1887

n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Taalverval met besondere verwysing na die ideologieë en praktyke van verstaatliking - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 54, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0041-4751

Abstract

In hierdie artikel word aangevoer dat in die moderne tydperk die belangrikste oorsaak vir die verdwyning van tale is. Verstaatliking verwys eerstens na die omvangryke territoriale staat, waarin 'n bepaalde dominante elite neig om sy eie karakter en identiteit aan die staat as sodanig toe te dig en van alle ander gemeenskappe (in 'n nie-oorheersende posisie) vereis om hulself in hierdie staatlike identiteit op te los. Tweedens verwys dit na die moderne industriële ekonomie, wat 'n sterk homogeniserende krag is wat eentaligheid in die hand werk. Derdens verwys dit na die ideologie van verstaatliking wat regverdiging vir die homogeniserende staat verskaf. Opvallend van die ideologie van verstaatliking is dat dit omvattend is en in verskeie verskyningsvorme oral oor die spektrum van die ideologiese skaal manifesteer. Dit sluit regse nasionalisme, Jakobinisme, tendense van die liberale politiek asook die linkse sosialisme in. In weerwil van die oënskynlik beduidende verskille tussen hierdie ideologieë en bypassende praktyke, wat oor die afgelope eeue van die belangrikste kragte in die politiek was, is hulle veranker in 'n enkele gemeenskaplike ideologiese matriks, naamlik dié van verstaatliking. Ofskoon daar 'n groeiende tendens in sowel die politieke denke as staatsregtelike praktyk is om minderheidsgemeenskappe met hulle eiesoortige kulturele bates (soos hulle tale) op 'n demokratiese wyse te akkommodeer, het die ideologie van verstaatliking nog lank nie sy houvas verloor nie en hou dit steeds 'n enorme bedreiging vir die voortbestaan van minderheidstale tale en minderheidsgemeenskappe in.


It is argued in this article that the ideology of statism has been playing a major part in the accelerated rate of the deterioration and extinction of languages. Beginning with some general observations on the reason for language deterioration and extinction the emphasis subsequently shifts to the ideology of statism as a major factor determining the fate of minority languages. Statism refers to the territorial state with its single largely industrialised economy spanning the territory of the whole state and organised in terms of its own distinctive statist ideology, that reinforces and justifies a state-wide homogeneous nation and the monolingualism of a single dominant (state) language to the detriment of all other (minority) languages. The statist ideology might be slanting to the left, the right or the liberal centre but it always acts in defence and in support of the homogenising monolingual territorial state. The statist ideology and the dictates of the industrialised economy are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, both working towards the homogenisations and monolingualism of the territorial state. Statism harks back to the consolidation of the modern territorial state in England and France in the sixteenth century, soon followed by the other European territorial states and thereafter in the rest of the world. The advent of the first territorial states was accompanied with the emergence of large scale industrial homogenising economies in the place of the erstwhile localised agrarian economies. In discussing the homogenising and particularly monolingual consequences of the state-wide industrial economy the elucidating insights of Ernst Gellner are discussed in some detail. The ideology of statism comes in a variety of mutations spanning the entire ideological spectrum from left to right, however consistently having the same homogenising goal and effect also as far as language is concerned. All these ideologies, regardless of how divergent they are, are in the final analysis species of the same larger genus, namely the ideology of statism. In dealing with these species the French position with a more specific emphasis on the Jacobin and nationalist policies in relation to languages since the French Revolution is first dealt with. This is followed by an assessment of the position of language in terms of the right-wing nationalist approach in Spain which reached its zenith under the dictatorship of Franco. Thereafter the approach to language in Britain is discussed with reference to the impact of Anglicisation upon the Celtic languages of the British Isles. This approach was at least in part founded upon and received further momentum in the convictions articulated by some of the foremost liberal political theorists such as John Stuart Mill. The American approach - seemingly the purist liberal one - is then discussed with reference to the impact of monoculturalism on the minority languages of the United States. Subesequently, the focus shifts to the other extreme of the ideological spectrum when the Leftist approach to language with reference to Marx and Engels is assessed. The discussion reveals that the approaches in relation to languages were, if not in theoretical design, then most certainly in purpose and effect essentially the same in terms of all these ideological positions irrespective of the ideological orientations of their authors. What all of these approaches share - whether pursued from the left, right or the liberal centre - is the statist ideology which serves as the common foundation for all of them. The conclusion drawn from this is that smaller languages, that is, languages with minoritised linguistic communities stand in the way of an encompassing collection of modern ideologies that share the common ideological matrix of statism. Smaller languages and their communities are therefore imperilled by the broadly encompassing ideology of statism and not merely by an ideological assault forthcoming from a right-wing, left-wing or similarly distinctive ideology that occupies a specific position on the ideological spectrum. It is this encompassing challenge of statism that smaller linguistic communities need to overcome.

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/content/akgees/54/3/EJC157890
2014-09-01
2019-10-23

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