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Synopsis

In this broad-ranging book John Edwards looks at the issues raised by language difference, and considers the effects of multilingualism on the individual speaker as well as on society. By examining the social life of language rather than theories of language, John Edwards studies the interaction of language with nationalism, identity, history, politics and education. He illustrates his arguments with a range 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 scrutinizes the linguistic myopia of those who would seek to elevate one language over another and surveys the role that schools play in the formation of cultural and linguistic identity.

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