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The impact of language on cultural identity: Implications for linguistic justice and liberal nationalism

Daniel, Rhianwen 2021. The impact of language on cultural identity: Implications for linguistic justice and liberal nationalism. PhD Thesis, Cardiff Univeristy.
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Nationalist and anticolonial philosophers, theorists and activists such as J.G. Herder, Franz Fanon, and J.R. Jones have appealed extensively (though often tacitly) to linguistic relativity as the mechanism whereby culture and language are inextricably linked, exerting much influence on one another. Linguistic relativity is the view that language mirrors its users’ cultural particularities and influences their thought processes in accordance with culturally rooted concepts, some of which are incommensurable. Its mobilising force lies in the idea that language is both a vehicle and an anchor for a People’s cultural identity and continuity, and must therefore be preserved, promoted, and appropriated as a generator of national or cultural consciousness. Despite the wealth of empirical evidence and analytic arguments that can be used to substantiate linguistic relativity, however, its relevance for questions concerning e.g. linguistic justice and the institutional embodiment of national and cultural identity remains severely under-explored. This is partly due to the multi (rather than inter) disciplinary status of its study; and partly due to the strong influence and legacy of incompatible ‘universalist’ theories of linguistic meaning, such as those influenced by British Empiricism and Chomskyan linguistics. The purpose of this thesis, then, to provide the missing link in two specific ways. First, it develops an empirically substantiated rational justification for linguistic relativity using both Wittgensteinian arguments and distinctions, and the experimental evidence to date. Second, it articulates linguistic relativity’s implications for the contemporary debates concerning linguistic justice and the institutional embodiment of national culture. By way of context, the thesis also includes a substantial introductory chapter detailing the main historical and cultural contexts within which linguistic relativity has played a central role. Here, a particular emphasis is placed on the case studies of German Romanticism, anticolonial and national liberation literature, and Welsh linguistic nationalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Linguistic relativity, liberal nationalism, conservative nationalism, Wittgenstein, Chomsky, Herder, Roger Scruton, anticolonialism, language revitalization, J.R. Jones.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 9 September 2021
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 10:14

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