This book focuses on the nineteenth century as the time when language became an important part of the cultural identity of speakers, communities and nations. It comprises fourteen chapters on a variety of languages and countries and seeks to explore why and how certain linguistic varieties were excluded from written discourse – in other words, why they remain invisible to contemporary readers and modern historians. The case studies in this book illustrate the factors involved in the invisibilisation of languages in the nineteenth century; the metalinguistic debates about the suppression or promotion of regional, minority and non-standard languages; and the ways in which a careful study of informal writing can visibilise the linguistic diversity of spoken languages.
Most of the chapters in this volume were presented at a Humboldtkolleg in Clifton Hill House at the University of Bristol in September 2013. We are very grateful to the generous financial support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn), as well as the Institute of Advanced Study (Bristol) and the School of Modern Languages (Bristol). In addition, we are delighted to acknowledge the significant logistical support from Kim Pätzold, Sina Stuhlert, Katrin Schreinemachers and Juliane Schulze (all Bristol), as well as the insightful intellectual contributions by Gesine Argent, Julie Blake, Derek Offord and Tim Shortis, and other members of the Historical Sociolinguistics Network ().
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