Is linguistic revival beneficiary to the plight of newly emerging, peripheral or even ‘threatened’ cultures? Or is it a smokescreen that hides the vestiges of ethnocentric ideologies, which ultimately create a hegemonic relationship? This book takes a critical look at revival exercises of exemplary historical and geopolitical value, and argues that a critical, and cautious approach to revival movements is necessary.
The cases of Sinhala, Kazakh, Mongolian, Catalan, and even Hong Kong Cantonese, show that it is not through linguistic revival, but rather through political representation and economic development, that the peoples in question achieve competitiveness and equality amongst their neighbours. On the other hand, linguistic revival in these and other contexts can, and has been, used at the detriment of other, marginal groups, recreating the same dynamics that generated to need for revival in the first place. This book argues that respect for linguistic and other diversity, multilingualism and multiculturalism, are not compatible with linguistic revival that mirrors nation-building and sovereign identity construction.
1. On Language, Power, and the Nation
2. Sri Lanka: Linguistic Nationalism and its Perils
3. Kazakhstan: Revival in Postcolonial Negotiations
4. Mongolia: Purism, Identity, and the Other
5. Hong Kong: Language and Survival in a ‘One-China’ World
6. Catalonia: Good and Bad Revivals
7. Reflections and Takeaways