Steinberg notes-1

Steinberg notes-1 - The Historian and the Questione Della...

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The Historian and the Questione Della Lingua - Jonathan Steinberg 19 th Century attitudes toward language: There was a struggle to impose unity/ standard language (Tuscan) in 1860. This was a struggle to impose standard Italian when only 2-3% of the population would have understood Italian. Steinberg is noting that “the question of the language” arises in societies at times of social change. It is a rather recent phenomenon that language and nationality fused together. Prior to the rise of nationalism there was an impenetrable dark woods of dialects. The French did not speak French, but rather many languages related and unrelated to French. The speech of ordinary folk was not standardized. A dialect becomes a language when there is an army behind it. The state defines what a language is. Moldavian language of the USSR was a dialect of Romanian and mutually intelligible with it but it was defined as a separate language for political reasons. Lao and Thai are mutually intelligible as are Malay and Indonesian. Language questions are meaningless out of the economic, social, and political contexts in which they occur. It is remarkable to note how rarely historians think about the language question. To the 19th century French or Italian observer - dialect was the language of savages and peasants were ignorant. 18 th century attitudes toward language: The 18th century observers, on the other hand, had a much livelier appreciation of the language question . This was the end of the religious warfare and emergence of the secular state with languages arising from below. In 1687 someone tried to lecture in German but was unsuccessful. By 1748, a proper model of German was established. In 1765 there was the struggle to use the colloquial in more and more contexts.
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Steinberg notes-1 - The Historian and the Questione Della...

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