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Language and Identity
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Book description

The language we use forms an important part of our sense of who we are - of our identity. This book outlines the relationship between our identity as members of groups - ethnic, national, religious and gender - and the language varieties important to each group. What is a language? What is a dialect? Are there such things as language 'rights'? Must every national group have its own unique language? How have languages, large and small, been used to spread religious ideas? Why have particular religious and linguistic 'markers' been so central, singly or in combination, to the ways in which we think about ourselves and others? Using a rich variety of examples, the book highlights the linkages among languages, dialects and identities, with special attention given to religious, ethnic and national allegiances.


‘Written in a truly interdisciplinary spirit, this rich, lucid and irreverent book on language, culture and politics is bound to win admirers across the humanities and social sciences. Very readable, highly enjoyable, deeply enlightening.’

Thomas Hylland Eriksen - Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo

'This wide-reaching book is of admirable clarity in presenting diverse, complex issues … Edward's opinions … are clearly explained and reasoned in relation to the scholarly literature and would certainly serve to generate lively debate in a classroom setting and interest scholars of nationalism seeking an introduction to related aspects of sociolinguistics.'

Source: Nations and Nationalism

'This volume gives a full overview of key issues, trends and research relating to its title Language and Identity in the following areas: personal identity (both individual and group), language and dialect, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationalism, and language planning and ecology. As such, it provides a useful textbook for students, with study questions and further reading at the end of each chapter.'

Carol Sanders - Professor Emeritus, University of Surrey

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