The Languages of Nationalism
What the eye is to the lover, language is to the patriot.1 Summed up like this the union between language and nation promises eternity. Of all modern couples, it is without contest the most united and the most solid, insensitive to the prevailing climate and to threats of dissolution in puta-tive postmodernism. More than elective affinities, this indestructible tie is a question of logic. If one accepts that nationalism is political—and that politics is language, then the nation, and as a consequence national-ism, are indissociable from language. But what is the precise nature of the ties holding together the couple in question, and above all: which language are we speaking of? The logos? The ‘national’ language? The militant language of nationalists? The messianic language of the national Promised Land? The dialect destined to become a national language? The particular lexicon of the intellectual, military or religious elite aspir-ing to national power?
KeywordsLanguage Policy National Language Cultural Good Vernacular Language Linguistic Identity
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, London: Verso, 1983.Google Scholar
- 5.Max Weber, Economy and Society New York: Bedminster Press, vol. 2, 1968, p. 925.Google Scholar
- 8.Johann G. Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit [1792–95], Bilingual German-French Edition, Paris: Aubier Montaigne, 1964, pp. 60–1.Google Scholar
- 11.For a brief but useful description, see Guy Hermet, Histoire des nations et des nationalismes, Paris: Seuil, Points Histoire series, 1996.Google Scholar
- 12.Karl Renner, Die Nation—Mythos und Wirklichkeit Vienna, 1964Google Scholar
- Karl Renner, Das Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Nationen, LeipzigNienna: Deuticke, 1918.Google Scholar
- 34.See Lode Wils, Honderd,Laar Vlaamse Beweging (One hundred years of the Flemish Movement), vol. 1, Louvain: Editions du Davidsfonds, 1977, Vol. 1, pp. 34 ff.Google Scholar
- 45.See for example Stein Rokkan and Samuel Eisenstadt, Building States and Nations, 3 volumes, Sage: Beverly Hills, 1973.Google Scholar