LINGUIST List 9.1344

Mon Sep 28 1998

Books: Sociolinguistics

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


  1. Christoph Eyrich, Sociolinguistics

Message 1: Sociolinguistics

Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 19:46:36 +0200 (MEST)
From: Christoph Eyrich <>
Subject: Sociolinguistics

			 Michael G. Smith

	 Language and Power in the Creation of the USSR

 1998. 23 x 15,5 cm. VII, 294 pages
		 Cloth DM 178,-/approx. US$ 111.00
			 ISBN 3-11-016197-4
	 Contributions to the Sociology of Language 80

 Mouton de Gruyter * Berlin * New York

This is the first comprehensive history of language planning in the
USSR, covering the formative period under Lenin and Stalin. Based on
party and state archival materials only recently made available, it
explores the tension between linguistic russification and nativization
of the Soviet experience. 

The author argues that from the moment of its greatest victory in the
Russian Revolution to the difficult days of reconstruction after World
War II, the government was locked into a hegemonic imperative which
required a measure of dependence upon the rural Russians and
peripheral non-Russian peoples as much as domination over them.
Language issues help to understand how the Soviet state
structure was a machine of centrifugal, as well as centripetal, force.

To prove this point, the author examines such unprecedented
initiatives as the simplification of the Russian spelling system; the
`latinization' of the Arabic alphabets of the Muslim peoples; and
the reform of school grammars and teaching curriculums. He also offers
new interpretations about the various linguistic trends which informed
these projects, from G.G. Shpet's remarkable `structural'
phenomenology, to N.Ia Marr's `Marxist' school of linguistics, to
Stalin's infamous linguistic essay of 1950. He reveals how the
Communist Party micro-managed language reform in Muslim Central Asia,
and how it dealt with decades of failure rates on the countrywide
Russian language examinations. 

The result is an original reading of sociolinguistics and Soviet
history, weaving together the scientific contributions of linguists,
the political imperatives of the party-state, and the everyday
responses of various social and ethnic groups.

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 

Publications by de Gruyter can also be ordered via World Wide Web:
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

The following contributing LINGUIST publishers have made their backlists available on the World Wide Web:

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