Nations, Language and Citizenship

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McFarland, Feb 22, 2018 - Social Science - 288 pages
This study evaluates the importance of language in achieving a sense of national solidarity, considering factors such as territory, religion, race, historical continuity, and memory. It investigates the historical experiences of countries and ethnic or regional minorities according to how their political leadership, intellectual elite, or independence movements answered the question, “Who are we?” The Americans, British, and Australians all speak English, just as the French, Haitians, and French-Canadians all speak French, sharing common historical origin, vocabulary and usage—but each nationality’s use of its language differs. So does language transform a citizenry into a community / or is a “national language” the product of idealogy? This work presents 26 case studies and raises three questions: whether the people of independent countries consider language the most important factor in creating their sense of nationality; whether the people living in multi-ethnic states or as regional minorities are most loyal to the community with which they share a language or the community with which they share citizenship; and whether people in countries with civil strife find a common language enough to create a sense of political solidarity. The study also covers hybrid languages, language revivals, the difference between dialects and languages, government efforts to promote or avoid bilingualism, the manipulation of spelling and alphabet reform. Illustrations include postage stamps, banknotes, flags, and posters illustrating language controversies. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

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Factually inaccurate and amateurish in many locations. Shows its considerable absence of scholarship in many regions. The part on Romanian was particularly poorly written; sounded almost like the author had not read an article since the 19th century.


Preface and Dedication
Part I Countries with Competing Candidates for the National Language
Part II Multiethnic Countries with Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Part III The Celtic Pygmy Revivals of Welsh and Scots
Part IV Dialects or Languages?
Part V The Quarreling Cousins
Bilingual or Using the Wrong Language?
The Case of Determined Government Planning to Avoid Bilingualism
Part VIII The Struggle with the Chains of the Past Greek Arabic and Turkish
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Page 3 - In its speech resides its whole thought-domain, its tradition, history, religion, and basis of life, all its heart and soul. To deprive a people of its speech is to deprive it of its one eternal good.

About the author (2018)

Norman Berdichevsky is a professional translator, writer and lecturer for several major cruise lines. Formerly a lecturer of Judaic studies at the University of Central Florida, he is the author of several books and lives in Orlando.

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