The language we use forms an important part of our sense of who we are - of our identity. This book outlines the relationship between our identity as members of groups - ethnic, national, religious and gender - and the language varieties important to each group. What is a language? What is a dialect? Are there such things as language 'rights'? Must every national group have its own unique language? How have languages, large and small, been used to spread religious ideas? Why have particular religious and linguistic 'markers' been so central, singly or in combination, to the ways in which we think about ourselves and others? Using a rich variety of examples, the book highlights the linkages among languages, dialects and identities, with special attention given to religious, ethnic and national allegiances.
John Edwards is Professor of Psychology at St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia. His previous publications include Language in Canada (Cambridge, 1998).
1. Introduction; 2. Identity, the individual and the group; 3. Identifying ourselves; 4. Language, dialect and identity; 5. Dialect and identity: beyond standard and non-standard; 6. Language, religion and identity; 7. Language, gender and identity; 8. Ethnicity and nationalism; 9. Assessments of nationalism; 10. Language and nationalism; 11. Language planning and language ecology.