Dominant Languages: Language and Hierarchy in Britain and France

Dominant Languages: Language and Hierarchy in Britain and France

by Ralph D. Grillo


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This book takes an interdisciplinary approach to the relations between power and language. Many societies are 'multilingual' throughout their history, but there is often a hierarchical ordering of their languages, dialects and ways of speaking. These are rarely of equal status, power or authority. Through a detailed and systematic comparison of Britain and France, Ralph Grillo examines the concept of language dominance, and the causes and consequences of linguistic hierarchy. In both France and Britain language has been a major political battleground, and the study traces the history of their various conflicts from the late Middle Ages to the present day. By relating these linguistic struggles to the principal social, economic, cultural and political factors at work in society as a whole, the book demonstrates the continuity between small-scale, 'local' even interpersonal relationships and general, large-scale processes. The investigation brings together an unusual and rich combination of material from a wide range of sources and a variety of academic disciplines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521108614
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/09/2009
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction: the politics of communicative practice; 2. The view from the centre: France; 3. And England; 4. A view from the periphery - Occitanie; 5. The politics of language in Wales, Ireland and Scotland; 6. Immigrants and language: the 'Mother Tongue'; 7. Immigrants and language: the issue of competence; 8. Language and social differentiation; 9. Barbarous tongues: the hierarchical ordering of difference; 10. Language, class, power, education; 11. Authoritative discourse; Bibliography; Index.

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