Language Maintenance, Revival and Shift in the Sociology of Religion Edited by: Rajeshwari Vijay Pandharipande, Maya Khemlani David, Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth

Paperback - 232 pages
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06 Dec 2019
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This volume addresses the question ‘What role does religion play in the maintenance, revival and/or shift, of languages?’ The chapters in this volume explore the complex and dynamic relationship between religion and the maintenance, revival and/or shift of languages in different multilingual multicultural contexts, under diverse sociopolitical conditions, at different points in time. The 12 chapters cover data from Algeria, India, Israel, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore, UK, USA and Uganda and discuss the impact of context, ideology, identity and education on the following religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and some religions closely associated with China such as Confucianism and Taoism, and their respective languages and varieties of language in these regions. The languages discussed by the writers in this volume include Arabic, English, Hebrew, Malay, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamazight and Yoruba. 


A compelling contribution to the field of the sociology of language by an international array of renowned scholars, whose multidisciplinary research on diverse communities deepens our understanding of the role of religion in language maintenance, revival and shift.

- Gabi Abramac, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

An impressively wide-ranging work in the sociology of language and religion, this is a stellar collection of original chapters that will become a foundational resource in sociolinguistics. This work initiates new and exciting research and is an impressive achievement celebrating the rich multiplicity of research on language maintenance, language shift and language revitalization.

- Tatjana Soldat-Jaffe, Florida State University, USA

This book offers an astonishing and emotional journey into the theory and practice of language and religion. The editors have been immensely successful in assembling a state-of-the art volume by a team of interdisciplinary scholars in the as yet little-known but vibrant field of theolinguistics.

- Tej K. Bhatia, Syracuse University, USA

This book provides a global, multidisciplinary approach to the important relationship between religion and language in society. Focusing on how people of faith perform their religion and their language, the contributors reveal how religion and language are not solely important for identity but are also differently impacted by socio-political processes.

- Ofelia García, The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

Author Biography:

Rajeshwari Vijay Pandharipande is University Distinguished Scholar/Teacher, Professor Emerita, Department of Religion, Linguistics, Sanskrit and Comparative and World Literatures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Maya Khemlani David is Adjunct Professor, Jaipuria Institute of Management, India and Research Associate in the Asia Europe Institute, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth is Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, NYU Steinhardt, USA.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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