Ethnolinguistic Communities, Ethnolinguistic Conflict, and Other Conflict Situations

  • Jacob S. Siegel


This chapter is largely concerned with an exploration of the contacts between ethnolinguistic communities and the possible relation of such contacts to conflicts between them. I begin with a broad historical note and an exposition of the major ethnolinguistic communities in the world as a background for understanding the conflicts between them. Contact between communities speaking different languages is often a background factor in ethnic conflict but not a necessary one since conflict may occur between communities speaking the same language and the vast majority of ethnolinguistic communities speaking different languages live side by side in relative peace and tranquility. As will become clearer later, the verbal algorithm underlying this discussion of ethnolinguistic communities is that language contacts, or more exactly contacts between language-defined populations, plus opposing or competitive interests associated with inequalities between the opposing groups, tend to produce conflict between them. The language differences are not usually the direct cause of the conflict, although in some instances this is clearly the case (Romaine 2001:532). However, where they exist along with opposing competitive interests, they may act as contributing or associated factors. Paths to avoiding, mollifying, and resolving conflict are considered at the end of the chapter.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob S. Siegel
    • 1
  1. 1.North BethesdaUSA

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