Desired Language

Languages as objects of national ideology

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National linguistic ideology has been at the base of most historical processes that –whether they are complete or not – have brought us to the current reality: a world of languages that represent, with greater or lesser exactitude, the diversity – and convergences – of human groups. Various of today’s thinkers have predicted the decline or even the end of national ideologies. In the area of language, postmodernism would make the linguistic affiliation of the community individuals irrelevant, de-ideologise language use, and extend plurilingualism and language alternation in association with a new distribution of (physical or functional) spaces of linguistic practice.

But is this true everywhere? Are languages now nowhere the core of collective identity? Or are we witnessing a distinction between languages that, because of their magnitude, status, strategic position, etc., can continue to exercise the function of national languages and languages that have to renounce this function? Has national linguistic ideology really ceased to make sense? What other strategies should the historic language of a given geographic area employ if it wants to continue forming part of the life of the community that is set up there? What kinds of languages are desired by politicians, intellectuals and philologists? This book aims to bring some thoughts about these questions.

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