Globalisation and national communities of communication
Using the work of Dante to provide a historical perspective, this paper discusses the connection between nations, states and languages. Dante practiced both policy and cultivation approaches and, as a language strategist, he had a profound impact on the language directions of fourteenth-century Italy. By introducing the questione della lingua Dante set the terms of language debate in Italian public life and established himself as a language planner, and as a theorist of nationality and linguistic nationalism. Today, urbanisation, progressive aggregation of populations into larger identity groupings and the globalisation of economies appear to have led to a contraction in the vitality of many languages and pluralisation within and across communication systems. Alongside this reduction in language vitality is the challenge to nationalism itself. What relevance can Dante’s thought offer to those engaged with the possible dissolution of both nations and national languages — key ideas in the poet’s language planning work?
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