Kumiko Murasugi, and Jeela Palluq-Cloutier

  17. "That's too much to learn": Writing, longevity, and urgency in the Isthmus Zapotec speech community
  18. Haley De Korne

  19. Orthography, Standardization, and Register: The Case of Manding
  20. Coleman Donaldson

  21. Beyond Colonial Linguistics: The Dialectic of Control and Resistance in the Standardization of isiXhosa
  22. Ana Deumert and Nkululeko Mabandla

  23. Visions and revisions of minority languages: Standardization and its dilemmas

Susan Gal

About the Editors

Pia Lane is Professor in multilingualism at the Centre for Multilingualism in Society Across the Lifespan (MultiLing) at the University of Oslo where she is PI of the project Standardising Minority Languages. Recent publications on standardisation: Lane (2015). Minority language standardisation and the role of users. Language Policy,14, 3, 263–283 & Lane (2016). Standardising Kven: Participation and the role of users. Sociolinguistica 30, 105-124

James Costa, previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo, where he worked on the standardization of Scots as part of the STANDARDS project directed by Pia Lane, is currently a lecturer at Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, where he teaches sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and semiotics. He is also an affiliate of Lacito, a CNRS, Sorbonne Nouvelle and Inalco research unit. His current research seeks to understand how a nationalist, post-referendum public space is being constructed in Scotland, and how the standardization of the vernacular (Scots), or its rejection, has effects on who gets to be included or not in the public debate. He is the author of a monograph based on previous work on language revitalization in Provence, Revitalising language in Provence (2017).

Haley De Korne conducts research and advocacy in relation to minoritized language communities, multilingual education, and language politics. She has participated in Indigenous language education projects in a variety of contexts, in particular in Oaxaca, Mexico, and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at the University of Oslo.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism

Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism is devoted to the publishing of original research, of global scope and relevance, which incorporates critical and post-structuralist perspectives. The series also seeks to reflect different strands of empirical work which are interpretive, ethnographic and multimodal in nature and which embrace new epistemologies and new research methods.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics