Language Homogeneity and Diversity in Human Collectivities

Reference work entry


In all human collectivities, tendencies toward linguistic homogeneity and diversity are at work simultaneously, but balances differ. These tendencies are driven by factors like the imposition of authority or the need for communication on the one hand and the need for distinction, the diversity of experience, or communication barriers, on the other. As societies develop and the possibilities of relations over larger distances widen, people become part of many different collectivities simultaneously, and in all these collectivities, both tendencies with different balances are present. The resulting language use patterns create a multitude of linguistic environments; they are complex and unstable. The following exploration pays particular attention to collectivities inhabiting states as they have played a pivotal role in the current mosaic, but the impact of language use balances of previously formed collectivities and the current dynamics as a result of newly emerging collectivities are far from negligible.


Language homogeneity Language diversity State formation Nationalism 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Planning and International Development StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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