The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals

The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals

The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals

The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals

Synopsis

This book examines the way in which a group of key Spanish and Latin American intellectuals of the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries discussed the concept of the Spanish language. The contributors analyse the ways in which these discussions related to the construction of national identities and the idea of an Hispanic culture.This book will be essential reading for sociolinguists, scholars of the Spanish language, historians of the Hispanic culture, and all those with an interest in the relationship between language and culture.

Excerpt

Among the many historical processes that have characterized the life of Spain and Latin American nations in the past two hundred years, two are particularly relevant for the present book: Spain's modernization, including the delicate administrative articulation of the state, and the post-colonial construction of the Hispanic community, including Spain's renewed presence in Latin American economies. While we recognize the complexity and multi-dimensionality of these processes-their cultural, economic, political and social repercussions-our project deals more directly with one phenomenon closely associated with them: the discussion of language matters in various spheres of public life. in particular, the present book examines the political essence of the debate over what Spanish is, what it represents, and who has the authority to settle linguistic disputes and dilemmas. the public debate about linguistic topics is in no way new. However, the chapters that follow explore the specific form these discussions have taken in the context of the lives of Hispanic nations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Since this project revolves around a well-defined aspect of the interface between language and politics, it cannot afford to and is not meant to be comprehensive. For excellent surveys of the politics of language in the Spanish-speaking world, we refer the reader to Miranda Stewart (1999) and Clare Mar-Molinero (2000). These texts offer concise and insightful discussions of the broad spectrum of language debates surrounding Spanish.

The-at times latent-linguistic debates that constitute the thematic core of this book are far from settled (as chapter 9 will show). Numerous examples of the existing controversies can still be found in Spain's daily press and in popular as well as academic publications: Angel López García's award winning El rumor de los desarraigados (1985), Gregorio Salvador's Lengua española y lenguas de España (1987), Fernando Lázaro Carreter's El dardo en la palabra (1997), Juan M. Lope Blanch's La lengua española y sus problemas (1997), Alex Grijelmo's Defensa apasionada del idioma español (1998), Juan Ramón Lodares' El paraíso políglota (2000), etc. the publication of these essays and the commercial success of most of them attest to the currency of the issue and underscore the need to produce critical approaches to such influential texts.

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