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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews research on language shift and efforts to sustain and cultivate linguistic diversity, highlighting historical trends and current debates, and in doing so, makes three broad arguments. First, the academic treatment of societal-level language shift reflects the major theoretical, epistemological, and paradigmatic shifts of the last five decades. A review of “historical perspectives” on language shift shows how the guiding questions and methodologies of the field have shifted significantly over time. Second, a review and analysis of work to date illustrates how these trends are equally apparent across language contact contexts and populations. These contexts and populations have much in common—with research in each area addressing issues of (a) purism and standardization; (b) authenticity and essentialism; and (c) heteroglossia and personal identity. And third, while many central, pressing questions remain unanswered, there are new signs of progress.

Keywords: language, heteroglossia, essentialism, identity, diversity

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