Books: Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland: Leonard
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Date: 22-May-2012 From: Kristen Holding <kholdingwiley.com> Subject: Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland: Leonard E-mail this message to a friend
Title: Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland
Subtitle: Publications of the Philological Society
Author: Stephen Pax Leonard
Paperback: ISBN: 1118294963 9781118294963 Pages: 204 Price: U.S. $ 39.95
The language of a speech community can only act as an identity marker for all of its speakers if a standard is widely shared and if a minimal number of language varieties are spoken. This book examines how one dialect came to serve the whole of Iceland. The language community that we can reconstruct for early Iceland should have led to the establishment and maintenance of dialects. But this didn't happen. Iceland was instead characterized by long-term linguistic homogeneity. Using the most recent sociolinguistic theory, and drawing on history and archaeology, Stephen Pax Leonard explores some of the reasons for the unusual development of the Icelandic language, showing how the Icelandic identity developed through the establishment of social structures and their literary culture. With its rich literature, the language became the single most important factor for the identity of the Icelanders. "Language, Society and Identity in early Iceland" is a fascinating account of an under examined historical-linguistic story that will spur further research and discussion amongst researchers. In particular, it leaves a trail for those concerned with language and identity in Iceland today, where there is for the first time unequivocal evidence of sociolinguistic variation.