This book provides an accessible account of the origins and conceptual foundations of language policy. Florian Coulmas discusses the influence of twenty intellectuals from medieval to modern times, and from a variety of cultures, who have taken issue with language, its use, development, and political potential. These 'guardians of language' range from renowned figures such as Dante, Noah Webster, and Gandhi, to less well-known individuals such as the Spanish grammarian Antonio de Nebrija and Senegalese politician and poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. Each chapter begins by providing background information on the scholar whose work is being reviewed and ends with a summary of his key thoughts on language in the form of an imaginary interview.
Florian Coulmas is Senior Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Duisburg-Essen University. From 2004 to 2014, he served as director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, and he has held appointments at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Tokyo, and Chuo University, Tokyo. He is the author of Writing and Society (CUP, 2014) and editor of Language Regimes in Transformation (Mouton de Gruyter, 2007) and The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Writing Systems (Blackwell, 1999). He is also Associate Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language.
Preface ; Introduction: The Politics of Language ; 1. Alcuin of York ; 2. Sibawayhi ; 3. Dante Alighieri ; 4. King Sejong the Great ; 5. Elio Antonio de Nebrija ; 6. Cardinal Richelieu ; 7. Catherine the Great ; 8. Adamantios Korais ; 9. Noah Webster ; 10. Jacob Grimm ; 11. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda ; 12. Ludovik Lazarus Zamenhof ; 13. Ueda Kazutoshi ; 14. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ; 15. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ; 16. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ; 17. Zhou Enlai ; 18. Pope Paul VI ; 19. Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana ; 20. Leopold Sedar Senghor ; Lessons learnt ; Bibliography ; Index