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Negotiating Linguistic Identity

Language and Belonging in Europe


Edited By Virve-Anneli Vihman and Kristiina Praakli

This volume addresses the themes of language, identity and linguistic politics in Europe. The twelve essays draw on approaches and methodologies from a range of disciplines, from sociolinguistics and contact linguistics to cultural history, psychology and policy studies. Together, they offer a collection of views on how language, society and identity are perceived to be connected. These issues are of particular importance in Europe, where the nation-building project is often paired with a linguistically based notion of social identity.
However, historical forces including shifting borders, economically and politically motivated mobility and changing political regimes have led to more complex national identities and more nuanced approaches to the role of language. Both historical developments and contemporary sociolinguistic contexts are investigated in the book, including the presence of multilingual communities and minority language communities. The volume makes a significant and timely contribution to our understanding of the linguistic landscape of today’s Europe.


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Johanna Laakso Who Needs Karelian, Kven or Austrian Hungarian – and Why? 1. A new view to minority/majority language problematics? 1.1. ELDIA (European Language Diversity for All) Recent decades have seen a number of research projects dealing with vari- ous issues of individual and societal multilingualism as well as minority rights and linguistic human rights. Multilingualism seems to be a generally accepted political goal. In practice, however, this goal is approached from diverse and even conf licting perspectives, as if learning languages were something completely dif ferent from maintaining acquired languages or living amidst a diversity of languages. The research project ELDIA (European Language Diversity for All) set out to find a new, more com- prehensive understanding of these issues. This paper is largely about the rationale behind ELDIA, its central questions and approaches, and it also heavily rests on the work of numer- ous ELDIA colleagues, in particular Anneli Sarhimaa, the coordinator- in-chief and the main instigator of the project. ELDIA is an international project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the EU, and based on a research consortium which consists (currently) of seven research institu- tions in five European countries: the universities of Mainz (Germany), Oulu and Helsinki (Finland), Tartu (Estonia), Vienna (Austria) and Maribor (Slovenia), and the Åland Islands Peace Institute.1 1 Up-to-date information about ELDIA can be found on the project website: www. 36 Johanna Laakso ELDIA is working with a dozen case studies, three of which are men- tioned in the title of this...

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