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Metalinguistic Perspectives on Germanic Languages

European Case Studies from Past to Present


Edited By Gijsbert Rutten and Kristine Horner

In what ways has language been central to constructing, challenging and reconfiguring social and political boundaries? This volume traverses space and time to explore the construction of such boundaries. Focusing on the ways that language functions as an inclusive and divisive marker of identity, the volume includes case studies on Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium  and Luxembourg. It also explores the northern and southern borderlands of present-day Germany as well as the city of Cologne and the surrounding Ruhr area. The chapters critically engage with focused accounts of past and present language situations, practices and policies. Taken as a whole, the volume stresses the importance of studying metalinguistic perspectives as a means of enabling detailed analyses and challenging generalizations.
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11 Contesting Ideologies of Linguistic Authority: Perspectives ‘from below’ on Language, Nation and Citizenship in Luxembourg


1 Introduction

Ideologies of standardization and those equating one nation with one language are inherently linked and inform nation-building strategies. Language ideological research has analysed the construction of standardized national languages in relation to the widely entrenched belief that nation-states are required to have their own language to justify their autonomy (Blommaert and Verschueren 1998; Irvine and Gal 2000). In the case of Luxembourg, nation-building has hinged upon a two-pronged language ideological schema that facilitates the construction of iconic links between Luxembourgish nationhood and 1) the use of Luxembourgish as the presupposed ‘mother tongue’ of the national core and 2) the mastery of the standardized, written varieties of German and French together with the presupposed use of spoken Luxembourgish. The former prong has become increasingly salient since the latter part of the twentieth century and contemporary language politics frequently focus on the status and functions of Luxembourgish (Horner 2007).

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