Almost every nation speaks its own language. This seems straightforward: part of our identity as citizens. But the truth is more complex. In world terms, territorial multilingualism is much more common than monolingualism. In the great wave of nationalism which has swept over first Europe and then the rest of the world during the modern period, pre-existing and new states have been re-imagined as nations. Central to this process is the development and elaboration of a national standard language.
Written for both a student and researcher audience in linguistics, sociology and politics,Language, Nation and Power: An Introduction discusses this process, examining what language standardization and planning mean both as developments on their own and as part of the nation-building process. It dissects the power differences which the prestige of a standardized variety both mimics and helps to support, whilst also considering the hegemonic forces which may lead to less societal multilingualism in the future.