LINGUIST List 13.3411

Mon Dec 23 2002

Books: Modified Re: 13.3319: Sociolinguistics

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  1. bartonm, Modified Re: 13.3319: Language and German Disunity, Stevenson

Message 1: Modified Re: 13.3319: Language and German Disunity, Stevenson

Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 10:09:12 +0000
From: bartonm <>
Subject: Modified Re: 13.3319: Language and German Disunity, Stevenson

Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book URL:
Availability: Available
Author: Patrick Stevenson, University of Southampton 
Hardback: ISBN: 0198299699, Pages: 288 pp, Price: $ 72.00
Paperback: ISBN: 0198299702, Pages: 288 pp, Price: $ 24.95

This book investigates the history of national disunity in
Germany since the end of the Second World War from a linguistic
perspective: what was the role of language in the ideological
conflicts of the Cold War and in the difficult process of rebuilding
the German nation after 1990?

In the first part of the book, Patrick Stevenson explores the ways in
which the idea of 'the national language' contributed to the political
tensions between the two German states and to the different social
experiences of their citizens. He begins by showing how the modern
linguistic conflict between east and west in Germany has its roots in
a long tradition of debates on the relationship between language and
national identity. He then describes the use of linguistic strategies
to reinforce the development of a socialist state in the GDR and
argues that they ultimately contributed to its demise.

The second part considers the social and linguistic consequences of
unification. The author discusses the challenges imposed on east
Germans by the sudden formation of a single 'speech community' and
examines how conflicting representations of easterners and westerners
- for example, in personal interactions, the media, and advertising -
have hindered progress towards national unity.

German division and re-unification were crucial to the development of Europe in
the second half of the twentieth century. This fascinating account of the
relationship between language and social conflict in Germany throws new light
on these events and raises important questions for the study of divided speech
communities elsewhere. The book will interest sociolinguists, historians,
sociologists, and political scientists.
Historical Linguistics

Written In: English (Language Code: English)
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