Book Notice: Words and Stones: The Politics of Language and Identity in Israel

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 11 15:20:46 UTC 2004

Forwarded from Linguist-List:

Title: Words and Stones
Subtitle: The Politics of Language and Identity in Israel
Series Title: Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics

Publication Year: 2004
Publisher:	Oxford University Press

Author: Daniel Lefkowitz, University of Virginia

Social and ethnic identity are nowhere more enmeshed with language
than in Israel. "Words and Stones" explores the politics of
identity in Israel through an analysis of the social life of
language. By examining the social choices Israelis make when they
speak, and the social meanings such choices produce, Daniel Lefkowitz
reveals how Israeli identities are negotiated through
language. Lefkowitz studies three major languages and their role in
the social lives of Israelis: Hebrew, the dominant language, Arabic,
and English.  He reveals their complex interrelationship by showing
how the language a speaker chooses to use is as important as the
language they choose not to use - in the same way that a claim to an
Israeli identity is simultaneously a claim against other, opposing
identities.  The result is a compelling analysis of how the identity
of "Israeliness" is linguistically negotiated in the
three-way struggle among Ashkenazi (Jewish), Mizrahi (Jewish), and
Palestinian (Arab) Israelis. Lefkowitz's ethnography of language-use
is both thoroughly anthropological and thoroughly linguistic, and
provides a comprehensive view of the role language plays in Israeli

His work will appeal to students and scholars of sociolinguistics,
anthropology, and linguistic anthropology, as well as students and
scholars of Israel and the Middle East.
Hardback: ISBN: 0195121902, Pages: 336, Price: U.S. $ 49.95

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