Unlike other multi-ethnic nations, such as Myanmar and India, where official language policy has sparked bloody clashes, Thailand has maintained relative stability despite its 80 languages. In this study of the relations among politics, geography, and language, William A. Smalley shows how Thailand has maintained national unity through an elaborate social and linguistic hierarchy. Smalley contends that because the people of Thailand perceive their social hierarchy as the normal order, Standard Thai, spoken by members of the higher levels of society, prevails as the uncontested national language. By examining the hierarchy of Thailand's diverse languages and dialects in light of Thai history, education, culture, and religion, Smalley shows how Thailand has been able to keep its many ethnic groups at peace. "Linguistic Diversity and National Unity" explores the intricate relationship between language and power and the ways in which social and linguistic rank can be used to perpetuate order.
Tables Figures Maps Acknowledgments Introduction: Thailand's Sociolinguistic Anomalies Pt. I: Languages of the Nation as a Whole 1: The Languages of Thailand at Home and Abroad 2: Standard Thai: Variations about a Norm 3: Social Dimensions of Standard Thai 4: Multidimensional Varieties: Ranges and Media Pt. II: Major Regional Languages 5: Kammuang (Northern Thai) 6: Lao (Northeastern Thai) 7: Paktay (Southern Thai) and Thaiklang (Central Thai) Pt. III: Marginal Regional Languages 8: Tai Yai (Shan), Sgaw (Karen), Phlow (Karen), plus Non-regional Phlong (Karen) 9: Northern Khmer plus Non-marginal Kuy 10: Pattani Malay Pt. IV: Other Language Categories 11: Development and Displacement of Tai Languages and Dialects 12: Languages of Thai Towns and Cities: Chinese Languages 13: Marginal Languages in the Hierarchy: Mon, Pray, plus Non-marginal Mal 14: Marginal Languages Adapting to the Hierarchy: Hmong (Meo, Miao) 15: Enclave Languages Pt. V: Trans-Language Issues 16: Writing and Education 17: Change and Development 18: Language and Ethnicity 19: Minority Problem as Thai Problem Appendix A: Languages in the Hierarchy Appendix B: Language Population Estimates Appendix C: Symbols Notes References Index