Dangerous Multilingualism

Northern Perspectives on Order, Purity and Normality

by Jan Blommaert, Sirpa Leppänen, Päivi Pahta,

This volume presents studies that provide detailed and actual descriptions of 'endangering' situations of multilingualism. Theoretically, it documents language-ideological processes of power and their effects on the real life-chances of multilingual subjects. In that sense, it provides addenda to existing scholarship on language endangerment, language policy and language rights. The empirical data in most studies comes from Finland, a country where a robust self-perception of monolingualism and cultural homogeneity obscures a number of hidden forms of problematic multilingualism. Two chapters extend the discussion to other North European contexts.

The book captures these problems in terms of the tension between late-modern forms of social, cultural and linguistic diversity and responses to this diversity which range from modernist reactions emphasizing order, purity and normality, to pre-modernist responses which recycle the late 19th century national romantic notions of 'one language, one nation'.

Although most of the chapters discuss issues of multilingualism in a north European contexts, this book is of interest to international audiences, mainly because the dangers of multilingualism it discusses are not foreign to other contexts of the world facing globalization and superdiversity and the challenges they pose on the nation state and its language situations and ideologies.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; November 2012
  • ISBN 9781137283566
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Dangerous Multilingualism
  • Author: Jan Blommaert (ed.); Sirpa Leppänen (ed.); Päivi Pahta (ed.); Tiina Räisänen (ed.)
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

About The Author

JAN BLOMMAERT is Professor of Language, Culture and Globalization at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. Prior to this he was Finland Distinguished Professor of Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland (2007-2010). His main publications include Language Ideological Debates (edited), Discourse: A Critical Introduction, Grassroots Literacy and The Sociolinguistics of Globalization.
SIRPA LEPPÄNEN is Professor of English at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her major publications in the field of multilingualism include National Survey on the English Language in Finland: Uses, Meanings and Attitudes , Internet Fictions and Kolmas kotimainen: Lähikuvia englannin käytöstä Suomessa ('The Third Domestic Language: Case Studies on the Use of English in Finland').
PÄIVI PAHTA is Professor of English at the University of Tampere, Finland. Her main publications include Writing in Nonstandard English, Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English, The Dynamics of Linguistic Variation, Medical Writing in Early Modern English and Social Roles and Language Practices in Late Modern English.
TIINA RÄISÄNEN is Junior researcher in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research interests include ethnographic, discourse and sociolinguistic studies of language users' identities, individual linguistic repertoires and biographical trajectories. Her longitudinal research project focuses on Finns as users of English in globalized working life.