By John Edwards
Routledge – 1994 – 276 pages
By looking at the effect of language difference, rather than at theories of language, John Edwards examines the interaction of language with nationalism, politics, history, identity and education.
He illustrates his arguments with a rangew of examples, from recent attempts to revive and preserve languages such as Irish and Basque, to the argument over French and English in Canada and the `US English' campaign. He also examines the linguistic myopia of those who would seek to elevate one language over another.
Multilingualism unpicks the complexity associated with a world of so many languages, and creates an overview which is multidisciplinary in focus. Its mixture of curious facts, wit and eloquence, will appeal to anyone who cares about the role of language in society.
'Read this book and you will go to bed content. You too can be a multilingualist, if not a linguist.' - Times Higher Education Supplement
'Using multilingualism as an umbrella, John Edwards explores, with impressive erudition, a whole host of interconnected topics ranging from language origins and language death to the bilingual brain and the question of individual and collective identities.' - Lynn Williams, University of Exeter
'John Edwards takes a broad approach to the question of languages in contact…in depth and scope…primary among the strengths…is the historical depth and richness in detail' - Juliet Langman, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism