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"The Contest of Language is an ambitious and appealing collection that should attract a variety of humanists and linguists interested in the relationship between politics, language use, literature, and power. Its wide range makes it a 'must-have' for the humanities and social sciences sections in every college and university library." —Joy Connolly, Stanford University
These essays, written by eminent scholars from diverse disciplines and perspectives, consider various present-day and historical efforts to make a language dominant through textual, institutional, academic, and literary means. Contributors examine pressures to elevate one language at the expense of another and the cultural and intellectual consequences of that elevation. Specific essays apply this theme of the contest of language to the suppression, survival, and revival of the Irish language; to Greek, Latin, and the emergence of the vernacular in Europe; to the relationship between minority and dominant language in China; and to the lack of linguistic imperialism in the spread of Arabic, among other fascinating topics.