From the Welsh Border to the World: Travels in Minority Languages
Simon Gwyn Roberts
Language extinction on an enormous scale has been occurring for over a century and has sped up dramatically in the last two decades. This book revolves around travels through the world’s most linguistically diverse regions, taking a comparative approach to the contemporary status of minority languages in the post-web world.
Despite multiple threats, it finds grounds for optimism, suggesting that a natural evolution sees all countries at some point on a trajectory from conflict to compromise: from seeing minority languages as a threat to the power of the centre, through to acceptance, and finally celebrating them as an indicator of internal diversity and cultural vibrancy.
The author discusses ways in which fragile languages can be protected without resorting to exclusivity, hostility, or the ‘othering’ of those seen as threatening to that culture.
The work is underpinned by Wales, with reflections on its place in the modern world and the status and significance of the Welsh language. This is partly as an exemplar of the previously cited ‘evolution’, but also a case study of how a language can thrive in relation to the global dominance of English.
Simon Gwyn Roberts, From the Welsh Border to the World: Travels in Minority Languages, 2020, ISBN 978-1-908258-37-3, £14.99.
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