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“Langscapes” and language borders: Linguistic boundary-making in northern South Asia

Abstract : Drawing on examples from the linguistically-diverse Himalayan region, in this contribution we explore three main questions. First, we ask how language boundaries both contribute to and defy the imagination of the nation-state. Second, we investigate how such boundaries are transcended and become redefined through increased mobility and technological innovation. And third, we examine what it means for languages to become detached from the landscapes in which they were traditionally situated and historically spoken. Unfixed and unfixable, languages resist the limitations and constraints of nation-states—both colonial and contemporary—that strive to delineate their boundaries along “clear” and often monolingual lines. In the Himalayan region in particular, plural linguistic identities challenge reductive national logics that seek to bind or appropriate languages for hegemonic and ideological goals. Not only are national borders decreasingly relevant for the maintenance and transmission of languages, but the global dispersal of people and the languages they speak, sign and write are combining with accessible digital media to transform internally maintained language borders as well.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03083475
Contributor : Mark Turin <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 22, 2021 - 2:16:11 AM
Last modification on : Monday, February 1, 2021 - 12:54:03 PM

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Maya Daurio, Mark Turin. “Langscapes” and language borders: Linguistic boundary-making in northern South Asia. Eurasia Border Review, 2020, 10 (1), pp.21-42. ⟨10.14943/ebr.10.1.21⟩. ⟨halshs-03083475⟩

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