Book review

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Dec 18 14:01:41 UTC 2002

From:  LINGUIST List 13.3318

Title: Language and Nationalism in Europe

Publication Year: 2002 Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Editor: Stephen Barbour, University of East Anglia, Norwich and Cathie
Carmichael, Middlesex University

Paperback: ISBN: 0199250855, Pages: 336 pp, Price: $ 24.95


This volume examines the role of language in the present and past creation
of social, cultural, and national identities in Europe, considering the
way in which language may sometimes reinforce national identity (as in
England) while tending to subvert the nation-state (as in the United

The book describes the interactive roles of language, ethnicity, culture,
and institutions in the character and formation of nationalism and
identity throughout Europe. A select team of international contributors
consider various questions drawing on evidence from the majority of
European countries.

The book concludes with a consideration of the current relative status of
the languages of Europe and how these and the identities they reflect are
changing and evolving.

"Each chapter is full of fascinating sociolinguistic and historical facts
but together the volume provides a wide-ranging set of approaches to
language and nationalism so dense that it defies summarizing, and no brief
review can do justice to the wealth of information and arguments in this
volume. Barbour, Carmichael, and their colleagues have given a wide
interdisciplinary readership a very interesting, informative, and readable
volume."--Michael Clyne, University of Melbourne

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