nationalism language and multiculturalism
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nationalism language and multiculturalism
Nationalism, Language and Multiculturalism
  • Most of us in the industrialized countries of North America, Western Europe, and Australasia tend to take the concept of the nation-state and its associated national standard language for granted, but, in fact, both of these are the outcome of centuries of struggles among competing political and economic groups to advance their own interests” (Foley 2001: 398).
emergence of nation state
Emergence of Nation-state
  • French revolution (1789-94) and industrial revolution: (end of 1800’s)
  • Expansion of European ideology
  • Dismantling of kinship ties and village
a shift in the nature of political communication tonnes 1955
A shift in the nature of political communication (Tonnes, 1955)
  • Gemeinschaft “community” to Gesellschaft “association”
  • Gemeinschaft: likeness, share property of kinship: village
  • ---Geertz: “primordial attachments”
  • Gesellschaft: willed, free chosen acts of association: Nation-state
imagined communities benedict anderson 1983
Imagined Communities (Benedict Anderson, 1983)
  • Imagining oneself and the rest of the population of a nation as a bounded community
  • Willed association
  • Rights and duties
basis of association in a nation state
Basis of association in a Nation-State
  • Diffusion of national ideologies
  • --Media
  • Development of standard language
  • --exclusion of other languages
  • Institutionalization of a national language
  • -- literacy, education of citizens
national language and national ideology gellner
National language and national ideology (Gellner)
  • A Yimas village (Gemeinschaft community)
  • produces a competent Yimas
  • Papua New Guinean nation-state (Gesellschaft community)
  • produces an effective Papua New Guinean
forces that produce a national language
Forces that produce a national language
  • Political
  • --political elite’s reflection
  • --USA Example: AAVE versus SAE
  • --attitudes towards multilingualism
  • Economic
  • --corporations, influence, wealth
multilingualism and nation state
Multilingualism and nation-state
  • Problems: Multilingual entities
  • --fractionalization of interests: Czechoslovakia
  • Example Indonesia: One nation, one people, one language
  • --Tribal, ethnic problems: Rwanda and Yugoslavia
  • --Regional fractionalism: Somalia
geertz s concept of primordial attachments
Geertz’s concept of “primordial attachments”
  • Failure to go beyond citizen;s kinship and village ties
  • National language replaces primordial attachments
  • The spread of nationalistic messages
  • --media: written and electronic, educational systems
state and nation
State and nation
  • State: any region governed under a central administration, with its own legal and political institutions
  • Nation: any community of people who see themselves as an ethnic and culturally (linguistically) unit, in contrast to other groups of people surrounding them
  • Modern nations and multilingualism
  • The result of contact
  • 5000 to 8000 languages worldwide
  • USA: 27 ethnic groups: 230 languages
bakhtin 1981
Bakhtin (1981)
  • Centripetal forces of language:

---political and institutional forces

---Imposition of one variety code over others

  • Centrifugal forces of language:

---forces pushing speakers away from a common code or language



tewa arizona kroskrity 1993
Tewa, Arizona (Kroskrity 1993)
  • Long history of contact (Hopi)
  • Links between identity and language
  • Some symbols only available to Tewa
  • Language medium of identity expression
catalan spain woodlard 1989
Catalan, Spain (Woodlard 1989)
  • Political control by central government
  • Imposition of language code

---Centripetal forces: school system, media

  • High status in Catalonia
basis of linguistic problems
Basis of Linguistic Problems
  • Economic and political
  • Result in war, genocide

---Yugoslavia, Rwanda

---Hutus and Tootsies


Man: Could you tell me where the French test is?Recep: Pardon? (“Pardon?”)Man: Could you tell me where the French test is?Recep: En Français (“In French”)Man: I have the right to be addressed in English by the government of Quebec according to Bill 101.Recept: (To a third person) Qu’est-ce qu’il dit? (“What’s he saying?”)

language status multilingual nations
Language Status (Multilingual Nations)
  • Canada and India
  • Issues contributing to language status:



---Political and social power of native speakers

  • Indo-Aryan (74), Dravidian (24), Austro-Asiatic (1,5) and Tibeto-Burman (0.7)
  • Hindi official language + 14 state official languages
  • English elite language and the second language of millions
  • Mass communication affects minority languages
kamala das
Kamala Das

I don’t know politics but I know the names

Of those in power, and can repeat them like

Days of week, or names of months, beginning with

Nehru. I am Indian, very brown, born in

Malabar, I speak three languages, write in

Two, dream in one. Don’t write in English, they said,

English is not your mother tongue. Why not leave

Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,

Every one of you? Why not let me speak in

Any other language I like? The language I speak

Becomes mine, its distortions, its queerness

All mine, mine alone…. (In Valentine, 2004)

  • Two different cultural and linguistic identities(linguistic majority French in Quebec)
  • Economic and politics controlled by Anglo interests until the 1970’s
  • Calls for independence
  • Official language act1969 : bilingual education,
  • Referendum 1995
  • Reversal of fortunes in Quebec
situational use of language
Situational Use of Language
  • Quebec situation
  • Francophones, Anglophones and Allophones,
  • language according to situation
  • Reflects attitudes
  • The rise of the nation-state correlated with the development of standard languages
  • Replacement of community attachments of kin and village to willed free associations of citizens
  • Standard and national languages play a role in promulgating a national ideology
  • In all societies some people speak more than one language
  • Conflict are based on economic and political conditions but appear as linguistic issues
  • India and canada good examples of multilingualism: