The German language and the future of Europe: towards a research agenda on the politics of language


Stevenson, Patrick (2008) The German language and the future of Europe: towards a research agenda on the politics of language. German Life and Letters, 61, (4), 483-496. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0483.2008.00438.x).

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Description/Abstract

Most accounts of nationalism and national identity include the idea of a ‘national language’ as a foundational element and key organising principle, yet even before the advent of new technologies of communication these defining codes were rarely, if ever, contained within national boundaries. The coexistence of what are perceived as distinct linguistic varieties (‘languages’) is therefore the normal condition of the nation-state. This contradiction between the multilingual reality of individuals and communities and what Ingrid Gogolin calls the ‘monolingual habitus’ is fundamental to Susan Gal’s (2006) discussion of the ironies of linguistic regimes in contemporary Europe that continue to be based on Herderian principles in spite of the pluralising rhetoric of European institutions.
In this paper, I start from Gal’s observations on migration, minorities, and multilingualism in Europe and consider their implications for a research agenda on the politics of language that takes account of the multiple layers of language policy on the one hand and the complexity of individual experiences with language on the other. I then illustrate this agenda with reference to a project on the present relationship between the German language and different forms of social identification in central Europe.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0016-8777 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: german language, europe, multilingualism, globalisation, citizenship, language policy, politics of language, transnational
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PF West Germanic
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 64282
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2014 15:23
Projects:
The German language and the future of Europe : ideologies, policies and practices
Funded by: AHRC (18341/1)
1 October 2004 to 30 September 2008
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/64282

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