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A Linguistic Anthropology of Praxis and Language Shift: Arvanitika (Albanian) and Greek in Contact

Lukas D. Tsitsipis

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ISBN 10: 0198237316 / ISBN 13: 9780198237310
Published by Clarendon Press, 1999
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Linguistic Anthropology of Praxis and ...

Publisher: Clarendon Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Edition: 1.

About this title

Synopsis:

Lukas D. Tsitsipis explores a case of linguistic shift in the Balkans. He focuses on Arvanitika, an Albanian variety spoken in Greece which is under threat through a process of attrition. Various factors relating the linguistic to the non-linguistic aspects of the shift are examined in detail. The emphasis is on both the macro-processes responsible for the shift as they emerge from the broader sociopolitical conditions of the Greek nation-state, and on the local communities' discourse as a complex response to these forces. Pragmatic aspects of discourse, power relations, the surfacing of linguistic ideology, and aspects of performance all figure prominently in a synthesis which shows that speakers are active respondents to social and political pressures. The author derives his inspiration from theoretical and methodological traditions in linguistic anthropology, but with political theory becomes as a central concern. In a period when linguistic anthropology is becoming reflexive and facing its social responsibilities, language shift is a locus for critical reflection: discourse about languages is ultimately discourse about human beings and the political process.

Series Information

Series Editor: Professor Suzanne Romaine, Merton College, University of Oxford

Series ISBN: 0-19-961466-0

Series Description:

Most of the world's speech communities are multilingual, and contact between languages is thus an important force in the everyday lives of most people. Studies of language contact should therefore form an integral part of work in theoretical, social, and historical linguistics. This series makes available a collection of research monographs which present case studies of language contact around the world. As well as providing an indispensable source of data for the serious researcher, it contributes significantly to theoretical developments in the field.

Review:

... valuable and sophisticated linguistic-anthropological study ... Tsitsipis's discussions are exceptionally rich theoretically, drawing expertly and innovatively on a wide range of influences to try to develop a precise language for the interpretation of the complex shifting frames of Arvanitika speech. His treatment of contradiction and complexity in Arvanitika discourse, and the role of this in the language shift, is masterful. I would strongly recommend this book as an exemplary treatment of the kinds of contradictions often found in communities undergoing language shift, in which speakers can simultaneously endorse and undermine a threatened language ... the work is a masterful presentation of the kinds of analytic tools that can help us to undertake the task of "ideological clarification". (Language in Society)

The author's expert use of tools developed in disciplines like ethnography of speaking, linguistic ideology, Bakhtinian polyphonic discourse and the theory of narrative performance makes his approach to an issue of traditional interest to Balkanology quite innovative and promising. (Olga M. Mladenova, University of Calgary)

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