Chapter published in:Contested Languages: The hidden multilingualism of Europe
Edited by Marco Tamburelli and Mauro Tosco
[Studies in World Language Problems 8] 2021
► pp. 21–39
Contested languages and the denial of linguistic rights in the 21st century
In this chapter I argue that over-reliance on socio-political criteria (i.e. Ausbau-centrism) in the linguistic literature is partly responsible for the discrimination to which speakers of contested languages are subjected at both the social and the institutional level. Further, I argue that an Ausbau-centred approach also leads to undersplitting of languages (i.e. recognising as few languages as possible), which is ultimately detrimental to the maintenance of linguistic diversity. I conclude by suggesting that the introduction of an Abstand-based perspective is necessary if we are to achieve a taxonomy of “languages” that cuts through socio-cultural biases and that works in favour of language rights and linguistic diversity.
Published online: 21 January 2021
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