Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This article examines the phenomenon of language shift from a macroeconomic and ideological perspective. More specifically it looks at how phenomena such as nationalism and globalization, which are closely related to the capitalist mode of production, have affected the spread of some languages and the demise of others, usually minority and regional languages. A special emphasis is placed on the ideology of modernity as a major cause for language shift in the world. Each section in the article includes examples from the areas in the world where the author has carried out his own research and possible solutions to the problems set forth.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Anderson, B
    (1991) Imagined communities (7th ed.). London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Coluzzi, P
    (2006) Minority language planning and micronationalism in Italy: The cases of Lombardy and Friuli. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 27(6), 457–471. doi: 10.2167/jmmd451.1
    https://doi.org/10.2167/jmmd451.1 [Google Scholar]
  3. (2007) Minority language planning and micronationalism in Italy: An analysis of the situation of Friulian, Cimbrian and Western Lombard with reference to Spanish minority languages. Oxford: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (2009) Endangered minority and regional languages (“dialects”) in Italy. Modern Italy, 14(1), 39–54. doi: 10.1080/13532940802278546
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13532940802278546 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2010) Endangered languages in Borneo: A survey among the Iban and Murut (Lun Bawang) in Temburong, Brunei. Oceanic Linguistics, 49(1), 119–143. doi: 10.1353/ol.0.0063
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.0.0063 [Google Scholar]
  6. (2012) Modernity and globalization: Is the presence of English and of cultural products in English a sign of linguistic and cultural imperialism? Results of a study conducted in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33(2), 117–131. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2011.640401
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2011.640401 [Google Scholar]
  7. Coluzzi, P. , Riget, P. , & Wang, X
    (2013) Language vitality among the Bidayuh of Sarawak (East Malaysia). Oceanic Linguistics, 52(2), 375–395. doi: 10.1353/ol.2013.0019
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2013.0019 [Google Scholar]
  8. De Mauro, T
    (1963) Storia linguistica dell’Italia Unita. Bari: Laterza.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Gounari, P
    (2006) Contesting the cynicism of neoliberal discourse: Moving towards a language of possibility. Studies in Language & Capitalism, 1, 77–96.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Grin, F
    (1999) Market forces, language spread and linguistic diversity. In M. Kontra , R. Phillipson , T. Skutnabb-Kangas , & T. Várady (Eds.), Language: A right and a resource (pp. 169–186). Budapest: Central European University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Gross, D
    (2009) The past in ruins. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Harlow, R. , & McLellan, J
    (2008) Signposts on the way to, and back from, moribundity: Comparing Māori in Aotearoa and Bidayuh in Sarawak in terms of modernization strategies. Paper presented at theInternational Conference on Moribund Languages and Cultures, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (14 October).
    [Google Scholar]
  13. ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics)
    (2006) Notiziario: La lingua italiana, i dialetti e le lingue straniere. Rome: ISTAT.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Kumarappa, J.C
    (1951) Gandhian economic thought. Bombay: Vora & Co. Available at: (retrieved26 October 2012).
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Lin, A. , & Luke, A
    (2011) Coloniality, postcoloniality, and TESOL… Can a spider weave its way out of the web that it is being woven into just as it weaves?Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 3(2–3), 65–73. doi: 10.1080/15427587.2006.9650840
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15427587.2006.9650840 [Google Scholar]
  16. Martin, P
    (1995) Whither the indigenous languages of Brunei Darussalam?Oceanic Linguistics, 34(1), 44–60. doi: 10.2307/3623110
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3623110 [Google Scholar]
  17. May, S
    (2001) Language and minority rights. Harlow: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. McEwan-Fujita, E
    (2005) Neoliberalism and minority-language planning in the highlands and islands of Scotland. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 171, 155–171.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Mufwene, S
    (2003) Language endangerment: What have pride and prestige got to do with it?In B. Joseph , J. Destefano , & N. Jacobs (Eds.), When languages collide: Perspectives on language conflict, language competition, and language coexistence. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Nelde, P. , Strubell, M. , & Williams, G
    (1996) Euromosaics: The Production and reproduction of the minority language groups in the European Union. Luxembourg: Office for the Official Publications of the European Communities.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Nettle, D. , & Romaine, S
    (2000) Vanishing voices: The extinction of the world’s languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Noor Azam Haji-Othman
    (2005) Changes in the linguistic diversity of Negara Brunei Darussalam: An ecological perspective. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Leicester, UK.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Norberg-Hodge, H
    (2009) Ancient futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a globalizing world. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, reprint edition.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Norberg-Hodge, H. , Gorelick, S. , & Page, J
    (2011) The encyclopedia of happiness. DVD. Produced and distributed by the International Society for Ecology & Culture.
  25. Phillipson, R
    (2008) The linguistic imperialism of neoliberal empire. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 5(1), 1–43. doi: 10.1080/15427580701696886
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15427580701696886 [Google Scholar]
  26. Piergigli, V
    (2001) Lingue minoritarie e identità culturali. Milan: Dott. A. Giuffrè Editore.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Piller, I. , & Cho, J
    (2013) Neoliberalism as language policy. Language in Society, 42(1), 23–44. doi: 10.1017/S0047404512000887
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404512000887 [Google Scholar]
  28. Schumacher, E.F
    (2010) Small is beautiful. New York: Harper Perennial, reprint edition.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Skutnabb-Kangas, T
    (1999) Linguistic diversity, human rights and the “free” market. In M. Kontra , R. Phillipson , T. Skutnabb-Kangas , & T. Várady (Eds.), Language: A right and a resource (pp. 187–222). Budapest: Central European University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Yoshioka, H
    (2010) Indigenous language usage and maintenance patterns among indigenous people in the era of neoliberal multiculturalism in Mexico and Guatemala. Latin American Research Review, 45(3), 5–34. doi: 10.1353/lar.2010.0031
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lar.2010.0031 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): consumer capitalism; globalization; language shift; modernity; nationalism; new
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error