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Metalinguistic Communities

Case Studies of Agency, Ideology, and Symbolic Uses of Language

Palgrave Macmillan

Editors:

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  • Considers how discourses, interactions, ideologies, and practices contribute to the roles of languages in diverse communities and contexts

  • Examines the range of ways that language can be mobilized as a symbol of identity and community

  • Asks how macro-, meso-, and micro-level processes can be foregrounded in examinations of how metalinguistic communities are formed

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-76900-0
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Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Afterword

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 247-247
  3. Back Matter

    Pages 257-264

About this book

Metalinguistic Communities: Case Studies of Agency, Ideology, and Symbolic Uses of Language offers readers a wide-ranging exploration of the many ways “language as object” serves as an important channel of symbolic communication. The diverse case studies highlight the variety of ways community members deploy “linguistic” markers in social semiotic domains to promote language reclamation, challenge hegemonic regimes, and assert language-based subjectivities. The chapters in this volume are timely examples of much needed contributions to language and social justice.”

-Bernard C. Perley, Director, Associate Professor, The Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada

This edited volume brings together ten compelling ethnographic case studies from a range of global settings to explore how people build metalinguistic communities defined not by use of a language, but primarily by language ideologies and symbolic practices about the language.  The authors examine themes of agency, belonging, negotiating hegemony, and combating cultural erasure and genocide in cultivating meaningful metalinguistic communities. Case studies include Spanish and Hebrew in the USA, Kurdish in Japan, Pataxó Hãhãhãe in Brazil, and Gallo in France. The afterword, by Wesley L. Leonard, provides theoretical and on-the-ground context as well as a forward-looking focus on metalinguistic futurities. This book will be of interest to interdisciplinary students and scholars in applied linguistics, linguistic anthropology and migration studies.

Netta Avineri is an Associate Professor of Language Teacher Education and Chair of the Intercultural Competence Committee at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA. An applied linguistic anthropologist, she is the author of Research Methods for Language Teaching: Inquiry, Process, and Synthesis, co-editor of Language and Social Justice in Practice, and Series Editor for Critical Approaches in Applied Linguistics (De Gruyter Mouton).

 Jesse Harasta is an Associate Professor of Social Science and program director for International Studies at Cazenovia College, USA.  A cultural and linguistic anthropologist, he studies the symbolic and political uses of language and language as an object (e.g. signage, font).  He researches Kernewek and other European lesser-used languages.

Keywords

  • heritage languages
  • language ideology
  • endangered languages
  • language advocacy
  • language revitalization
  • Hebrew
  • Náhuat
  • Tehuelche
  • Kernewek
  • Cornish language
  • ethnolinguistics
  • Gallo
  • Korean
  • raciolinguistics
  • Hãhãhãe
  • Grenglish

Reviews

Metalinguistic Communities: Case Studies of Agency, Ideology, and Symbolic Uses of Languages offers a wide array of deeply ethnographic explorations of symbolic uses of language to create broad communities of belonging.  This volume’s emphasis on interactions and relationships moves us beyond narrow focuses on “fluency” or “grammaticality” to broadly inclusive and emic perspectives on language use, inviting us into a community-centered and decolonial approach to understanding how communities make use of a range of language practices in constituting themselves.  Each case study provides a powerful challenge to dominant language ideologies about “good” or “authentic” language use, centering community agency and linguistic wealth instead.  I highly recommend this important and rich work.”

-Jocelyn Ahlers, Professor, Linguistics & Chair, Liberal Studies Department, California State University, San Marcos

“In this important volume, the authors hail our full attention to the new ways that languages are recruited to the task of nucleating communities and conferring valued identities to their members.  Through wonderfully detailed and ethnographically contexted studies from across the globe, Metalinguistic Communities displays the broad range of meaningful projects that non-dominant languages perform through the agency of their members in acts of identity, place-making, belonging, and authority construction.”

-Paul V. Kroskrity, Professor of Anthropology, UCLA.  Regimes of Language:  Ideologies, Polities and Identities (2000), Engaging Native American Publics:  Linguistic Anthropology in a Collaborative Key (2017) (co-edited with Barbra Meek).

In as much as these ethnographic case studies explore local and particular details, they also reveal similarities of outward orientation. Indigenous and minority metalinguistic communities are shown, at their heart, to be counter-hegemonic projects. By claiming a language as their own, historically marginalized people represent themselves in terms that are also at least partially recognizable from the institutions of the relevant dominant society. A community becomes visible to itself by becoming visible to yet others. The key concern is with recognition and valorization. Fluency and/or shift to the heritage language in other domains of life may not be a central concern. By defining the problem of metalinguistic communities, the book illuminates a recurrent theme in the applied linguistics literature: tensions between minority heritage language projects and professional linguistics and language education. Disciplinary experts can be embraced as allies or avoided for imposing unwelcome scrutiny and inconvenience.  This collection makes sense of that tension; and poses, with Leonard’s conclusion, terms from which to move forward collaboratively.”

-Marybeth Nevins, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Director, Linguistics Program, Middlebury College

Editors and Affiliations

  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Monterey, USA

    Netta Avineri

  • Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, USA

    Jesse Harasta

About the editors

Netta Avineri is an Associate Professor of Language Teacher Education and Chair of the Intercultural Competence Committee at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA. An applied linguistic anthropologist, she is the author of Research Methods for Language Teaching: Inquiry, Process, and Synthesis, co-editor of Language and Social Justice in Practice, and Series Editor for Critical Approaches in Applied Linguistics (De Gruyter Mouton).

Jesse Harasta is an Associate Professor of Social Science and program director for International Studies at Cazenovia College, USA.  A cultural and linguistic anthropologist, he studies the symbolic and political uses of language and language as an object (e.g. signage, font).  He researches Kernewek and other European lesser-used languages.


Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook
USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-76900-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)