The Problem of Defining Heritage and Community Languages and Their Speakers

On the Utility and Limitations of Definitional Constructs 1

Authored by: Terrence G. Wiley

Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States

Print publication date:  January  2014
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415520669
eBook ISBN: 9780203122419
Adobe ISBN: 9781136332494


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The crisis of linguistic and, consequently, political disunity generates a dream of utopian union that manifests itself in the search for essentialism and originality in language…. It is quite difficult, however, to locate a vernacular that did not struggle to ascribe to itself a status of essentiality, veracity, and superiority, an idealized harmonic solution in the midst of a linguistic cacophony.

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