• Yuliya Komska
  • Michelle Moyd
  • David Gramling


In this chapter, the authors address the linguistic helplessness that befell Anglophone countries in the wake of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump’s election in the United States. A general uncertainty about how to counter the weakening civic vocabularies in these societies stems from the fact that their majorities have paid little systematic attention to language, except when regulating it in exclusionary ways. Instead, the task of critical vigilance has been silently outsourced to minorities. To reverse the pattern and dismantle language as a form of entitlement, the authors advocate for “language critique.” Formulated around 1900 and first practiced by Germanophone thinkers, this holistic approach to observing and documenting the social and medial transformations of language draws on three key practices: distrust, disinterest, and distance.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuliya Komska
    • 1
  • Michelle Moyd
    • 2
  • David Gramling
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of German StudiesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of German StudiesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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