Language and the State Revitalisation and Revival in Israel and Eire Edited by: Sue Wright

Hardback - 80 pages
05 Feb 1997
Multilingual Matters
248 x 168


This book originates from a pair of expert seminars given by scholars from Israel and Ireland before an invited audience of British academics. The seminars focused on questions of language shift, language maintenance and language loyalty in these two countries and looked to find similarities and differences which might contribute to an understanding of the processes involved. Bernard Spolsky compares the linguistic choices made by Hebrew speakers in Israel and Maori speakers in New Zealand, and explores the phenomenon of the shift to Hebrew amongst early settlers in Palestine. Bernard Spolsky is Professor of English and director of the Language Policy Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and is well-known for his many publications on second language acquisition. Muiris O Laoire, from the Irish Language Department, University College, Galway, Eire, draws out the parallels and contrasts between the situation of Irish and Hebrew at the turn of the century, and tries to account for the relative lack of success in intergenerational transmission. Both the papers and the debates which follow reveal how state language planning and the linguistic actions and decisions of the family network intermesh in complex ways. From these studies we see how similar policies may sometimes produce different outcomes, while different policies may result in similar conclusions. As a result, the ways in which language is transmitted across the generations remain difficult to predict accurately.

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