The Politics of Language: Conflict, Identity, and Cultural Pluralism in Comparative Perspective
Important aspects of the history of language in the United States remain shrouded in myth and legend. The notion of "one nation, one language" is ... Show synopsis Important aspects of the history of language in the United States remain shrouded in myth and legend. The notion of "one nation, one language" is part of the idealized history of the United States, although in its short history it has probably been host to more bilingual people than any other country in the world. Language is more than a means of communication. It brings into play an entire range of experiences and attitudes toward life. Furthermore, language is a potent symbolic issue because it links power and political claims of ownership with psychological demands for group worth. How people belonging to different language and cultural communities live together in the same political community and how political and structural tensions arise to divide them along language lines, are questions addressed in The Politics of Language. This book analyzes the historical background and recent controversy over language in the United States and compares it to two official multilingual societies: Canada and Switzerland. It's accessibility as a survey of this topic makes it ideal for courses in linguistics, political science, and sociology.