From literary languages to dialectal varieties to microlanguages? : historical perspectives on language policy towards South Estonian and Latgalian
Title: From literary languages to dialectal varieties to microlanguages? : historical perspectives on language policy towards South Estonian and Latgalian
Author: GIBSON, Catherine
Citation: Maarja SIINER, Kadri KOREINIK and Kara BROWN (eds), Language policy beyond the state, [S.l.] : Springer International Publishing, 2017, Language Policy; 14, pp. 163-182
Prior to the emergence of the Estonian and Latvian ethno-linguistic national movements in the second half of the nineteenth century, South Estonian and Latgalian developed as regional written forms in their own right. However, today South Estonian and Latgalian are framed in the Estonian and Latvian Language Laws as regional and historical varieties of standard Estonian and Latvian. This relationship between the historical development of South Estonian and Latgalian as literary languages and their present status as regional or historical varieties roofed under a national standard is an aspect of language policy in Estonia and Latvia that has largely been neglected in the literature focusing on the debate surrounding whether they are 'a language' or 'a dialect'. The overwhelming focus in the region on language policy towards state languages and Russian has resulted in the situation whereby many assumptions about these regional literary forms have remained unchallenged since the interwar period. By exploring the historical development of 'a language' as a process that is socially and politically constituted through alternating patterns of convergence and divergence, this chapter contributes a more nuanced socio-historical dimension to our understanding of language policy towards 'literary microlanguages' in the Baltic region.
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