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The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

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Title: Language, Religion and National Identity in Europe and the Middle East
Subtitle: A historical study
Written By: John Myhill
Series Title: Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 21

This book discusses the historical record of the idea that language is
associated with national identity, demonstrating that different
applications of this idea have consistently produced certain types of
results. Nationalist movements aimed at 'unification', based upon languages
which vary greatly at the spoken level, e.g. German, Italian, Pan-Turkish
and Arabic, have been associated with aggression, fascism and genocide,
while those based upon relatively homogeneous spoken languages, e.g. Czech,
Norwegian and Ukrainian, have resulted in national liberation and
international stability. It is also shown that religion can be more
important to national identity than language, but only for religious groups
which were understood in premodern times to be national rather than
universal or doctrinal, e.g. Jews, Armenians, Maronites, Serbs, Dutch and
English; this is demonstrated with discussions of the Holocaust, the
Armenian Genocide, the civil war in Lebanon and the breakup of Yugoslavia,
the United Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements vii
Introduction 1–26
Premodern national churches, Roman Europe, and the Caliphate 27–70
Small languages and national liberation 71–117
Big languages, delusions of grandeur, war, and fascism 119–176
Language, religion, and nationalism in Europe 177–227
Language, religion, and nationalism in the Middle East 229–276
Conclusion 277–281
Bibliography 283–293
Index 295–300

"It has always been clear that language is linked to nationalism and
nationalism to language. What John Myhill has done here is to show for the
first time that this easy equation ignores the linguistic facts. It may be
true that a "language is a dialect with an army and a navy." But it is not
just the army and the navy that matter. It also matters that some languages
are more obviously languages than others." Peter Trudgill

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: John Benjamins
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Anthropological Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard
Norwegian Nynorsk
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 902722711X
ISBN-13: 9789027227119
Pages: 300
Prices: U.S. $ 155
Europe EURO 115.00