By looking at the effect of language difference, rather than at theories of language, John Edwards examines the interaction of language with nationalism, politics, history, identity and education.
He illustrates his arguments with a rangew 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 examines the linguistic myopia of those who would seek to elevate one language over another.
Multilingualism unpicks the complexity associated with a world of so many languages, and creates an overview which is multidisciplinary in focus. Its mixture of curious facts, wit and eloquence, will appeal to anyone who cares about the role of language in society.
This excellent introduction, first published in 1994, aims to combat ignorance of the scope of multilingualism in a world where thousands of languages compete. The social life of language is very much to the fore - languages in conflict, at school, language and identity are among the issues examined. Packed with fascinating anecdote, a strong sense of history and social context, the book is of interest to both academics and general readers. Read all about linguistic 'murder and suicide', the first important body established to protect a language - the Accademia della Crusca in Florence, and the Arkansas school superintendent who refusued to have foreign language teaching in his school saying 'If English is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for you'. (Kirkus UK)