LINGUIST List 9.1316

Tue Sep 22 1998


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  1. Christoph Eyrich, New Book: Sociolinguistics

Message 1: New Book: Sociolinguistics

Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 17:13:52 +0200 (MEST)
From: Christoph Eyrich <>
Subject: New Book: Sociolinguistics

		 Nirmala Srirekam PuruShotam

	 Negotiating Language, Constructing Race
		 Disciplining Difference in Singapore

 1997. 23 x 15,5 cm. X, 294 pages
		 Cloth DM 178,-/approx. US$ 111.00
			 ISBN 3-11-015679-2
	 Contributions to the Sociology of Language 79

 Mouton de Gruyter * Berlin * New York

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the politics that took
its inspiration from, and control over, `ordinary' peoples
ethnicities and languages.

This rare, detailed social history shows how the Orientalist
construction of race and language in colonial Singapore was
transformed into a powerful practice of `nation' that remains today.
Thus, since the advent of nationalism, Singapore has been presented as
a multiracial social space. This multiracial character has been
carefully re-constructed as constituted by four races, with mainly
four distinct languages. With this policy, the ruling elite has
instituted a particular discourse about language, which almost always
implicates race. Additionally, the discourse has also translated
itself into actual institutional practices, which `ordinary' men,
women and children cannot avoid, and must participate in.

Interspersed by the actual voices and experiences of common people,
caught within neo-Orientalists statist constructions, the study
provides another angle to the contemporary postmodern assurance that
difference is necessarily liberating. Difference, instead, is shown
to have disciplinary consequences. Yet the logic of dominant
discourses can, at the same time, be re-interpreted -- cleverly or
innocently - for enabling legitimate pressure upon the authorities.
As Everyday Life readings of state discourses importantly unfold
within the institution of the family, the often invisible role women
actually play with reference to language, race, and nation, is
importantly brought to the fore.


`Nation' and `Race': realms of problematic possibilities for language
* Race-ing language: the institutionalisation of `Chinese', `Malay',
and `Indian' in Singapore * Talk about language: from political
project to daily life positionings * Language on the life trajectory:
Everyday Life contexts, relevances and practices * The mother tongue:
male texts and female readings * Second language: official
bilingualism brought home * Disciplining difference * Notes *
References * Index

Mouton de Gruyter Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 
Postfach 30 34 21 200 Saw Mill River Road 
D-10728 Berlin Hawthorne, NY 10532 
Germany USA 
Fax: +49 (0)30 26005-351 Fax: +1 914 747-1326 

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1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • MIT Press--Books Division
  • MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Pacific Linguistics
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics