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Totalitarian Language

Creating Symbols to Destroy Words

Juan Francisco Fuentes

This article deals with totalitarianism and its language, conceived as both the denial and to some extent the reversal of liberalism and its conceptual framework. Overcoming liberal language meant not only setting up new political terminology, but also replacing words with symbols, ideas with sensations. This is why the standard political lexicon of totalitarianism became hardly more than a slang vocabulary for domestic consumption and, by contrast, under those regimes—mainly Italian fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism—a amboyant universe of images, sounds, and metaphors arose. Many of these images revolved around the human body as a powerful means to represent a charismatic leadership and, at the same time, an organic conception of their national communities. Totalitarian language seems to be a propitious way to explore the “dark side” of conceptual history, constituted by symbols rather than words.

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Language and a Continent in Flux

Twenty-First Century Tensions of Inclusion and Exclusion

Philip McDermott and Sarah McMonagle

This article introduces the present forum edition on linguistic identities in twenty-first-century Europe. We consider how discourses of inclusion and exclusion, embedded in discourses of the nation, continue to be relevant in understanding and interpreting the social, cultural and political status of (minority) languages and their speakers. In order to introduce the various studies that comprise this forum, we relay how language debates provide a lens through which wider systems of prestige and hierarchy may be focused. Such debates can, at one and the same time, both alter and reflect the meanings and interpretations of Europe itself.

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Stefan Groth

Language and its relation to culture has been a topic of research in German Volkskunde [folklore studies] from the beginning of the discipline. While dialectological studies, linguistic specificities of local cultures and language in everyday life have been integral parts of Volkskunde for much of the first part of the twentieth century, the discipline saw a shift away from its philological elements towards a social science orientation in post-Second World War developments. During the last decades, the analysis of linguistic dimensions of everyday culture has been on the margin of scholarly activities in Volkskunde. Starting with a historic perspective on the role of language in the beginnings of the discipline, this article discusses the development and decrease of the study of linguistic aspects. It analyses the role of language in contemporary German Volkskunde both in theory and methodology, and offers perspectives on how the discipline could benefit from a renewed focus on linguistic dimensions of everyday culture.

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Language Hierarchies

Visualizing Linguistic Space in Modern Travel Writing

Anjali Pandey

This article focuses on the travelogue of the twentieth century. Deftly using the spaces of city/country to situate language and people Miranda France, in Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer's Adventures in Argen tina (1999), presents a hierarchy of linguistic value and poignancy of place by semantically conflating English, Spanish, and indigenous Latin American languages with a different spatial positioning relative to the Other in the bustle of Buenos Aires. The consequence is the building of a hierarchical edifice—which metaphorically as it literally centers English, and places its speakers atop the city— situates Spanish and its speakers at a street level; and relegates indigenous peoples to the lowest metropolitan reaches—unseen and underground—marginalized to the periphery of her literary geoscape. This conflation of linguistic code with the synecdoche of space introduces another way in which to examine the politics of travel writing in a globally connected, multilingual world.

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Linguistic Identities in Post-Conflict Societies

Current Issues and Developments in Northern Ireland

Freya Stancombe-Taylor

This article assesses the identity politics of language in post-conflict Northern Ireland, where language debates at a political level have been encased in questions of identity. However, despite the continued existence of ethnocentric narratives around language, opportunities have emerged for individuals to cross linguistic barriers and challenge the perspective that certain languages ‘belong’ to certain communities.

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In a World of Migration

Rethinking Literacy, Language, and Learning Texts

Elizabeth P. Quintero

This article has evolved from teaching future teachers about literacy and language in multilingual contexts. The examples are taken from contexts in the United States with learners from around the world. Professionals in the classrooms, in the teacher development programs, and in schools and colleges of education have been doing responsible research for many years, and have learned much regarding the learning of multilingual people who represent a multitude of histories. In this article the focus is on rethinking literacy, languages (home languages and target languages of host countries), the connections between personal and communal history and learning texts, and how all of the above relate to the curriculum in various learning arenas.

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Translating Islam into Georgian

The Question of Georgian Muslim Identity in Contemporary Adjara

Ricardo Rivera

This forum piece provides a brief discussion of the mediation of religious and ethnic identity through language in Adjara, an autonomous region of southwestern Georgia. The piece considers the emergence of a consolidated ‘Georgian Muslim’ identity in the post-Soviet period. It thus sheds light on how language acts as a site for the navigation of religious and historical difference in Adjara.

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Language Ideologies at Work

Economies of Yupik Language Maintenance and Loss

Daria Morgounova Schwalbe

Using an ethnography of speaking approach, this article discusses the ideological aspects of language practices, as they are played out in a traditional Yupik (Eskimo) village in Chukotka, in the Far East of the Russian Federation. The article shows how local linguistic practices and language choices of individual speakers intersect with purist language ideologies, which frame certain beliefs about languages and ways of speaking, making them appear more normal and appropriate than others. Placing the “work of speaking” within the context of cross-cultural dynamics and purist language economies, this article challenges the basic assumption of linguistic purism about language and identity being intertwined.

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Language Revitalisation Models in Minority Language Contexts

Tensions between Ideologies of Authenticity and Anonymity

Bernadette O'Rourke

This article looks at the historicisation of the native speaker and ideologies of authenticity and anonymity in Europe's language revitalisation movements. It focuses specifically on the case of Irish in the Republic of Ireland and examines how the native speaker ideology and the opposing ideological constructs of authenticity and anonymity filter down to the belief systems and are discursively produced by social actors on the ground. For this I draw on data from ongoing fieldwork in the Republic of Ireland, drawing on interviews with a group of Irish language enthusiasts located outside the officially designated Irish-speaking Gaeltacht.

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Intangible Cultural Heritages

The Challenge for Europe

Máiréad Nic Craith

Heritage has traditionally been associated with material objects, but recent conventions have emphasized the significance of intangible culture heritage. This article advocates a holistic approach towards the concept and considers key challenges for Europe's heritage at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Reflecting on the notion of 'European', it considers the question of how one defines European heritage and which European heritage is to be protected. It explores links between national and European conceptions of identity and heritage and queries issues of ownership, language and representation. A number of ethical issues are raised - such as the role of women in the transmission of heritage and the implications of information technology for copywriting traditional practices. The author also asks how one ensures that the process of globalisation facilitates rather than eliminates local cultural heritages? How does one enhance the local so that it becomes glocal and not obsolete?