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  • Cited by 66
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2021
Print publication year:
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Book description

Language standardization is the process by which conventional forms of a language are established and maintained. Bringing together internationally renowned experts, this Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of standardization, norms and standard languages. Chapters are grouped into five thematic areas: models and theories of standardization, questions of authority and legitimacy, literacy and education, borders and boundaries, and standardization in Late Modernity. Each chapter addresses a specific issue in detail, illustrating it with linguistic case studies and taking into account the particular political, social and cultural context. Showcasing cutting-edge research, it offers fresh perspectives that go beyond traditional accounts of the standardization of national European languages, and affords new insights into minoritized, indigenous and stateless languages. Surveying a wide range of languages and approaches, this Handbook is an essential resource for all those interested in language standards and standard languages.


‘The overall presentation is excellent, and each chapter is accompanied by a most useful comprehensive bibliography … The volume is to be recommended very highly to all colleagues with an interest in sociolinguistics, as well as to postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students looking for an introduction to general and specific issues relating to language standardization.’

Martin Durrell Source: Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics

‘In their introduction, the editors Wendy Ayres-Bennett and John Bellamy mention that the “rich diversity of approaches to linguistic standardization is at once stimulating and challenging” (p. 2). Reviewing the handbook, I have found that they met this challenge in an excellent way. The 29 chapters in total fully cover the kaleidoscopic diversity of the field with contributions dealing with a broad range of languages from various time periods (even more languages than explicitly mentioned in this review). The chapters are well written by renowned experts (their names are omitted within the word limits of the present review) and offer elaborate references for further exploration. The Cambridge Handbook of Language Standardization definitely is a most welcome ‘landmark in the study of language standardization’ (cover quote) and an indispensable tool for researchers and students interested in linguistic standardisation.’

Marijke van der Wal Source: Language & History

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