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Title: Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland
Subtitle: Publications of the Philological Society
Written By: Stephen Pax Leonard

The language of a speech community can only act as an identity marker for
all of its speakers if a standard is widely shared and if a minimal number
of language varieties are spoken. This book examines how one dialect came
to serve the whole of Iceland. The language community that we can
reconstruct for early Iceland should have led to the establishment and
maintenance of dialects. But this didn't happen. Iceland was instead
characterized by long-term linguistic homogeneity. Using the most recent
sociolinguistic theory, and drawing on history and archaeology, Stephen Pax
Leonard explores some of the reasons for the unusual development of the
Icelandic language, showing how the Icelandic identity developed through
the establishment of social structures and their literary culture. With its
rich literature, the language became the single most important factor for
the identity of the Icelanders. "Language, Society and Identity in early
Iceland" is a fascinating account of an under examined
historical-linguistic story that will spur further research and discussion
amongst researchers. In particular, it leaves a trail for those concerned
with language and identity in Iceland today, where there is for the first
time unequivocal evidence of sociolinguistic variation.  

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Icelandic
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1118294963
ISBN-13: 9781118294963
Pages: 204
Prices: U.S. $ 39.95