A. de Swaan
- Bedreigde talen, sociolinguostiek en taalsentimentalisme
- Unknown Publisher
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In sociolinguistics a recurrent theme is the need not only to document threatened languages, but to ensure somehow that they will continue to be used. The basic trope is that of language death, analogous to the extinction of species. In fact, languages do not die but are abandoned by their users, usually for a more widely spoken language. In a basically sentimentalist view, linguistic diversity is believed to increase cultural diversity, while equal treatment of language groups is expected to mitigate inequality between and within these groups. This is not so. On the contrary, the promotion of minority, local and immigrant languages, all too often ill-equipped for contemporary usage, only serves to strengthen the position of the dominant language as the only common idiom: The more languages, the more English. This occurs in post-Apartheid South Africa as well as in the extending European Union.
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