This book explores the dynamics of language and social change in central
Europe in the context of the end of the Cold War and eastern expansion of
the European Union. One outcome of the profound social transformations in
central Europe since the Second World War has been the reshaping of the
relationship between particular languages and linguistic varieties, especially
between 'national' languages and regional or ethnic minority languages.
Previous studies have investigated these transformed relationships from the
macro perspective of language policies, while others have taken more fine-
grained approaches to individual experiences with language. Combining these
two perspectives for the first time - and focusing on the German language,
which has a uniquely complex and problematic history in the region - the
authors offer an understanding of the complex constellation of language
politics in central Europe.
Stevenson and Carl's analysis draws on a range of theoretical, conceptual
and analytical approaches - language ideologies, language policy, positioning
theory, discourse analysis, narrative analysis and life histories - and a wide
range of data sources, from European and national language policies to
individual language biographies. The authors demonstrate how the
relationship between German and other languages has played a crucial role in
the politics of language and processes of identity formation in the recent
history of central Europe.