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McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Nations, Language and Citizenship

Nations, Language and Citizenship

by Norman Berdichevsky


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Nations, Language and Citizenship

This study evaluates the importance of language in achieving a sense of national solidarity, considering factors such as territory, religion, race, historical continuity, and memory. It investigates the historical experiences of countries and ethnic or regional minorities according to how their political leadership, intellectual elite, or independence movements answered the question, “Who are we?” The Americans, British, and Australians all speak English, just as the French, Haitians, and French-Canadians all speak French, sharing common historical origin, vocabulary and usage—but each nationality’s use of its language differs. So does language transform a citizenry into a community / or is a “national language” the product of idealogy?
This work presents 26 case studies and raises three questions: whether the people of independent countries consider language the most important factor in creating their sense of nationality; whether the people living in multi-ethnic states or as regional minorities are most loyal to the community with which they share a language or the community with which they share citizenship; and whether people in countries with civil strife find a common language enough to create a sense of political solidarity. The study also covers hybrid languages, language revivals, the difference between dialects and languages, government efforts to promote or avoid bilingualism, the manipulation of spelling and alphabet reform. Illustrations include postage stamps, banknotes, flags, and posters illustrating language controversies.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786417100
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 02/20/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Norman Berdichevsky is a professional translator, writer and lecturer for several major cruise lines. Formerly a lecturer of Judaic studies at the University of Central Florida, he is the author of several books and lives in Orlando.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgment iv

Preface and Dedication 1

Introduction 3

PART I: Countries with Competing Candidates for the National Language

1. Hebrew versus Yiddish: The Case of Israel 13

2. The Attempt to Revive Irish: A Nation Once Again 44

3. Norway’s Schizophrenia: New Norse (Nynorsk) versus Dano-Norwegian (Bokmaal/Riksmaal) 55

4. Maltese: “The Curse of the Country and Fit Only for the Kitchen” 66

PART II: Multiethnic Countries with Bilingualism and Multilingualism

5. Belgium: The Classic “Buffer State” 77

6. Switzerland 92

7. Spain: Five Official Languages, or Is It Only Four and Two-Thirds? 103

8. Canada 116

9. India 124

10. South Africa 129

PART III: The Celtic “Pygmy” Revivals of Welsh and Scots

11. Wales, Welsh and Plaid Cymru 139

12. Scotland, Scots and the Threatened Demise of Scottish Gaelic 146

PART IV: Dialects or Languages?

13. Italian Dialects 157

14. Scandinavian Languages: Unification Tried and Rejected 160

PART V: The Quarreling Cousins

15. Serbian and Croatian (Serbo-Croatian) 165

16. Czech and Slovak 171

17. Romanian and Moldavian 174

PART VI: Ethnic or Regional Minorities: Bilingual or Using the “Wrong Language”?

18. The Romanian-Speaking Hungarians 181

19. Alsace-Lorraine: German Speakers Who Identify with France 187

20. The German-Speaking Danish Minority in South Schleswig 191

21. The Swedish-Speaking Finlanders 199

22. Israel’s Hebrew-Speaking Arab Citizens 205

PART VII: Spanish versus Portuguese in Uruguay: The Case of Determined Government Planning to Avoid Bilingualism

23. Uruguay: The Origins of the Buffer State 215

PART VIII: The Struggle with the Chains of the Past (Greek, Arabic and Turkish)

24. The Greek Dilemma: Ancient (Attic) versus Demotike versus Katharevousa 225

25. Arabic: The Koran versus Modern Standard versus the Local Vernaculars 232

26. Turkish Identity Frees Itself from the Islamic/Arabic Yoke 241

Conclusion 245

Chapter Notes 259

Bibliography 267

Index 275

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