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Linguistic Authority, Language Ideology, and Metaphor

The Czech Orthography Wars

Linguistic Authority, Language Ideology, and Metaphor by Neil Bermel
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How does a country find itself 'at war' over spelling? This book focuses on a crucial juncture in the post-communist history of the Czech Republic, when an orthographic commission with a moderate reformist agenda found itself the focus of enormous public controversy.

Delving back into history, Bermel explores the Czech nation's long tradition of intervention and its association with the purity of the language, and how in the twentieth century an ascendant linguistic school - Prague Functionalism - developed into a progressive but centralizing ideology whose power base was inextricably linked to the communist regime. Bermel looks closely at the reforms of the 1990s and the heated public reaction to them. On the part of language regulators, he examines the ideology that underlay the reforms and the tactics employed on all sides to gain linguistic authority, while in dissecting the public reaction, he looks both at conscious arguments marshaled in favor of and against reform and at the use, conscious and subconscious, of metaphors about language.

Of interest to faculty and students working in the area of language, cultural studies, and history, especially that of transitional and post-communist states, this volume is also relevant for those with a more general interest in language planning and language reform.

The book is awarded with the "The George Blazyca Prize in East European Studies 2008".

De Gruyter; August 2008
384 pages; ISBN 9783110197662
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Title: Linguistic Authority, Language Ideology, and Metaphor
Author: Neil Bermel