chapter  1
23 Pages

Standardising Minority Languages

Reinventing Peripheral Languages in the 21st Century
WithJames Costa, Haley De Korne, Pia Lane

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This chapter looks at standardisation processes as a political domain where social actors use standards as semiotic resources for articulating discourses on society. Language standards have become naturalised and widely accepted as the normal forms of dominant European languages. The movement towards standardisation was bolstered through the rise of centralised governments and administration as well as compulsory education and the creation of unified economic and cultural markets, to use Bourdieu's terminology. The establishment of national language academies (in France, and later in Spain and elsewhere) also played a central role in amplifying purist and prescriptivist ideals and in naturalising the presence of a top-down authority over language practices, particularly in relation to writing. Within the academic community, there are several disciplines which have contributed to and/or investigated the phenomena of minority language standardisation, including linguistics, anthropology and language policy and planning.