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Societal Multilingualism and Linguistic Endangerment Essay

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Updated: May 24th, 2022

Introduction

Research on the interaction of different languages is of the utmost interest to scholars all over the world. This work will consider societal multilingualism and linguistic endangerment as the most important topics covered in Chapter 12 of Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. A summary of the essential information obtained from this chapter will be provided together with the original examples to illustrate some of the definitions.

Societal Multilingualism

In certain situations, knowledge of only one language can become insufficient for successful interactions. As suggested by the author, societal multilingualism “refers to a situation in which communities of speakers share two or more languages and use them in everyday life” (The Ohio State University: Department of Linguistics, 2011, p. 502). Standard features of such multilingualism are code-switching and diglossia (The Ohio State University: Department of Linguistics, 2011). Altogether, this linguistic trait allows people to continue using their native language while staying connected to the outside world. Communication between different states of India serves as an example of societal multilingualism. The dialects between the states are distinct to such an extent that proper conversation and interaction are possible only when speakers use the English language.

Language Endangerment and Language Death

A demand to use a specific language or dialect instead of a native one can lead to language endangerment and language death. In certain situations, the co-existence of the two languages or dialects might be deemed impossible by more socially powerful languages, leading to speakers abandoning their native ways of communication (The Ohio State University: Department of Linguistics, 2011). Old Russian can be seen as an example of a dead or dormant language, which changed over the centuries but is no longer used.

Reference

The Ohio State University: Department of Linguistics. (2011). Language contact. In V. Mihalic̆ek & C. Wilson (Eds.). Language files: Materials for an introduction to language and linguistics (11th ed, pp. 484-519). Ohio State University Press.

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1. IvyPanda. "Societal Multilingualism and Linguistic Endangerment." May 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/societal-multilingualism-and-linguistic-endangerment/.


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IvyPanda. "Societal Multilingualism and Linguistic Endangerment." May 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/societal-multilingualism-and-linguistic-endangerment/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Societal Multilingualism and Linguistic Endangerment." May 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/societal-multilingualism-and-linguistic-endangerment/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Societal Multilingualism and Linguistic Endangerment'. 24 May.

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